About the 45 Road Club

The 45 Road Club was started in the mid 1950s by a group of Irchester Wheeler members who were disillusioned with the way the Irchester Wheelers was being run. They felt that the club did not offer them the range of activities that they wanted to do, so they decided to start their own club.

This new club, formed in 1957, was called the 45 Road Club after the main road that linked the founder members, as some lived in Higham Ferrers and some lived in Wellingborough.

The original members included Alan Clayton, Bill Rawlins, Rex Davis and Barry Billet. With their enthusiasm for all aspects of cycling, these first members encouraged others to join them and ride for enjoyment.

Initially they used to meet in local pubs, like the Peacock and also the Exchange, but eventually the Polish club in Wellingborough kindly allowed them to use their meeting room. After a number of years at the Polish club the Wellingborough council offered them the use of a prefab on Henshaw Road, and it had been the clubs permanent home until this was destroyed in an arson attack some years ago.

The prefab was very useful as it was some where for the members to meet even in the bad weather, and allowed new members to join in a friendly environment.

Barry Billet (who is a life member of the club) and Rex Davis were instrumental in promoting the clubs social side of cycling, with youth hostelling and touring in this country and abroad. There used to be a regular all night rides up to the peak district every Whitsun. Some social events became competitive with there own trophies, one such event was the Pancake race, which was held on Shrove Tuesday, and required the competitors to make there own pancake on a camping gas stove and then cycle a course whilst holding and flipping the pancake in the pan. Also the Beer and Pudding, which was a fancy dress cycle ride, held on Boxing Day that involved the consumption of Christmas pudding and beer at various points around the route.

Other founder members were more active in promoting the racing side of the cycling and this is one side of the club that is quite active today.

The club has a long history of racing in the region and owns a number of trophies, which are awarded for some of the races in the year; five are dedicated to 25-mile time trial events alone.

A member of the club, who was a carpenter originally made some the trophies, in the 1950s, he used sections of oak to fabricate shields, to which silver plaques were fitted.

Other more elaborate trophies were generously donated by the Wellingborough cycling club, who when they disbanded, decided that the trophies should still be issued to riders for competing in cycling events. All of these trophies are still in use today.

The club has always been active in bringing forward young cycling talent and encouraging cyclist of all abilities to improve their performances. Some notable riders who have ridden for the club in the past include Sam Barker, who now rides for the API Bikes racing team, Stuart Wright, who also rides for API bikes. Bob Barker, who has been a dominant figure in time trialing for a number of years, in this area. Tim Crisp and Steve Smith who together with Bob Barker won the junior team award at the National 25-mile championships. Richard Cosford also went on to produce some excellent rides and eventually moved to VC Slough (a notable time trial club).

Present club riders of note include, Rob Swannack, is a consistent fast rider who has performed very well in time trials around the country for a number of years. Liz Parsons is a star athlete who has competed in triathlons around the world, and has achieved many high places nationally and internationally. Zak Moore, who was a very promising rider in his youth, has just returned back to cycling and is already beating his personal bests. Stu Travis who rides for Team Spirit, Liam Stones who has progressed through various semi-pro teams to now ride for NFTO. 

Members who deserve the largest mention are those who have put so much into the sport locally. Tony Proctor for all of his efforts with the juniors in the 80s and 90s (under his leadership as chairman the club ran the first ever national 10 mile championship). Barry Billet with his enthusiasm for cycling as an enjoyable pastime. Ray Grundy and Graham Swannack for their tireless support of the club and cycling organisations in the district. Other notable members include Pete Knotley, who was a journalist who wrote articles on cycling. John Crisp a life long active member of the club and Pete Stafford who always did so much for the club.