Chelmer Cycling Club duo honoured, while sport loses a local legend in Lusher

Mary Horsnell (Chelmer CC) racing in 2002. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Mary Horsnell (Chelmer CC) racing in 2002. Picture: FERGUS MUIR - Credit: Archant

Joint guests of honour at the Chelmer Cycling Club Gala Dinner were two people who had between them racked up 108 years of membership of the club, writes Fergus Muir.

John Golder (Chelmer CC) going all out in the East District CA 100 , July 2018. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

John Golder (Chelmer CC) going all out in the East District CA 100 , July 2018. Picture: FERGUS MUIR - Credit: Archant

Mary Horsnell was celebrating her 70th year in the Chelmer, while John Cottee has been a member for 38 years.

Mary is best known for supporting her Super-Vet husband Peter – she can be seen riding her bike, well-loaded with supplies, about the courses of long distance time trials when Peter is a competitor.

Among various commitments she is also Regional Correspondent for the Veteran’s Time Trial Association’s magazine and still rides the occasional short time trial.

Perhaps John Cottee’s greatest contribution has been his many years’ service as organiser of the Eastern Counties Cycling Association’s 12 hour time trial.

This event is not only one in which several national records have been broken, but sees every year a memorable gathering of the cycling clans, nowadays amid the golden harvest fields of the Essex/Herts border.

Among the Chelmer club’s stars feted at the dinner were Lauren Kirchel, winner of the Crowhurst Women’s Spring Road Race and Peter Harding who rounded off his season by teaming up with his brother David to win the Hainault Hilly two-up 25.

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Another notable ride came from John Golder who celebrated his retirement from work with a personal best ride of 265 miles in the CC Breckland 12 Hour.

- The death of Derek Lusher robs East Anglian cycling of a lynch-pin of road race organisation, a considerable character and a Round Suffolk record breaker.

In the front line as a road race commissaire (referee) Derek made good use of his regional accent and lorry drivers’ non-nonsense approach to keep a fired-up road race bunch in line and safe.

Derek Lusher setting out on a “10” near Newmarket in May 2015. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Derek Lusher setting out on a 10 near Newmarket in May 2015. Picture: FERGUS MUIR - Credit: Archant

Behind the scenes, he had been Regional Cycling Administrator for British Cycling since 2001. As such he was responsible for assessing and approving circuits, co-ordinating dates and liaising with the authorities- a job he continued, almost to the last, closely supported by his wife Jenny.

With most Eastern road races taking place in the southern half of the region, he was a familiar figure on the roads of Suffolk and Essex.

Derek and Jenny also formed a much sought-after time-keeping team while earlier their work together for the English Schools Cycling Association brought national championship time trials and the ESCA International race week to East Anglia.

Derek, who was 70, had been a club cyclist since 1964 but it was in the longest and loneliest disciplines that he achieved his best rides. His best 12 Hour ride was 237 miles while in 1969, at the age of 21, he covered a personal best 419.8 miles in the North Road CC 24 Hour time trial.

In 1978 he set the 175 mile East District CA Round Suffolk record at eight hours 28 minutes 33 seconds.

Derek started his club cycling with the East Anglian CC, but from 1970 he settled in the Norwich Amateur Bicycle Club whom he served successively as Secretary, Captain and finally President. He organised many events for them – notably their 100 and more recently their September “25”.

Until recently he continued to ride shorter time trials – with a 1960’s riding position and nothing so new-fangled as tri-bars – whenever he could fit them in among his commitments.

- West Suffolk Wheelers’ Suffolk Punch reliability trial was postponed because of the risk of falls on ice.

However tricyclists do not have this particular worry, and the Tricycle Association Appetizer Ride to Lavenham went ahead, with riders returning to The Manger at Bradfield Combust for their Regional Lunch and Prize Presentation.

Derek Lusher (Norwich ABC) riding his own club’s 10 at Wortwell in 2112. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Derek Lusher (Norwich ABC) riding his own clubs 10 at Wortwell in 2112. Picture: FERGUS MUIR - Credit: Archant

Principal prizewinner was Lez Young, (Lincoln Wheelers) who received his trophies from chief guest Don Saunders - Cycling Time Trials’ East District Chairman and former trike competition record holder.

This Sunday’s reliability trial is organised by the Stowmarket & District CC. For details see:

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