1955 An Tostal Tour of Ireland

Credit: The Bicycle, May 25 1955


Birmingham Regional Team Beats Internationals’ Aggregates
by Paddy Hoare

FINAL RESULT - General Classification
1 B. Haskell, Yorkshire 39 45 11
2 J. Lackey, Ireland 39 46 53
3 J. Grieves, Birmingham 39 48 9
4 E. Gerrard, England 39-51-50
5 J. Perks, Birmingham 39-53-34
6 T. Carmody, Irish Road Club 39-55-33
7 R. Parks, R.A.F. 39-57-28
8 J. Morris, North London 39-57-39
9 P. Janes, Birmingham 40-2-51
10 K. Wardill, Yorks and Durham 40-3-22
11 A. Hutchinson, Glasgow Wheelers 40-3-28
12 A. McWhirter, Long Eaton 40-4-44

International Team Race
1, Ireland 119-47-19
2, England 119-48-16
Regional Teams
1, Birmingham Midland Counties 119-44-24
2, R.A.F. 120-7-11
3, N. London 120-33-4
4, Dublin 120-4-8
Club Teams
1, Long Eaton C.C. 120-26-55
2, Barnet 120-57-10
3, Tailteann C.C. 121-13-40
4, Dublin Whs. 121-35-22

King of the Mountains
1, Brian Haskell 9 pts
2, T. Talbot, Ireland 4 pts
3, B. Sharkey, Dublin 3 pts

BRIAN HASKELL gave an effective answer to the selection committee who ignored his strong claim for a place in the England team, by winning the eight-day 900-mile Tour of Ireland virtually without team support. Entered with the Yorkshire Section under the "Regional teams" category, Haskell had only one man to help him throughout the race, Ted Penvose, for the other three members were victims of the infamous telegram hoax announcing the cancellation of the race, and did not travel to Ireland.
Yet against the might, of the Irish and English national teams Haskell not only fought his way to the front, but with Penvose's loyal aid held on to his An Tostal leader's jersey for the last five days - by far the longest period in the history of Irish stage racing.
Haskell was the hero of the race, but we in Ireland have good reason to be proud of John Lackey, who gallantly defended our prestige in the absence of Shay Elliott, and ran out a fine second, only 1 min. 42 secs. behind. Actually the difference between the two men was only 42 sec, on riding ability, for Lackey was penalised the other minute for an infringement of the rules on the penultimate stage.
Just as startling as Haskell's win without team support, was the remarkable achievement of another Regional formation, the Birmingham Midland Counties C.A. whose trio, J. Grieves, P. Janes and J. Perks not only won the team race in their category, but also beat the times of both the Irish and English teams who had been at grips for the international honours throughout the race. Perks, it will be remembered, was the first man ever to wear the An Tostal jersey - he won the Dublin-Wexford stage in 1953.

Stage Reports / Results

ToI1955-BurnsStage 2 Waterford-Limerick (150 miles)
“IT'S a great day for the Irish " summarises the second and longest stage of the Tour.
When 20-war-old, Tom Burns. of the Windsor C.C. Belfast, crossed the line a length clear of England's Paddy Boyd he had achieved something which even the great Shay Elliott had failed to accomplish ! He moved up from sixteenth position to be the first home country rider ever to don the purple Tostal leader's jersey.
Behind him in a six-man sprint we had Paddy Boyd and the 1953 Tour. winner Brian Haskell, who put in a tremendous ride to-day (he won the two mountain primes as well as others on the flat), and Richard McNeill, who was lying second to Pusey before that dreadful sixth stage last year.
The revelations of the race in this sprint, and, indeed, of the whole day, was Vinney Byrne, of the Dublin Wheelers, who was placed fifth, and the second Ireland international team rider Tom Talbot.
On the opening day it was for a time a case of weighing no the opposition. To-day, the real racing started at the "off," and continued throughout the day. Two miles out of Waterford a group got away. They were: Talbot and Burns, Ireland; Boyd, England; Walker, Scotland; McNeil, R.A.F: Haskell and Penvose, Yorkshire; J. Steed, Barnet, and V. Byrne, Dublin Wh.
Some of the members of the early breakaway group fell by the wayside for various reasons, but six of them stayed away all day to finish with a four-minute lead over the next bunch. Ted Gerrard missed that break and so lost his race leadership.
By Clogheen (47 miles) Steed had already dropped back, and at the approach to the 1,114-ft. climb, through the Knockmealdown mountains, Walker lost contact, too. First over the top was Brian Haskell, who beat young Talbot by a length, and then Penvose (who had been giving valuable aid to team-mate Haskell) broke his free-wheel - a pity, for he was riding strongly. The leaders had two minutes in hand over Walker and 8 min: 40 sea on the main group.
Continuing strongly, the breakaways were able to keep away from their determined pursuers and reached the city of Limerick, where a great crowd saw Burns outsprint Boyd to take the stage and race leadership.
Info-NotCheckedEngland drooped back in the team race to 21 minutes behind Ireland, and Dublin Wheelers were well ahead, too. England had bad luck with Chance puncturing early on.
Yes, a great day for the Irish. We even had "Irish miles" to-day - the total distance proved to be not the scheduled 134, but 150.
1. T. Burns, Ireland, the 150 miles in 6h. 23m. 35s.; 2. P. Boyd, England; 3, B. Haskell, Yorkshire Section; 4, R. McNeil, R.A.F.; 5, V. Byrne, Dublin Wheelers; 6, T. Talbot, Ireland; 7, - A. Cullen, Dublin Regional, 6-27-38, and group of 12; 20, W. Routledge, N.E. England, and P. Janes, Birmingham, 6-32-25; 22. J. McCormick, Ireland, 6-32-55, and 30 riders, including T. Gerrard.
General classification. 1, T. Burns, 11-27-55; 2, P. Boyd, 11-29-39; 3. B. Haskell, 11-29-54; 4, V. Byrne, 11-30-9; 5, J. Flanaghan, Dublin Wh., 11-31-3; 6, J. Lackey, Ireland, 11-31-3.

Stage 3 Limerick-Galway
LEAVING Limerick on the first half of the third day's run to Ennis, a distance of 24 miles, it seemed likely the judges would have the big task of trying to place the entire field of 94 in a giant sprint finish.
Eight miles from the end, however, the bespectacled Co. Dublin rider, Con Enright, better known as a time trialist, managed to get clear, followed shortly by novice Mick Higgins, Orwell Club, Dublin. John. Kennedy won a tough uphill sprint for third place from Ireland's John Lackey.
The time trial stage gave the race an entirely new aspect. Although Brian Haskell did not win the 40 miles test  - that honour went to Vic Stark, who showed he had fully recovered from his nasty crash at Gorey on the opening day. he completely dominated his nearest rivals on general classification to go into the overall lead.. Contrary. to usualpractice, the riders were started in general classification order, with Burns off first,. Boyd second and Haskell third. Haskell passed both his men, and only Stark and K. Wardill, Yorks and Durham, could better his time. Gerrard and Chance had trouble-free rides for a change, and reduced their team deficit to eight minutes.
Will Haskell be able to hold his lead ? He only has Ted Penvose to support him, the other three Yorkshire entrants being victims of the telegram hoax, did not get to Dublin in time for the start
Mass Start.-1, C. Enright, Ta:ltearm, Dublin, the 24 miles in 1-0-42; 2, M. Higgins, Orwell, Dublin, 1-1-10; 3, J. Kennedy, Scotland, 1-1-15; 4, J. Lackey, Ireland.
Time Trial.-1, V. Stark, England. 2-1-7; 2, K. Wardill, Yorkshire and Durham, 2-1-1,2; 3, B. Haskell, Yorkshire Section, 2-1-13; 4, J. Kerr. Scotland, 2-1-17; 5, J. Lackey, Ireland, 2-1-46; 6, R. Smith, Norwood Paragon, 2-2-6; 7, P. Janes, Birmingham, 2-2-29; 8, R. Holliday, R.A.F., 2-3-3: 9, T. Gerrard, England, 2-3-5; 10, J. Grieves, Birmingham, 2-3-16; 11,,J. Chance, England, 2-3-27; 12, 1'. Kennedy, Scotland: 2-3-51.
General Classification. - 1, B. Haskell, 14-32-22; 2, J. Lackey, 14-34-4; 3, J. Grieves, 14-35-35; 4, T. Gerrard, 14-39-9; 5, P. Boyd, 14-39-46; 6, T. Burns, 14-39-46.

Stage 4 Galway-Sligo (130 miles)
ENGLISH team manager Eddy Soens appeared to have the whip out to-day. A stage win for Stark, Gerrard third, and from being 20 min. 10 sec. down at Limerick, England now lead Ireland by 10 min. 23 sec. on generalclass.
Brian Haskell placed joint seventh in the sprint from the bunch for second place, still remains the big man of the race. However, John Lackey, the Irish captain, keeps whittling down his lead. Lackey today received a 30 seconds bonus for second place. and is now only 1 min. 12 sec. down.
An early breakaway, as on Monday, succeeded in staying away and taking the day's spoils. This group included two of the Irish team (Tom Talbot and John Lackey), two English (V. Stark and T. Gerrard) in company with the race leader Haskell and Grieves, placed third on "class."
Then attack followed attack, and it was noticeable that Brian Haskell was always in a position to match each one of them. Things went pleasantly enough at the start, but with 20 miles to go this team business was carried a little too far, so much so in fact that Gerrard was to-night penalised a minute for dangerous riding. Ten miles from the finish, Stark got away; he was Oased by P. Janes, of the Solihull. riding for the Birmingham Reg team. Janes, however, experienced cruel luck, as five miles from the finish he punctured. A quick change saw him back on in a matter of seconds, but not before the next ten had overtaken him.
Stark rode home alone, and in a spirited sprint finish on a down gradient Lackey repeated his Waterford success when getting a length win over Grieves for second place.
1, V. Stark, England, the 130 miles in 5h. 44m. 14s.; 2, J. Lackey, Ireland, 5-46-10; 3, J. Grieves, Birmingham; 4, P. Janes, Birmingham; 5, J. Robinson, Scotland; 6, T. Talbot, Ireland, and group, including Haskell and Gerrard.
General classification.-1, B. Haskell, 20-18-32; 2, Lackey, 20-1944; 3, J. Grieves, 20-21-45; 4, E. Gerrard, 20-25-4; 5, J. Perks, 20-26-55; 6, J. Morris, 20-27-22.

Stage 5 Sligo-Bundoran (121 miles)
THE second day in the mountains over the hills of Donegal from Sligo to Bundoran, was the most amazing run of the Tour. Still surviving, however, this fantastic run in which the riders on top of the second climb had to ,contend with an 11-mile stretch of road more suited for a tank than a bike, was Brian Haskell who still headed the field on " class " and added, to his King of the Hills title.
I lost count of the number of riders I saw changing their tubulars. In places there were tiny fittle groups all with the one object. Possibly the hardest luck. of all occurred to M. McDougall, Glasgow Whs. Having punctured for the second time, and without a,spare, he threw his wheel on the road. He sat on the side and had the unfortunate experience of seeing a van ride over it.
The English and Irish teams were badly affected
in this respect. First to fall early in the morning was Ted Gerrard, who, in the space of 10 miles, had two punctures before the rough road started. Following Gerrard came Stark, and over the entire day the team as a whole changed their tubulars 12 times. The Irish were also affected, but the fact that Lackey and McCormick escaped and finished in the second bunch. with, Lackey gaining a bonus time for second place, brought the Irish team back to the top in the international section. But the Irish also had their troubles as Tom Burns early in -the morning broke a wheel and had four punctures, while Tom Talbot, on the second mountain climb, also fell to the puncture demon.
After 39 miles through the beautiful Yeats country the riders encountered a freshly tarred stretch of road. The loose drippings here brought the first puncture epidemic. The field at this point had settled down into two groups, with the leaders numbered at 17. Donegal was reached, and then it was out for the mountains.
At the top of the 850-ft. rugged summit of the Barnesmore Gap, Haskell and Talbot of Ireland were clear. Haskell won his third mountain prime, and with a nine points total had taken the mountain honours. Then out to Glenties, the most northerly point of the course, the road deteriorated, and Sharkey, a young Dublin boy, made his winning get-away. He won the second mountain prime, and on the descent was chased by Carmody. They passed through Donegal for the second time well ahead of the field, which was now spread out over several miles. At Ballyshannon, five miles from the end, Carmody crashed going through the town and actually landed, bike and all, in a shop.
1, B. Sharkey. Dublin, the 120 miles in 5h. 28m. 26s.; 2, J. Lackey, Ireland, 5-40-2: 3, J. Grieves, Birmingham; 4, K. Wardill, Yorks and Durham; 5, R. Holliday; 6, P. Malloy, Tailteann.
General Classification. - 1, B. Haskell, 25-58-34; 2, J. Lackey, 25-59-16; 3, J. Grieves, 26-1-32; 4, J. Perks, 26-6-57; 5, T. Carmody, 26-9-6: 6, E. Gerrard, 26-9-44

Stage 6 Bundoran-Longford (104 miles)
AFTER the storm, the calm. Yesterday's day in the mountains had been packed with incident, with adventures round every corner of the long and bumpy road. To-day it was almost peaceful aver the flattish, well-surfaced roads across from the west coast to the Irish Midlands. Longford is well known as the chief town in County Longford - but in cycling circles we know it as the birthplace of John Lackey, and looked forward to seeing our great little rider distinguish himself before his own townsfolk.
However, it was not to be. Ted Gerrard, Ronnie Park and Tom Talbot broke away almost from the start, .were later joined by M. O'Brien, V. Byrne and P. Janes - and these were the five which an enormous crowd of excited Longforders saw contest the finish, with Gerrard bringing off his second stage win of the tour with a splendid effort. As a result of his 1 min. bonus Gerrard moved up from sixth to fourth place, while Haskell and Lackey maintained their positions.
1, E. Gerrard, England, the 104 mls. in 4h. 17m. 21s.; 2, R. Park, R.A.F., 4-17-51, 3, T. Talbot, Ireland, 4-18-6; 4, P. Janes, Birmingham, 4-18-21; 5, T. Burns, Ireland, 4-20-20; 6, B. Sharkey, Dublin, 4-20-20.
General Classification.-1, B. Haskell, 30-19-41; 2, J. Lackey, 30-20-23; 3, J. Grieves, 30-22-29; 4. E. Gerrard, 30-27-5; 5, J. Perks, Birmingham, 30-28-4; 6, E. Carmody, Irish R.C., 30-30-13

Stage 7 Longford-Kilkenny (122 miles) and Stage 8 Kilkenny-Dublin (103 miles)
OVER flat roads, the last two stages were without incident. But there was a sensation on Saturday night when Lackey was penalised one minute. Contrary to rules, his team manager, on a motor-cycle, had brought a spare machine up to him. From being 42 seconds in arrears, Lackey dropped to 1 min. 42 sec.
1, A. Cullen, Dublin, the 122 mis. in 5h. 3m. 0s.; 2, W. Routledge, N.E. England; 3, J. Goddard, N. London; 4, B. Sharkey., Dublin; 5, J. King, Barnet; 6, R. Holliday, R.A.F.
General Classification. - 1, B. Haskell, 35-25-1; 2, J. Lackey, 35-26-43; 3, J Grieves, 35-27-59; 4, E. Gerrard, 35-32-25; 5, J. Perks, 35-33-24; 6, P. Carmody, 35-35-23
1, R. Vennard, Belfast, the 103 miles in 4h 19 min. 29s; 2, E. Gerrard, 4-19-55; 3, M. Brown, Lakeland District 4-19-56; 4, K. McCarney, Australia, 4-19-57; 5, J. Perks, Birmingham, 4-20-0; 6 P. Boyd, England, 4-20-2


Shay Elliott missed the Tour of Ireland, but continued his winning ways in France. On Sunday, after a 26 m.p.h. race over 190 km., Elliott outsprinted Meneghini (recently returned from Prague-Berlin-Warsaw) on the Municipal track, Paris, to take the Grand Prix de I'A.P.S.A.P.