Cycle speed glory at Brodsworth Miners’ Welfare Ground

2017.6.20 Frank Smith
With the help of Heritage Doncaster, we’ve been looking into the history of Brodsworth Racing Cycling Club.

Brodsworth Racing Cycling Club was founded in May 1927 by a group of cyclists who trained on the cycle track at the Brodsworth Miners’ Welfare Ground. For the first four years the club operated as a section of the Miners’ Welfare, but in 1931 it broke away from the Welfare and began to flourish as a track racing club under the name Brodsworth Racing Cycling Club. In the same year was held the first Club event, a 25 mile time trial won by W. H. Lindley. The first female members of the club joined in 1938.

The club enjoyed a good degree of success throughout the 1930s. When the Second World War broke out, many male members were called up into the Armed Forces, but the club carried on regardless. It was supported by members of other clubs who had seen almost all their members join up, those who remained at home and by several female club members. The first Open Events were held in 1942, and the Ladies 10 mile Time Trial was won by Susie Rimmington of Chesterfield. Two years later she recorded the fastest ever time by a female in this event, in a time of 26 minutes and 40 seconds.

The post-war years were a boom time for the Brodsworth Racing Cycling Club, the Sheffield Star reporting in 1949 that the club was “flourishing as never before”. Members won a record £200 in prize money in 1948, the same year in which the club gained its first National Title as Miss M. E. Brown won the Ladies ½ mile National Grass Track Championship. In 1950, the club had the maximum number of 120 entrants into the Women’s 10 Mile Time Trial, while over 70 individual prizes were won by club members.

Programme covers, Brodsworth Racing C.C. dinner and dance. Images courtesy Heritage Doncaster

Club success continued into the 1950s. One particularly successful young cyclist was Margaret Beevers. In 1952, at the age of 19, she won the Ladies ½ mile National Championship, and the following year she won the Ladies National Sprint Championship at Birmingham. In 1954, an up-and-coming young cyclist, 21-year-old Peter Coaten won the Dunlop Cup and medal. This was an award presented annually by the National Cyclists’ Union to the best track racing novice of the year.

However, as the years passed the club retained fewer and fewer links with Brodsworth, as most of the new members came from the wider Doncaster area. In 1971 the club changed its name to Doncaster Racing C. C. and the following year the club was amalgamated with Askern C. C. After a decline in membership in the 1960s, the amalgamation and re-naming encouraged an increase in new younger members, and 1976 saw the highest membership since 1955.

After the late 1970s, however, information about the Doncaster Racing C. C. is very scant and it seems that the club most have folded at some point. Can anyone shed any light on what happened to this really rather illustrious Doncaster racing club?

Doncaster resident Gerald also sent us this clipping from the Doncaster Free Press, printed in the late 1980’s. Members of Danum Central Racing Club, including Club Secretary Richard Oxby of Balby (then aged 17), appealed for volunteers help them return the shale cycle track at Brodsworth Miners’ Welfare Ground to its former glory.

Brodsworth Miners Welfare Article, Doncaster Free Press
Cycle speed glory could return, Article: Doncaster Free Press, 1986

Were you part of the 16 strong team who spent their Saturday’s hard at work on the track? Or were you one of the 10,000 spectators at the major Bank Holiday meetings during the track’s golden age? We would love to hear from you. Find out how to get in touch here.

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