Bankstown Juniors

Bankstown Juniors

Bankstown Sports Cycling News - Club History

Bankstown Sports Amateur Cycling Club was formed in March 1970, after Canterbury-Bankstown Cycling Club approached Bankstown District Sports Club. The cycling club thrived almost immediately in this new form, and has grown to become a successful australian cycling fellowship producing many national title holders and internationally recognised cyclists. Lionel Cox and Alex Fulcher had begun a tradition of outstanding track achievements under the Canterbury Bankstown banner which was then continued by Kevin Nichols with his remarkable success in 1974 Commonwealth Games. Kevin was beaten for a bronze medal by a time of 0.06 seconds in the ten-mile track race, but picked up silver in the 4000 metres teams pursuit in Christchurch, New Zealand.

This was merely the start of an outstanding international career for one of Bankstown Sports and Australia's finest cyclists. When his career was over, Kevin had won an Olympic gold (4000 metres team pursuit, 1984 Los Angeles); two Commonwealth gold and a Commonwealth silver.

An example of the clubs strength was seen in 1979 the bankstown cyclists won 11 out of 16 NSW Track Championships at Wiley Park. Such consistency allowed Bankstown Sports to win three of the four State Premierships. At this time Bankstown Sports was the biggest affiliated cycling club in Australia, it's cyclists consistent winners and placegetters in championships throughout the country.

Cycling was on the Olympic calendar and, as such, enjoyed a relatively high profile. The deeds of the cyclists attracted considerable world attention and Bankstown Sports' remarkable cycling record continued into the '80s. In 1980 Bankstown Sports Cycle Club's junior cyclists - Owen Cricket, Dave Whetters, Mark McGurgan and Robert Balmer won the NSW 3000 metres Track Teams Pursuit event at Hurstville Oval in a State record time. This was one of many records set in competition by Sports cyclists. Robert Balmer also won the State 30 km Point Score title, joining Chris Wilson and Vicki Carne as individual winners while David Garrety won the Australian 5 km title.

In 1981 the cycling club provided the two Cyclists of the Year Awards -Robert Balmer and Vicki Carne. A host of Bankstown Sports cyclists carried the club flag with distinction among them 43-year-old Alan Dutton who won the prestigious Goulburn to Liverpool Cycling Classic. Dutton had come out of a 15-year retirement to train for the classic, losing two stone in his quest.

Cyclist Chris Wilson's selection in the Australian Commonwealth Games team for Brisbane 82 was a further sporting highlight. In the games cycling trials, Wilson won the 10,000 metres event. Wilson, a senior rider at Bankstown, finished second in the Australian Track Pursuits Teams race, third in the Time Trial and second in the Sprint.

Soon cycling was to benefit from a new Olympic-standard cycling track at the Canterbury Velodrome close to Tempe Railway Station. The Bankstown Cycling Club was the first to conduct a cycling carnival at the Velodrome, with a grand Opening Night on October 13, 1982 - and thereafter with plenty of successful Wednesday nights of racing.

Seventeen year old Bruce Keech kept Bankstown Sports to the fore when he was selected to ride for Australia in the World Junior Championships in France. Keech had won numerous state titles and finished second to Victoria's world champion Dean Roods in the Australian 3000m pursuit. Another cyclist, 15-year old Quinten Abel, won the NSW Sprint Championships in his first year with the club.

In 1985 the death of cycling president of 12 years Les Hall was greeted with sadness throughout the sport. Hall had been a tireless worker for both the young and old cyclists. A respected man throughout the Australian cycling community, he represented at State and National levels and was at different times a referee, timekeeper and clerk of the course at the Brisbane Commonwealth Games.

In 88 there were more outstanding achievements at the club when brother and sister Mark and Alison Kingsland both won medals at the Australian Cycling Championships. Mark won gold, silver and bronze, breaking the Australian Junior Pursuit record, and Alison won bronze. Mark was selected in the Australian team for the World titles in Denmark. He finished fourth in the Junior Pursuit and won a silver in the Teams Pursuit.

Another young champion followed in Steve Shiel. By 1991 Steve had won 47 gold medals and 3 silver medals in competitions as well as winning the NSW 500 metres time trial and gold at the Australian teams pursuit. Coach Fred Cobcroft built all the young champion's bikes. Shiel continued the good form into 1992 when he won the Australian Juvenile Sprint Championship in Launceston. Shiel was given a season on the road circuit to "toughen him up", a course taken by many of the outstanding Sports cyclists before him.

From the young to the not-so-young, in September 1992 the cycling club celebrated Herb Townsend Day at Lansdowne Cycle Track honouring a man who had been president of the cycling club for ten years, a senior vice-president for 15 and public address announcer for 25 years. Herb retired from his duties with the club in early 1994 after 32 years association with the club.

Bankstown Sports member Jerome Trudgett was 80 when he won a gold medal in his age group at the Masters Cycling Games in Perth. Trudgett was the treasurer of the Sports Cycling Club and also the grandfather of the NSW and Australian track star Glen Trudgett who was one Australia's top three sprinters at the time. Jerome Trudgett went on to win five gold medals in the Masters Cycling Championships in Melbourne.

For the first time in the club's history, the amateur pursuit team won the 1994 State title, and in State record time. The pursuit team of Andrew McGee, Peter Bundy, Trevor Jordan, Peter Clayton and Nathan Russell provided the club with one of its finest victories.

Canadian-born Lucy Tyler-Sharman was one of the better-known names in Australian sport in the mid-1990s as much for her public spats with fellow cyclist Kathy Watts and Australia's Olympic cycling coach Charlie Walsh as for her cycling. Tyler-Sharman rode at the World titles in 1994 and 1995 while a member of Bankstown Sports' Cycling Club. She left for Western Australia in 1996, winning a bronze at the World titles in the same year and a silver in the pursuit in the '96 Olympics.

The death of cycling's Herb Townsend in 1996 was felt throughout the club as he was a much loved worker and had been committed to cycling for many years.

The Bankstown Sports Clubs junior cyclist Jeff Hopkins won the World Junior Cycling kilometre title in South Africa, as well as finishing with silver in the sprint. So outstanding had Hopkins been in '97 that he was nominated for "Australian Cyclist of the Year". The Club continued to produce outstanding sports people including Tricia Coxon and Fiona Dwyer who joined the many state winning riders.

As 1999 came to an end, the key Olympic venue for Bankstown - the Dunc Gray Velodrome - was ready to host its first event. Located at the Crest, the velodrome stood as a splendid, modern piece of architecture, the roof emulating the look of a modern racing helmet, a true reminder that the Games were just around the corner. Opened in November, the velodrome was named after Edgar "Dunc" Gray, Australia's first cycling gold medallist (1000 metres time trial at Los Angeles in 1932). He also competed in the 1928 Games and in Berlin in 1936 where he was the Australian flagbearer.

World sprint champion and Bankstown cyclist Sean Eadie has had some of his most memorable rides at Dunc Gray. Eadie was one of Australia's outstanding Olympic cyclists and won bronze as a member of the men's team pursuit in 2000.

The club's cycling prowess remained evident into the new millennium with Rochelle Gilmore as a new shinning star. After a silver medal in the Junior World Championships in 2000, Rochelle defeated the world champion in the "Centro Carnivale", Italy's richest women's road race. The win followed Gilmore's dramatic stage win in the Women's Tour of Italy, which, at the age of 19, made her the youngest winner of a stage in a major tour, men's or women's. Closer to home, Sean Eadie, Paul Bayly and Jason Coleman won the NSW Olympic Sprint Championship, delivering the title to Bankstown for the second year in succession.

At World Championships in Copenhagen in 2002 Gilmore won a silver medal and Eadie, gold and silver.