The Early Days
The club was formed by a group of recent incomers and local riders following the suggestion in July 1962 by the late Norman Smith at the Halkirk Highland Games and seized upon by current Life President, Alasdair Washington. They were quickly joined by Ian and Marion Marshall, our Guests of Honour tonight, leading local track cyclists Donnie Bruce and Gordon MacDonald, and many others.
The inaugural meeting was held on February 21st 1963 in the Clubrooms of the Thurso Social and Cycling Club. The new club affiliated to the SCA and to NOSCA and was soon running a programme of racing, club runs, Youth Hostel Weekends and grass track meetings. Local cycle shop owner and former Caithness Track Champion Mack Mowat became the first Life President of the club.
Most weekends the club competed in south races and Mack and his wife regularly drove down in their large, sedate Jaguar to give support. The club had an extremely successful first season and on the road they won first place and first team in almost every race. Even down in Aberdeen when they entered the Ivanhoe “25”, they scored a 1-2-3, led by Alasdair Washington, Norman Smith, Harry Hughes and Donnie Bruce, ably supported by Ian Marshall, Gordon MacDonald and Roy Munro. In the NoSCA Road Race Championship they took 4 out the top 5 places, led by winner Harry Hughes. On the track, Donnie had many fine wins including the 2 mile Scottish Championship, closely followed by Norman.
In 1964, the Thurso Social Cycling Club, prominent in the 40’s and 50’s, but inactive for several years, made over their excellent stone-built clubrooms in the town centre. Now named the “Mack Mowat Memorial Clubrooms”, they are still the focus and meeting point for most of the club’s activities.
The club has produced a number of outstanding riders.
Sandy Crawford (b. 1952). Started his racing career with CCC before moving to Glasgow aged 17. In 1970, aged 18, he won the Scottish 25 mile championship and, 2 weeks later, the 50 mile championship. He rode in the Tour of the North (N. Ireland) for Scotland “B” and in 1972 signed a contract with Peugeot. He raced in France for 4 months before returning to be in the Scottish team for the Tour of Scotland but was unable to ride through illness.
Gary Paterson. (b. 1973). After early years with CCC he raced in Brittany with a French team for 3 months when 18, managing to keep himself by race winnings. From 1996 – 1999 he raced for Scotland in many Premier Calendar events, the Tour of the North and the RAS (T of Ireland). He rode in the final Prudential Tour of Britain and was short-listed for the Commonwealth Games.
Alexander Ross.(b.1980). First rode for Scotland as a 17 year old in the junior Tour of Ireland, in the company of one Bradley Wiggins and Irishman Mark Scanlon, World Junior champion. From 1998 – 2002 he was in the Scottish team riding many quality events including the Fleche du Sud (Luxembourg), the 6 day Giro del Capo (South Africa), a stage race in Saudi Arabia (?), the 8 day RAS, and many Premier Calendar events including the Girvan stage race. In 2002 he was selected for the Commonwealth Games but a crash and injury in the Isle of Man during final training ended his racing career.
David Smith. (b. 1985). In 2003, aged 18 and riding for Scotland, he won the Junior Tour of Wales in dramatic fashion. In 2004 until 2008 he rode successfully in France for a French team and rode the Tour of Britain in 2004 and 2005.
At a more local level club riders have amassed many NOSCA (North of Scotland CA) gold medals, Austin Hughes won the SCU Junior 10 mile championship and Alasdair Washington won two Scottish Vets 100 mile titles.
The club still caters for many aspect of cycling. The popular 10 mile time trials are held every Tuesday evening from early April to early September. We hold two Open Time Trial Weekends at standard and non-standard distances which attract competitors from the Highlands and the Central Belt. We hold an annual Interclub event with Wick Wheelers between Thurso and Wick where everyone is encouraged to take part. For the past two winters we have held turbo sessions in the clubrooms and these have proved to be very popular, pedalling away while watching a training DVD on a large screen, and they are currently held 3 times a week.
On a more leisurely side, CCC have day tours in and around Caithness and a Tour of Orkney. We have “Awaydays”, where a car is used to travel further afield and the Strath Brora Run is a particularly good one. Sportives are increasingly popular and members have ridden at Applecross, Ullapool, the Cairngorms and the Etape Caledonia amongst others. Several members have recently toured abroad including Dave Morrill and Allan Sutherland in the Alps while David Robinson rode around the complete periphery of Australia. In December we round off the year with our Christmas run for lunch at a country hotel.
Last modified: Sunday August 26, 2018 21:28