1949 Brighton to Glasgow Part 4

The Story of The Six - told by Charles Fearnley

1949_Brighton_Glas-six009wSTAGE THREE  -  Wolverhampton to Bradford

TO-DAY is Tuesday. Shops are open for the first time since Saturday. Helpers and riders alike are out shopping - food, mainly. Fuel is the most urgent problem of this Brighton-Glasgow express." We see each other here and there. We hardly nod. To-day is a serious day.
The belief is that this, the Wolverhampton to Bradford stage, going as it does over the most mountainous country of the race, is the stage on which the ultimate winner attains his superiority.

All riders have one idea in mind. He who gets away early may win two primes before he is caught, if he is caught. They remember how, in 1947, Johnnie Raine got away, stayed away and along with taking Axe Edge and Holme Moss primes, finished 10 mins. ahead of the field.

And again in 1948 he got away with his clubmate Ted Jones, and Horace Poole, both ace riders, rode them off his wheel, until when five mins. up, he lost his way in Buxton, and on retracing, found himself with an eight-minute deficit. All eyes are furtively on Johnnie to-day. Will he repeat?

Sunshine and showers seems the order of the day as dispensed by the C.O.W. (Clerk of the Weather). No day yet without lashings of rain, and Teddington Lock on Father Thames at Drought mark. The ceremony of starting is ably dealt with by a uniformed Wolverhampton Civic Authority, while the police of that enthusiastic centre are at their usual top standard of efficient helpfulness. Off go the riders with blond Clive Parker wearing his maillot jaune, having disrobed Lander yesterday.

De-neutralisation comes on a stretch of dual carriageway and soon afterwards a black and white Hateley jersey writhes itself free from the mass of multi-colour. Ken Rhodes decides he has an Axe Edge to grind, But others have similar ideas and first a couple of blue and gold Harrison jerseys detach, then an orange and brown I.T.P. garment gets going, closely followed by the orange of a Birmingham Premier boy. This other type of Raine has got 'em worried!

Let's see who they are; step on that long right-hand pedal, driver. Ali, yes : Len Hook and Ron Baker, Harrison; Geoff " grim " Clark, I.T.P., and Alan Morgan, Brum Premier. Yes, it's a definite break, and that only after five miles. Hateley Ken is re-christened - Mountainous Rhodes! The leaves on the trees are becoming disturbed, a fresh cool breeze blows straight from the sun over the left shoulders of these men of miles. Up there ahead of us it will be gale force. Good job we've brought hot tea as well as cold drinks. Hallo ! Someone else is restless. George Kessock's dark hair, orange and red jersey, and sharply contoured legs move ahead in a .......