Club History - The FormationSeptember 1947. The long hot summer was turning to autumn and the Thanet section of the East Kent District Association of the C.T.C arrived at a tea rooms at River near Dover. The time would have been around 4 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. The cyclists, having left Margate at about nine that morning, were looking forward to their tea and cakes.
Once the tea was over all the riders were given a set of rules laying down the expected behaviour on club runs. As is the usual reaction of young people, when what looks like constraints being placed on their freedom, a number of riders rebelled and decided to go their own way. Some of these riders had started cycling a year previously with the Margate Cycling Club and when the Margate CC folded had joined the C.T.C. Looking back the introduction of these rules were in the safety interest of the young riders. However it was this event that led to the formation of the Thanet Road Club.
The name Thanet was chosen because it was thought necessary to unite the towns of Broadstairs, Margate and Ramsgate. This, of course, was a long while before boundary changes made the name Thanet more widely known. Now the club draws its members from over a thirty mile radius of Thanet
The original club rules are reproduced below. It is interesting to note the annual subscription of 8 shillings (40p) and the power given to the committee in rule 9.
That the Club be called the THANET ROAD CLUB.
Membership is open to all cyclists. Male and Female, for racing and touring.
The entrance fee is to be 1/-; the annual subscription of 8/- to be paid by March 31st. of the current year. Subscriptions of members joining after this date to be decided by the Committee.
The officials of the Club shall consist of a President, Chairman, General Secretary, Racing Secretary, Treasurer and a Committee of six.
The Seasons Club Fixtures to be decided by the Committee, and a notification of events sent to each member.
Any member not paying his or her subscriptions by March 31st. shall cease to be a member, unless otherwise determined by the Committee
General Meetings to be held Annually; Special General Meetings may be held at any time providing the General Secretary gives 7 days notice
The Committee shall have power to expel any member guilty of conduct detrimental to the Club.
The Committee have power to make bye-laws, and decide disputes not provided for in these rules.
The Start Of RacingIt was when Neville Hodges and George King, both ex members of the pre war Ramsgate and District Road Club, joined the Thanet that the racing got off the ground. The experience of these elder riders, and their knowledge of the local courses, was invaluable to the younger cyclists.
Beside George and Neville two other ex Ramsgate club members, Bill Barnes and Charlie King also joined the club and carried out most of the time keeping for the club events. Apart from this quartet most of the other members were under twenty years of age.
CoursesBecause of the young age of most of the riders, the club B.A.R. in 1948 and 1949 was based on selected club events over 10,25 and 30 miles. All of these events started and finished near Philpots Garage at the eastern end of Canterbury Road East, Ramsgate.
The ten miles course was straight out to the turn at Monkton roundabout and retrace. The 25 followed the same route to Monkton and then carried on via Sarre and Upstreet to Sturry where a “U-turn was made just short of the level crossing.
On the 30 course the riders started on the Sandwich side of Lord of the Manor (which was then a cross roads with no traffic lights) and executed a “U” turn at the milestone 1 mile from Sandwich. On reaching Lord of the Manor the riders were faced with a “Halt at Major Road Ahead” sign and were expected to place one foot on the ground in order to keep within the law.
Here they turned left and followed the 25 course towards Sturry where another “U” turn was made but this time at the top of Staines Hill avoiding the climb back as in the 25. The riders then retraced to Lord of the Manor and the finish at “Philpots”.
In June of this first year of racing Frank Gillete, a 17 year old from Minster, set a club course record of 1 hour 4 minutes 40 seconds. This was to stand until August 1949 when Frank Randell of Margate recorded 1-03-22 on what was considered a hard morning beating the second rider Ron Allen by nearly four minutes. Allen was no slouch having set a new Ramsgate to Deal and back record of 1-0-56 a couple of weeks previously.
To return to 1948. Only a few riders took part in open or association events in this first year and so on most Sunday mornings there was an event on a local course. Beside time trials the 1948 club champion Frank Gillette broke two of the old Ramsgate club’s place to place records. The Ramsgate Canterbury and back, set by George Holmes in 1935, fell to Frank with a time of 1-24-44. The other record was that held by Nelson Standon for the Ramsgate Ashford and back. Frank broke this by over nine minutes when he recorded 2 hrs 46 mins 49 secs.
Both of these events reached the pages of the Isle of Thanet Gazette together with another report of a certain founder member clocked by a police car doing 30 mph along Margate sea front. Neville Hodges maintained that the speedometer in the car must have been faulty as Neville reckoned that the cyclist concerned could not have reached that speed even if he had been dropped out of an aeroplane. Nevertheless the court decided a £1 fine should be imposed.
What is believed to be the clubs first venture into open events took place in June of this year. The event was the Sittingbourne C.C. 25 on the Q8 at Chilham, which attracted a full field of 120 entries.