1950s Biographies - Brian Haskell

Born: abt Feb 1929 Huddersfield, Yorkshire
Died: 10-Mar-2012

Personality Parade The Bicycle, 17-Feb-1954

EGYPT and the Isle of Man are of special significance to Brian Haskell, 25- year-old member of the Huddersfield Road Club. He learned his mass start routine when stationed with the Army, and as a member of the Buckshee Wheelers, in that sun-drenched Middle-East country . . . and it was in the Isle of Man during 1950 that he put his knowledge into operation on a grand scale for the first time, taking part in three big Island events during the year.
His performances, and not only in these events alone, might have earned him some unofficial recognition - such as the discovery of 1950" had sports writers been so inclined to look for a man to fit that title.
The year passed . . . and Haskell, Holme Valley Wheelers champion for the second time in succession, reflected on his performances alone.
His second placing to Bob Maitland in the Isle of Man Mountain time trial (during which he made the fastest 6 1/2 mile mountain climb of the day) was called - the sensation of the event." A second place in the Mannin Veg mass start (his first senior event) saw Haskell in a happy frame of mind when he left the Island.
Two months later he returned and collected seventh position in the 80-mile national championship when he came home 3m. 57s. behind winner Gordon Thomas. These rides, coupled to a 237-mile effort in the Yorks Century 12-hour time trial, and a 1-0 25, 2-7 50 and 4-33 100, gave him plenty of encouragement for the 1951 season.
His time trial performances moved him up from 134th position in the 1949 B.B.A.R. to 62nd in 1950.
The first event of his racing life was the Manchester Clarion novices' 25 in 1946. The event was won by J. Nightingale. Abbotsford Park, with 1-7-52. Haskell clocked 1-25!
He confined his interest, at first, more to watching than participating, and, with a few of his Holme Valley Wheelers clubmates, saw his first 12-hour time trial from a sitting position on the grass verge.
The following year he took over [the] club championship, riding two 25s (1-7 and 1-8) and a 50 in 2-18. Then came his Army call-up, but unlike many Service men who had to forego their cycling activities because of lack of facilities, Haskell took full advantage of what the Army had to offer cyclists.

Middle East Races
For nine months, whilst in Palestine. he did not cycle, but when lie settled down in the Canal Zone, Egypt, for a further nine months, Haskell rode what he calls an " apology for a bicycle" (a machine with 28 x 1 1/2 in. wheels, no brakes and fixed gear), taking part in mass starts and time trials. Good times for 25s and 50s under Middle East conditions were 1-11 and 2-28.
He was third in the Middle East B.A.R., won by Joe Pilling.
After demobilisation in 1949 Haskell rode 233 miles in his first 12 hr., finished his first 100 miles race, lowered club 25 and 50 records to 1-1-44 and 2-12. and took the Holme Valley Wheelers club championship,
Haskell joined the Huddersfield R.C. at the beginning of 1951 and throughout the season again mixed his racing.
Among his awards were second place in the "King of the Mountains" contest during the three-lap Manx International: nineteenth after a . crash within sight of the finishing line during the national mass start title race at Blandford; an improvement on his 12-hour time trial figures to 247 miles; a lowering of his 25 and 50 times: occupation of second place in the R.C.’s B.A.R. (Ken Stake beat him and has kept Haskell in second spot ever since!), and a further climb up the B.B.A.R. table - to fifty-third position.
The N.C.U. “recognised” his performances and selected him for the Route de France in May 1952. This was his first experience of Continental racing and his toughest assignment yet. "It made me realise how hard stage racing can be" he said.
Young Haskell took thirty-third position in general classification, second best of the eight riders from this country who competed.
In the Isle of Man he again took second place (this time behind Les Ingman) in the mountain time trial, and a few days before this event was placed equal fourth in the national mass start championship which took place over the flat Birkenhead Park course.
Still a keen triallist, Haskell set up his best 50 to date with a 2-4-53 in the Andy Wilson Memorial promotion, twice recorded under-the-hour 25s during that year, and rode in many other time trials, including the Buckshee Wheelers' Bully Beef 25, which he won.
The B.B.A.R. list found him in equal seventy-second place. despite a much faster average than in any previous year - 22.039 m.p.h.
Last year it was impossible to keep Haskell's name out of the news. A victory in the Irish An Tostal race; a cracking 258 miles in the Manchester Wheelers 12-hour event; trips abroad to Rumania and Belgium, where he was seventh and eleventh respectively in bunched events: tenth in the gruelling 113-mile Isle of Man race, and a lowering of his previous bests in the 25- and 100-mile distances to 58-33 and 4-23-11.
Then came his participation in the B.L.R.C. Tour of the Chilterns - and that, following the rumpus every time he tried to - or did - ride in an R.T.T.C. event after the Chilterns race, gave the rider publicity galore. Enough, in fact, to make up for the little he received during 1950.
And in spite of all his mass start activities, his name was still to be found on the list of B.B.A.R. riders who beat 21 m.p.h. His 2-6-1 50, 4-28-42 100 and 258.78-mile 12 earned him twenty-third position, with an average of 22.567 m.p.h.
They talk about a double in soccer (League and Cup) - could it ever be accomplished in cycling? If Haskell could improve his 50 - "the hardest distance to ride" he declares - he would be very near to taking top honours in time-trialling.
He might yet be the rider to bring off the B.B.A.R., and the M.S. championship!
To-day he is at home, resting and doing light training, following his fine performance in the recent Tour of Egypt. His ability to get fit quickly, was one of the reasons why he did so well to get into fourth position.
An ambition, this year, is to "make" the world championship team - he has been chosen reserve on the last two occasions. It should be within his grasp.



Brian Haskell, Ted Gerrard and John Perks return home with prizes won in the 1954 Tour of Egypt. Gerrard had won three stages.

Credit: The Bicycle 2-Jun-1954
BRIAN HASKELL Huddersfield R.C., racing in Scotland for the first time at the invitation of the Glasgow Ivy C.C., scored a runaway victory by four minutes in the Criamlarich Circuit road race promotion after covering the 130 miles in 5h. 23m. 57s. Second was K. Hetherington, Hadrian, who led his club to a team success.
After 100 miles Haskell was away with R. Cadenhead, Killing Park, but the Yorkshireman soon left his rival to continue alone to the finish, beating Shea Elliott's 1953 course record.
Intense heat and punctures accounted for nearly half the field retiring.
1. B. Haskell Hudd. R.C., the 130 miles in 5-23-57; 2, K. Hetherington, Hadrian, at 4m.: 3, J. Hill, Chryston Wh.; 4, R. Cadenhead, Killing Pk.: 5, J. Thomson, Dundee Western; 6, A. Walker, Shotts Miners. King of the Mountains. - B. Haskell. Team Race. - Hadrian R.C.



Photo caption: 24 year old Brian Haskell being congratulated as the winner of the four day An Tostal Tour of Ireland and leading the winning England team. [1953]

Brian’s Tours of Ireland
Dateline: 19-Apr-2011

As far as I can work out the first An Tostal Tour of Ireland was in 1953. Brian Haskell won (1953 results) and was given the An Cinnire (The Leader) Jersey. Before last weekend this jersey was supposed to be purple in colour - but then the actual jersey was seen. As you can see it is a dark green woollen, zip-less jersey with the title in yellow embroidery. The attached press photo shows Brian wearing the jersey. Does anyone know the story?

Nothing appears about Brian in the next Tour of Ireland (1954 results) . But plenty for 1955 - when Brian Haskell wins again this time for Yorkshire and takes the King of the Mountains as well (1955 results).

In the 1956 Tour Brian took the leaders jersey again on the first stage but then lost it on stage 2. But then at the start of stage 4 Brian was stopped by the cycling politics  - "This morning the officials withdrew B. Haskell when it was established that this rider had competed as an independent rider, and had not been reinstated by the N.C.U. as an amateur.” (1956 results)

What happened at the 1957 Tour of Ireland is unknown - and there may well have been no Tour at all. But Brian Haskell had made a permanent mark on the race and by then had moved on to be an Independent for Viking along with his Huddersfield RC team mates.

And the jersey? Well the 1956 report clearly says the leader’s jersey was purple - so perhaps it was only 1953 that green was used?

Mike England, Exeter, Wins B.L.R.C. Title
Credit: Cycling, 4-Oct-1956

STOCKILY-BUILT, fair-haired, 20-year-old cycle-shop assistant Mike England, Exeter Wh., emerged the new champion as winner of the 115-mile B.L.R.C. senior championship held in the Nuneaton area.
Last week-end England rode nearer his home ground and won a Weston-super-Mare event. From each B.L.R.C. Section only four representatives were allowed to ride in the championship. The course comprised 10 laps of a circuit just over 11 miles long, plus a finishing loop of three miles. It wound through the outskirts of Nuneaton, through new housing estates, small mining villages and stretches of open countryside. It was a beautiful day and the sun shone throughout, but a stiff southerly wind slowed riders in several places.
There was action from the start, and as soon as the neutralized section had been completed, Brian Haskell, Huddersfield R.C.; Les Gill, Coventry 3-Spires, and Army man Brian Wiltcher were away by themselves in a break that lasted three laps before they were joined by the bunch. The next three miles went quickly - Gil. Taylor and Les Gill were ever-willing to " stir things up." On lap 7 R. Magee, Gill and England were away for a while, but were caught on the following lap by six riders: T. Hallam, B. Haskell, G. Taylor, A. Bagnall, T. Hewson, G. O'Brien.BLRCRR-19561004
The next lap saw the bunch on Ansley Colliery Hill, and the leaders, now a group of five, left behind Gill,Taylor, Bagnall and O'Brien.
Of these, Gill, Taylor and O'Brien chased hard, but' Taylor gave up the chase at Church End, and soon after Gill followed suit. With the leaders, three laps to go, Haskell tried a short-lived solo break. Then, coming to the final lap of the circuit, the leading five men rode round together and they commenced the final loop of three miles. With one mile to go, speed was little above walking pace and. the riders were watching each other like hawks. A left turn, then a downhill swoop, and with 200 yards to go, T. Hallam swung out to the right to commence the final sprint.
The approach to the finish was uphill, and with 30 yards to go England and Haskell were shoulder to shoulder, with the Exeter rider getting the verdict on the line. Hewson managed to urge his machine on the outside to snatch second place.
Back in the bunch, John Saunders, Wolverhampton R.C.C., won the finishing sprint from B. Watson, Wembley R.C. The Mayor of Nuneaton started the event and afterwards presented the prizes.

M. England, Exeter Wh.. 4-59-26, 1; A. Hewson, Falcon R.C.. at 1/2-wheel, 2; B. Haskell, Huddersfield, 3; R. McGee, Manchester, 4; T. Hallam. Sheffield, 5: G. O'Brien. Liverpool, at 5-11, 6; L. Gill, Coventry, at 7-44, 7; A. Bagnall, Wigan, at 8-37, 8.

Fastest Hill-climber in B.L.R.C. Mam Nick Events

Credit: Cycling, 11-Oct-1956

BRlAN HASKELL, Huddersfield R.C. all-rounder, who was the B.L.R.C.'s independent hill-climb champion last year, is the League's amateur champion now! - but he's still the fastest man in all their categories. Haskell won the senior amateur section at the League's national championships at a new venue - the 1 3/4 mile climb of Mam Nick, which rises steeply out of Edale, Derbyshire, to a height of 1,000 feet. It is a varying climb, starting steeply, then fairly easy for 500 yards, then rising steeply again, and with a short, almost level section up to the last steep ascent, it is in many ways superior to the Derbyshire hills used regularly for such events. The road is well surfaced, but carries very little motor traffic.
It's a climb that seems to call for a variable gear, and, indeed, most of the competitors rode five blocks - but Haskell (who used a variable gear on the Snake last year) rode 69 fixed, and did a smooth ride of almost 16 m.p.h. to win in 6 mid. 41 sec.
His rivals on the card seemed likely to be 1955 amateur champion Ivan Sharpe (Glossop Velo) and the 1955 junior champion Tommy Simpson - though with several former independents among the amateurs, Olympic team man Simpson was, not unnaturally, content just to watch!
Sharpe was the first of the 64 amateurs, and rode well in 7 min. 9 sec., which was the best time until Haskell arrived some 52 1/2 minutes later. But within two minutes Sharpe was pushed down to third place when Ron Beck (Southern Coureurs), a 23-yearold Brighton airman who had travelled up from Honington R.A.F. station in Suffolk, sprinted up to the finishing line in 6 min. 59.4 sec. Beck, who looked remarkably fresh, said he had saved too much for the finish, and could have done better! He rode a five-block, and used gears from 56 to 70.
Huddersfield Road Club had Ted Penvose in fourth place and Bob Eastwood eighth - but there was no team award.
Liverpool Unity C,C. roadman J. A. Ryan was the best of the strong Lancashire amateur contingent in 7-23.6.
London led the way in the independent and aspirant class, where Ken Mitchell took the title, just three seconds slower than - Haskell, but 25 sec. faster than runner-up Jock Andrews, a London aspirant. Doug Petty was hailed as the independent champion until a clerical error of one minute was discovered in his time!
Winning the junior title unexpectedly, but very well, was 17- year-old David Stables (Dearne Wh.), whose previous successes have been in track racing. Clocking 7-15.8, he beat all but five of the seniors. The climb was well organized by Sheffield Racing C.C. on behalf of B.L.R.C. North Midlands Section.

AMATEURS - B. Haskell, Hudds. R.C., 6-41; R. Beck, R.A.F. Honington, 6-59.4; I. Sharpe, Glossop Veto, 7-9; W., E. Penvose, Hudds. R.C., 7-18; G. Stansfield, Hebden Bridge, 7-18.2; J. Ryan, L'pool Unity, 7-23; P. Southart, Adorior R.C., 7-23.6; R. Eastwood, Hudds. R.C., 7-26.
INDEPENDENT AND ASPIRANTS - K. Mitchell. 6-44; J. Andrews, aspirant, 7-9.4; K. Stratford, 7-22; J. Swinney, 7-27.4; D. Petty, 7-29.2; S. Wilson, 7-52.
JUNIORS - D. Stables, Dearne Wh., 7-15.8; D. Riley, Manchester Velo, 7-26.4; A. Ellis, Hebden Bridge. 7-31.4
WOMEN - K. Bamford, W. Pennine R.C., 10-36.2; A. Clarke. Keighley Velo, 10-43.8; S. Petty, Keighley Velo, 10-53.2

Bound for France with Coe, Pusey and Brown

Credit: Cycling 16-Jan-1958

RobinsonHaskell1958-1BRITAIN'S leading amateur roadman, Stan Brittain, is to turn independent. Then, along with independent champion Ron Coe and established professionals Ian Brown and Bernard Pusey, he will go to the Continent early in February. Their base for early training and racing will be the South of France.
Other news of independents comes in the list of riders and teams to contest the 1958 season, and the events that will count towards the- Challenge Viking Trophy, the independent B.A.R.
There will be 11 full trade teams of between three and six men this year, plus seven sponsored individuals and one unsponsored rider. making a total of 57 riders. It is, however, expected that the number will rise to around 75 by the start of racing.
Events counting towards their B.A.R. are: March 30, Dover-London : May 4, Langsett Circuit; May 11, Tour of the Cotswolds; June 22, North Wolverhampton RR.; July 13, Wytham R.R.; July 20, Tour of the Peaks; July 27, Ockers Memorial: August 3, Victor Berlemont Memorial ; August 31, Manchester Velo R.R.; September 7, Seven Valley G.P.; September 14, Worsnop Memorial.
The May-June gap in the programme allows for the Tour of Britain, confirmed to run from May 27 to June 7, with the start in London's Hyde Park and the finish at Crystal Palace.
At the recent A.G.M. of the British Independents' Racing Association, officials elected included : president, R. Thom ; chairman, T. Fenwick; secretary, D. H. Orford, Chase Wood, Ambergate, Derbys.

Brian Robinson presented the Challenge Viking Trophy to last year's winner, Brian Haskell (see picture)

Viking1959-1<< Brian Haskell is featured in the Viking advert. published in Cycling 10-Jun-1959 highlighting his King of the Mountains wins in both the Tour of Britain and the Berlin-Prague-Warsaw