The Polhill was established in 1946 with riders from West Kent and South London meeting at the Crown Public House, Shoreham. It was not until 1947 that the riders could make an impact - and what an impact !. The Brighton to Glasgow was run from 1945 to 1952 and was the first multi stage road race at the end of WW2 with the Polhill playing a big part in most of them. In 1945 it was a 5 stage event but from 1946 onwards it had 6 stages with each stage between 80 and 120 miles.
The bar photo shows:
Back row - Dickie Wells/ ? Harper/Geoff Graves/? Harper/Karl Bloomfield/Unknown/Les Wade/John 'Zero' Read
Front Row - Pat Howbridge/Stella Chivrall/Alec Taylor/John Yearsley (later a Pro Wrestler)/Alan Morgan/Harry Healey
In 1947 George Kessock (real name George Phillips) won with Johnny Raines 2nd and also King of the Mountains and 6th -Ray Stevens, they had to race as independents but it was recognition for the Polhill boys.
In 1948 Stoppa Clarke finished 2nd overall in Glasgow having won stage 3 from Wolverhampton to Bradford, In this year the "Butlins" race from Nottingham to Skegness was won by Les West with Mike Decker, Johnny Rayne and George Kessock also racing.
It was 1949 when the great George Lander appeared on the scene for the first time, with George we had Les Wade and Geoff Graves who started a few circuit races in the East Midlands and had good results. As a consequence in 1949 they were invited to the Tour of the East Midlands a 3 day event and the first stage race for the boys, It was held over Easter and was won by George Lander.
Later in 1949 the trio entered the Brighton to Glasgow - Stage 1 from Brighton to London was won by George Lander and Les Wade 3rd, Geoff recalls the huge crowd at the start and the pain of Caterham Hill towards the end of the stage. Stage 2 from London to Wolverhampton was very fast and George lost the yellow jersey. Stage 3 from Wolverhampton to Bradford was very hilly which suited George and Geoff whereas Len suffered. Stage 4 was the longest stage with the boys holding their overall positions. Stage 5 from Newcastle to Edinburgh George, Les and Geoff finished 3rd, 5th and 7th respectively. The final stage from Edinburgh to Glasgow was a chase after a lone breakaway P. Lynch (nicknamed the Spanish Bricklayer!) The overall result was George Lander 2nd , Les Wade 7th and Geoff 8th and also picking up the Team Prize. The Polhill were the best amateur team in the country at that time even if they only had one yellow and black top between them, swapping this top was a tactical ploy used to their advantage.
Similarly in 1950 the Brighton to Glasgow was complete domination by George Lander with Les Wade finishing 9th on general class whilst Geoff Graves fulfilled his National Service.
Although we had no Polhill riders in the 1951 B-G it was Len Wightman in 1952 who finished 2nd on general classification and was the winner of stage 5 from Bradford to Glasgow. Also in 1952 the 2 day Portsmouth-Bournemouth-Portsmouth (Jointly promoted by Velo Club Aquila) was won by Geoff Graves with the Polhill 2nd in the team prizes.
Footnote - the original club logo was designed by Fred Marns in 1946 and updated in 1969 as a clever combination of the old Zeus Cycles and Coppi Cycles logos.