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Sunday, 13 October 2013

Track Cycling in Derby

In 12 months time we will see track cycling in Derby at the new Velodrome,  and this is actually a local return to the sport, as there was once an open air track situated on what is now the Moorways Athletics Track.  It was a banked concrete bowl, originally designed for motor cycle racing by Professor A.M. Lowe after the style (but not the size of) the Brooklands Motor Racing track.
As lap speeds increased, the track became very dangerous to both riders and spectators in spite of wooden extensions built on the upper edges of the concrete, and several motor cyclists were killed as they were launched skywards from the extreme edge.

The track was subsequently used for cycle racing and the most well known competitors here were the Wyld Brothers, three of whom won bronze in the team pursuit at the 1928 Olympics which were held in Amsterdam.

Here is a photograph of the brothers.

A pretty fit looking bunch.

And here a photograph from the Olympics.

The Amsterdam track would also appear to be concrete and has some rather unfriendly looking edges. No helmets or Lycra in those day of course, but apart from the handlebars, the bikes don't look that old fashioned.
With 12 countries, this event had a large field, but many teams were of poor quality. Four of the six heats ended with one of the teams being overtaken and the Turkish squad was already lapped after 2,500m.  An error by the lap counters led the Polish team to believe that they had won their heat but in reality were one lap short.  They were nevertheless advanced to the next round.  The British quartet, which included the three Wyld brothers, had impressed with a new Olympic record, but were eliminated by Italy in the two fastest times of the tournament. 

Although I can remember, as a young lad, seeing the Derby track on what was then known as the Municiple Sports Ground, I have not been able to find any photographs of it or even any further information.


Longranger said...

Would that be one of the Wylde brothers who had a cycle shop on Nottingham Road?

Les Sims said...

Yes I believe so.