Bidlake Memorial Time Trial

Bidlake Memorial Time Trial


Bidlake Memorial Time Trial


Chris Lovibond


Results and report from the Bidlake Memorial Time Trial.


This is a roadman’s course and the winner was twenty-two year old John Mulvey (Cambridge University CC), a second cat. roadman who recorded 1 hour 29 minutes 33 seconds, which put him over three and a half minutes clear of his nearest rivals.


John Mulvey on his way to winning the Bidlake Memorial TT
John Mulvey on his way to winning the Bidlake Memorial TT


The course is the opposite of a drag strip dual carriageway, using lanes to climb from the river Evenlode at Charlbury into the Cotswolds towards Chipping Norton, the road rising to 680 feet at its highest point. All the riders agreed that the easterly wind was unfavourable, and a set of temporary traffic lights added to the difficulties, so the winner did well to get within striking distance of Hywel Davies’ course record of 1.28.14 set in 2011.


First woman back was Lynne Biddulph
First woman back was Lynne Biddulph


A time trial with the name ‘Bidlake’ in its title could be expected to include some element of nostalgia and the organiser, Peter Whitfield, described it as ‘end of season fun’. However, whatever idea of fun the field may have had when they entered, as soon as the numbers were pinned on things became serious. If this was a day when youth was to be pitted against age, youth won hands down; the highest placed vet, Paul Granger (Fairly United CC) 56, was fifth and the lowest senior ninth, all the subsequent finishers being vets.


The event attracted a number of celebrated time triallists, although not all were riding – Martyn Roach, for example, was wearing a marshal’s jacket. Prominent among those competing were Lynne Biddulph (nee Taylor) the current Ladies End to End record holder, who duly took the ladies’ prize, and Les West whose illustrious career record must be a strong contender to be the very best of his time.


Les said that at seventy two he’s still riding a couple of hundred miles in a typical week, but he has not raced for two years. He commented that: “Today shows the difference between just riding and actual racing”. Nonetheless he recorded a respectable 1.55.03 for seventeenth place overall and was comfortably the winner of his vets’ age group. He used a conventional road bike –“I can’t see the point of me using modern equipment, I want to know how I am now compared with what I did in the past.”


Still racing at 72, Les West was 17th overall on a standard road bike
Still racing at 72, Les West was 17th overall on a standard road bike


However, it was the non-vets who came off best. Runner up Luke Souter is admittedly a rather senior senior at thirty eight, but third placed Jobe Usher (North Road CC), just nineteen seconds in arrears is only twenty-one, with fourth place going to eighteen year old Billy Leason (Banbury Star CC). This result board certainly looked different from the usual time trial demographic.


John Mulvey told me he is in his first season of serious (his word) racing. Primarily a roadman, he felt his best ride this year was the 100 mile Victor Berlemont Road Race where his ninth place gave him the award for the best third cat (as he then was) “I had no idea whether my legs would last that far, but they did”. So Sunday’s 36 miles held no fear for him even though, as Luke Souter commented, the head wind on the return to Charlbury put many riders into the red. Like so many of his generation of riders Mulvey is a graduate and is just starting a PhD in cardio-vascular biology at Cambridge. Let’s hope his studies allow him enough time to pursue his promising racing career.


It should be mentioned here that the Bidlake CC is a relatively new organisation set up to remind the cycling public of the significance of F.T. Bidlake, the founding father of time trialling. In pursuing this aim the club sets out to remind us of the virtues of the sport and publishes an excellent bi-monthly magazine which covers all aspects of cycle racing history.



Result of the Bidlake Memorial Time Trial, 27th September 2015. Course H36/18, Charlbury Circuit, 36.5 miles


Position Name Club Time
1 John Mulvey Cambridge University CC 1.29.33
2 Luke Souter Banbury Star 1.33.12
3 Jobe Usher North Road CC 1.33.31
4 Billy Leason Banbury Star 1.34.52
5 Paul Granger Fairly United CT 1.35.05
6 Mark Cox Fairly United CT 1.35.35
7 Paul Holdsworth Hounslow & District 1.36.56
8 Pete Oliver Fairly United CT 1.41.42
9 Paul Renshaw Mickey Cranks 1.44.03
10 Andrew Pickett Mickey Cranks 1.44.19
11 Neil Blundell Hounslow & District 1.45.38
12 Lynne Biddulph Born to Bike MC


Team: Fairly United CT.


Bidlake CC.


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