Established in 1979 by two erstwhile Deal cyclists, Mike Artis and Barry Loveridge, Velo Club Deal had modest success throughout the early years, but it was only in the 1990’s that the club really came to notice in Kent cycling events and beyond.
It became one of the most progressive cycling clubs in the country, and so it is today. Early recognition of the club came principally through Malcolm Whitehead who began to compete in both Time Trials and Road Races. His enthusiasm for cycling was infectious and he inspired many others to greater things. He finished seventh in the 1994 British BAR Championships and was second in the National 12 hour event. Later he was to become the National 24 hour Champion. He remains as competitive today as he was then.
An early high point in the club’s history was in 1995 when VC Deal were the BBAR (British Best All Rounder – across a range of distances) National Championship team, the most prestigious team award in the time trial calendar. Malcolm led the trio which included Tim Bayley and Andy Proffit.
VC Deal soon had a top youngster in its ranks, with young David Williams from Nonington catching the attention by winning the National Junior 10 mile Championship and taking third place in the 25-mile event. So started the long association with the younger riders, a baton picked up principally by Richard Wood, who following the efforts of Ian Williams to secure us a base at Crabble Athletic Ground, set up the Junior Section of VC Deal, with weekly generic training sessions to teach basic skills to youngsters and encourage them in to racing. Initiallythese were held at Crabble, and are now at Fowlmead Country Park. Before we had a base, and to this day, Richard has also led mid-week training sessions both on and off-road for the better of our youngsters. Our foresight in establishing a pathway for youngsters in to competitive cycling has led to riders Richard developed going on to win to date 14 National Championships in the disciplines of mountain bike cross-country and cyclo-cross. Mostly these have been achieved whilst still racing in VC Deal’s colours, but in the case of Ian Field, currently the Senior Elite National Cyclo-Cross Champion and Britain’s only full time male professional cylo-cross rider, his national successes came after he had moved on. Those 14 titles are: – Ian Field – 3 (U23 MTB and twice Senior Elite Cyclo-Cross), Alex Paton -3 (once U16 and twice Junior Cyclo-Cross), Michael Butler -3 (U14 & U16 MTB, U16 Cyclo-Cross), Max Sykes -3 (U14 & U16 MTB, U14 Cyclo-Cross), Jack Finch -1 (U16 MTB) and David Wood – 1 (U14 Cyclo-Cross). Ian Field and Alex Paton have also enjoyed significant success in national road race events Ian winning the Junior Tour of the Peaks and Alex the Isle of Man Youth Tour, though national road titles have thus far eluded us.
Many other riders have come and gone, each performing to impressive standards and ensuring the good name of the club went from strength to strength. However, many of those who played their part in the rise of the club still remain. In particular, the continuity of committee members and personal dedication of individuals in the club has helped foster this success.
The club continues to offer much to cyclists of all ages and abilities. From the still burgeoning ranks of youngsters under Richard Wood and his team, to the seniors and veterans in all disciplines of the sport. The varied weekly training rides continue to attract many, as do the training races at Fowlmead on Tuesday evenings.
If you require any information on any aspect of VC Deal, then please contact us.
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