"I WANTED to stick my neck out and start racing," Bernard Pusey, the 23-year-old Redhill C.C. member, told us. And because he did "stick his neck out" in 1948 he now finds himself with one of cycling's most coveted honours.
Bernard Pusey - in 1955 with Hercules Cycles
Credit: Coups de Pedales
Pusey, nearing the end of his two years' National Service, will represent Britain in the forthcoming amateur world road race championship
Having been selected, he only wishes that he could have "lived" and trained with the other members of the team, but in these past weeks he has not had contact with any of them.
"I read that the Italian team were whisked away for special training following their selection," he said, " which is, to say the very least, a most sensible and commendable idea.”
"Anyway, I shall do my best in Switzerland, as will all my colleagues, and only hope that my best will be good enough," he added.
A Daily "Coaching”
We have seen this fair-haired rider from Tadworth (Surrey) give nothing but his best since he started racing early in 1948, and give up his "private trials" against London's Green Line coaches. Daily he 'Used to try to beat them over the 16 miles between his home and London office.
These "home-to-work” miles had "developed" him for the racing life which he followed, and for which he had had a hankering since the last school term in 1945.
At work, in the department of an electrical engineering firm, he met another keen cyclist who was already a member of a famous club. It did not take long for Joe Brilliant (present-day Belle Vue C.C., t.t. sec.) to persuade Pusey to join the Belle Vue C.C.
It was racing from the start, and in his first trial of that year (1948) Pusey clocked 1h. 12m. 15s., to claim fourth place in a novice's 25.
He had only two other rides over the same distance that season and brought his time down to 1-7-58. He did a little path work but his only success - and placing - was third in the Belle Vue club sprint championship.
After a year in the 'Vue, Pusey transferred to Redhill C.C., a club much nearer his home. It is as a member of the Surrey club that Bernard Pusey has made his "name."
During 1949 he took part in his first mass start at Goodwood, and, although getting cramp near the end, he finished the 31 miles.
"I was not worried by riding in a tightly packed bunch," he said, "but I remember that I had never ridden at such speed before!"
Before the season had ended he went back to Goodwood several times but always finished in a bunch.
He made friends with other members of the Redhill and accompanied them on club runs and paired off with a few to go away on touring holidays.
Studying occupied a lot of his time during 1950, but cycling was squeezed in whenever occasion permitted. He managed to "find time" because he did not want to let his racing activities fall off completely.
The Bath Road Hilly 50, a few 25s (now down to a "middling 1-3"), his first 100 (time, 4-54; award, first handicap), two 50s (fastest, 2-13) and one or two more mass starts, were all part of his 1950 programme.
Two titles came his way the following year, the S.C.C.U. mass start championship resulting in his first victory. He beat Ken Menhinick, Fountain C.C., and clubmate Dave Tubman.
His other title was the N.C.U. Surrey Centre 4,000-metre pursuit championship.
He then turned his attention to some major events, and his attempt in the 1951 national title mass start race at Blandford saw him finish ninth (Pete Procter was the winner). A "smashing" 2-3-52 (to finish second behind Ken Joy), and an improved 100 to 4-42, coupled with track successes behind motors, and one or two madisons, found the name Pusey becoming of national importance.
Then came the Army callup - an interruption which has often meant the end of many fine racing careers. Pusey was fortunate, however, for the Army had accepted cycling as an “official" sport. When he joined Lip he found he was in good company - Peter Procter, Les Willmott, Bill McAteer, Brian Robinson were all in the same command.
Selection for the 1952 Route de France and our Personality was "capped" for the first time. Pusey led an unexciting but essential .role in the French stage race, serving as a domestique. But he lasted the course and even now considers that it was the “toughest and roughest" event in which he has taken part.
When he returned home he went through a bad spell. He retired in the national championship at Birkenhead Park, in the Isle of Man International (riding for England “C" team), and in the London - Leamington road race.
Only bright spot among this "dark patch" was his personal best 4-20-55 100 (in Central District 100, which Ken Joy won, after puncturing, with a 4-9). His fitness returned and a win in the Army Grand Prix de Ghezira at Blandford and a victory at Church Lawford brought a smile to Pusey's face again.
This year has seen him in action in Ireland, where as a member of the official N.C.U, team he took part in the four-day road race, finishing thirty-eighth on general classification, and later in Belgium. Pusey missed the Manx International - staying on for a few days' additional racing in Belgium, and considers the experience gained outweighed racing in the Isle of Man.
The week following his return from Belgium, Pusey won the 130-mile West Heath C.C. selection race! And he was second to Gerrard in the recent national N.C.U. title race.
Always interested in the mechanics of a bicycle from an early age, his first machine, he recalled, was assembled with parts he had bought singly and put together himself. Now he has settled for a 72-degree parallel frame, with a 22 1/2-in. top tube, 27-in, wheels, 6 1/4-in. cranks, to suit his 5 ft. 8 in. 10-stone physique.
Next December demobilisation awaits him - and the vital appeal of cycling is compelling him to think very seriously indeed of making it his living.
PUSEY LEADS IN G.P. OF MONACO
Credit: Cycling 26-Mar-1958
BRITISH riders finishing in first, second, eighth and tenth places - that was the news from Monaco on Monday of last week after the running of the Grand Prix de Monaco over a 96-mile course. In the final splint, Bernard Pusey beat fellow-Briton Ron Coe into second place, followed by A. Le Don, Louit, Polo and Salvador. All recorded 4-21-3. Then came two men on their own Ducard, at 1-10, and Stan Brittain, at 2-47, followed by the main bunch, in which Ian Brown was well to the fore, 10th.
Puncture Dashes Coe's Zurich Hopes
A PUNCTURE occurring little more than 20 miles from the finish of the 251-km. Tour of the Four Cantons, last Sunday, robbed Ron Coe of a vital seven minutes and set at nothing what had, until then, been a fine ride. There were 58 starters in this first of Switzerland's "big four" spring races, which centred upon Zurich. The entries included a determined Italian quintet, who were expected to make much of the running and did so effectively.
An icy pass had to be avoided, and consequently the course was shortened by nearly 20 miles. Even so, conditions were difficult.
Major breaks were made after 70 miles - by a group of Swiss and German riders, caught after a 20-mile pursuit - and, successfully, a few miles farther on. It was from this break that Moresi, of Switzerland, was to go into the lead with Maule and Reitz, for a photo-finish.
Seven riders started this decisive move, after 96 miles had been covered. Within a few more miles Coe, followed by two of the Italians, also pulled away from the bunch and at Wettingen, with 55 miles to go, caught the leaders. The lead was then 1-15, and was increasing, so that Coe seemed set for a good placing until that puncture. Result :Maule, Italy, 5-38-38, 1 ; Moresi, Switz., 2; Reitz, Germany, 3; Coe, at 7-40, 22. Retirements included Brittain, Pusey and Brown.