Club spotlight: Glenmarnock Wheelers Cycling Club

Club spotlight: Glenmarnock Wheelers Cycling Club


Published on: 12th December 2013

By Sean Murphy, Scottish Cycling Board Member

Club info:

Each month we will be putting the spotlight on one club from each Region for the Club Newsletter. This month its the turn of the West's Glenmarnock Wheelers! Read all about the club below.

Glenmarnock Wheelers Cycling Club

Glenmarnock Wheelers were founded in 1941 by cyclists from the RutherGLEN and DalMARNOCK districts of Glasgow.  The new club attracted many people into the sport, initially by introducing them to the delightful countryside which surrounds the city on Sunday clubruns but later expanding horizons by escaping for weekend and longer trips all over Scotland, staying in youth hostels, at a time when family motoring was almost unknown in postwar Britain.  Members also raced and time trialled all over the country.

The Club President, Norrie Drummond, was selected to ride for Great Britain in the world's biggest amateur event, the Peace Race, in the 1960s.  Norrie raced as a semi-professional "independent" rider, basing himself in Belgium, where he was coached and mentored by the legendary "Last of the Flandrians", Briek Schotte, world RR champion in 1948.  Briek became an honorary member of the Club and in the season following his death his name was carried on the armbands of the Club jerseys as a mark of respect.  Commonwealth Games riders Andy Young and Andy Ferrie raced for the Club but the best known former member of all is Robert Millar, who won the King of the Mountains prizes in the 1984 Tour de France and 1987 Giro d'Italia, the first British rider to do so in each case.  His fourth place in the 1984 Tour was the best by any Briton before a certain Mr Wiggins - who had himself been presented with the winners prize in the Scottish round of the Reynolds 531 Junior series by Robert Millar when it was run by Glenmarnock Wheelers around Fintry in 1997. 

The Club has provided a number of winners of the Scottish junior RR title over the years including David Jardine and Martin Lonie.  Martin's father, Bill, was an organiser of the Drummond Trophy, one of Scotland's major annual road races, which the Club has run for over 50 years, most recently under the guidance of Garry Quinn.  Recent winners include the great Jason MacIntyre, Raleigh pro Evan Oliphant and Commonwealth Games medalist James McCallum.  Steven Quinn also rode for Scotland as a youth and junior of distinction.  All of the Club's champions got their start in racing under the critical eye of the late John Storrie, a true legend of postwar Scottish cycling.

Racing success has tailed off in recent years but the exploits continue! Wheeler Terry "Crocodile" McGee cycled round the Great Australian Bight and camped out in the Nullarbor Desert, while six Club riders relayed each other continuously from Land's End to John O'Groats in 2011, covering the distance in two days to raise around £9,000 for the East Kilbride Hospice Fund in memory of Clubmate Michael Nelson who lost his life tragically early to cancer.

Today the Club thrives on a warm welcome to all and has a rising number of female members who ride together regularly on road, track and trail.  Runs leave from the Malletsheugh car park every Saturday at 0900 in the summer and 1000 in the winter.  And if you were on Mt Ventoux last September, yes that was a vintage Glenmarnock jersey from the 1960s, blowing in the breeze on the steps of Tom Simpson's memorial …if you want to know how it got there, you'll have to sign up for one of Pauline's Provencal adventures …another of the Club's regular exploits.