With the 54th* edition of the Perfs Pedal Race just one week away we asked some former winners for their memories. From 1964 winner Tony Mills talking from his bathroom in Brittany to Sean Yates insisting on phoning back to relive his 1979 victory as an 18 year old tyro.... From Dave Legrys apologising for "going on a bit" about a win that obviously means a lot to him to Paul Rogers messaging in the night from New Zealand.... it was clear all have a great affection for this south coast season opener. Perfs is a Classic: The race is only 46 miles long but its place in the calendar, its history, even the quirky name ensures that status is maintained. We start our trip down memory lane back in 1964 and the very first Perfs Pedal race....
Tony Mills 1964, The First Winner
....."It wasn't the first race of the year back then i seem to remember. The finish was on Harting Hill i think, i won on my own about half a minute, i was 23, i never rode Perfs again., I started racing in '56 I am 80 in June and live in Brittany but i am still interested to see who wins. I used to build frames, i think Sean Yates was riding one of my frames when he won Perfs."
Tony lives with his family in Brittany
..."My dad entered me, i was new on the scene, just 18, he wanted me to race as much as possible. I broke away with Nick Frewin i was feeling pretty good and dropped him before the finish. I knew i was going to win, my first senior win. Perfs was the first big race of the season, a great circuit and people always rode hard. Mick Waite does a great job organising, yeah i am proud to have won, its a real nostalgic part of the British scene."...
Sean currently lives in Spain, his son Liam rode Perfs in 2015
Dave Legrys 1976 (Pictured Above), Hambledon
..."Winning the 1976 Perfs was actually a big deal for me. First of all I was a track sprinter, more used to explosive short efforts rather than road racing, second, the 1975 winner Ian Hallam was riding and he was a well respected Olympic rider and pretty good on the road too. I remember the day very well, it was chucking it down with rain at the start, and in true Perfs fashion as soon as the flag dropped the winter warriors attacked straight away. It was on the Hambledon circuit, it suited me as there was only one big hill. There was attack after attack and I went with everything that moved. I was in good shape. On the last lap a group of 3 or 4 riders got away and I wasn’t in it, typical. They got about a minute, Alf Engers came along side me and said get on my wheel, it was like riding behind a motorbike and we got across to within 100m of the break and Alf blew, I jumped across and got in the break at the top of that big hill. As we were fast approaching the finish, the bunch caught us led by Ian Hallam so at this point I was pretty stuffed, as we approached the finish, which was pan flat, we were really motoring and I attacked at the yellow flag, I got 2-3 bike lengths on the bunch and held it to the line, I was absolutely delighted, I wasn’t a sit in sprinter that day so my victory was welcomed by all the riders. There was a massive crowd gathered at the finish, so many coming up to me congratulating me, as there was so many top roadmen riding that day. I have actually been 1st – 2nd - 3rd and 4th in the Perfs over the year, a great race always fiercely contested and well organised."...
Dave has his own cycle coaching business, runs training camps in Mallorca and still rides as much as he can.
Alex Dowsett 2007 Forestside
..."I thought it was all over after being dropped twice on the final lap on climbs by Gordon McCauley and Dan Lloyd, but kept fighting to come back, luckily they started looking at each other in the final 500m, I could get back, recover and I’d been really working on my sprint in the previous months so was happy that I’d won it but also that the specific training had paid off. I only decided to ride the day before being new to senior racing and clocked the biggest win yet for myself. I was delighted."
Alex turned Pro in 2010 and currently rides for Team Katusha-Alpecin
..." I loved the Perfs. It was very important race as whoever won it, got more publicity than winning any race later in the season. And what "Cycling Weekly" wrote about was much more important in those days as well and they gave it top billing. I think i won it 3 times? But i never trained abroard in the warm always in norfolk or sussex so i was used to the cold. Some of the weather we raced in was unbelivable,full snow one year. If you win the Perfs then your season is off to a flying start!! Its a classic really. Not many of the races from my days are still going. Certainly not in the south!"...
Tim lives in Belgium
Marcin Bialoblocki 2013, Portsdown Hill circuit
"2013 was great year for me.Obviously “Curse of the Perfs “was broken that year I have special memories from that race.weather was on my side minus 5*C and rain . I know what to wear to stay warm and still aero in bad condition.Problem was I got new wheel and my chain was jumping when power was over 800wats . I knew I have to go solo to have chance for win. I went bit early but managed to stay away doing about 400watts for one hour!"
As well as being a prolific winner on the road Marcin holds the 10,25,50 & 100 mile time trial competition records
Nigel Perry 1987 Lodge Hill, Newtown
"I still have good memories of my win . I remember i realy wanted to do well as my friend Tim Harris had won it few times and was (still is!) a big race for all the local riders. im think im right in saying i was 18 at the time . It was my first amateur race and came out of track racing in belgium in the winter. Had a big battle with Harry Lodge and Paul Rogers but managed to beat them in the sprint ! If you find any pictures from the race id love to see them, as i dont have any"
Nigel lives in Belgium working in electronics and still rides "now and then"
Justin Hoy 2000 Forestside
..."So MY Perfs win of 2000 was a shock to me I remember spending half the race struggling to get going then somehow the move came back with team mate Paul pickup in and I went with a counter move just following Paul Rogers as I knew he was great at slipping into the right moves. Coming into the finish I stuck to Paul's wheel when it kicked off early and just managed to find the legs and roll him. Hitting the air for the first win of the new millennium was great, i felt so shocked I had won just a few days after getting home from training camp. Think I blew up riding home afterwards"...
Justin is still racing.
Paul Rogers 1991, The only St Raphael win so far, Racton circuit (Forestside snowed in)
..." Yep to win perfs was always a big early season goal for me. Given the amount of support Mick (Waite) has put into cycling and me, it was extra special to get the win for him in 1991, (hope he gets another win soon) I always seemed to do well in bad conditions, so when it was cold and snowy that day it was right up my street especially as the course was changed and we had a flat finish that year. It,s a short but hard race to start the season on and has produced some epic battles over the years, with several riders going on to compete on the big stage. Hope everyone has a great race this year"...
Paul lives in New Zealand but gets back to the UK once a year.
Yanto Barker 2015 Portsdown Hill
"I love the Perf’s race. One of my favourite because you spend all winter training and it’s a real pleasure to get a number on your back again and see where you are. I obviously have good memories being part of the winning team a number of times"
Yanto retired from racing in 2017 and is proprietor at Le Col cycling apparel.
Rory Townsend 2016 Portsdown Hill
..."Perfs is talked up a lot in the UK, I think people look forward to the season getting underway having trained all winter, and that’s what the race has come to represent, the “curtain raiser”. To appreciate it properly you need to race it, when I won it I was overjoyed, there’s a lot of pressure on a team like Canyon DHB, I was fortunate to be away solo so I could really savour it. I’m really interested to see how this years race pans out, we have a lot of young guns in this one with so much potential, Jacob Vaughan has been really strong at our team camp here in Calpe, Alex Paton is a previous winner and Alex Richardson really made a name for himself in the uk in 2018. Personally I’d love to see Louis Rose Davies take it, he’s my training partner and has worked really hard again this winter. Damien Clayton is my bet from outside the team to cause an upset!”...
Rory currently rides for Canyon DHB Bloor Homes
Julian Winn 2001,2004 Forestside
..."I loved opening the season with Perfs and always took it serious.Yes, I should of won it 3 times but got worked over by (Paul)Manning and (Chris) Newton in 2005!...
Julian still works in cycling as a DS having been a coach with GB for many years.
Chris Newton 2005 Forestside
..." Winny was never that good anyway, yes it was always the early season classic, along with the Eddie Soens"...
Chis is a coach for the Great Britain team.
Glenn Longland 1978,1985 Hambledon, Lodge Hill
..."Won both in the snow. They never cancelled due to the weather. Cyclist’s were hard back in those days both wins i finished on my own as you know I am no sprinter. 1978 was my first ever Road Race win. I was a 2nd Cat as well."...
Glen still rides and promtotes time trials and road races
...“I always really enjoyed riding the Perfs, it came just at the right time in the season a couple of weeks before the longer races started. It really is a brilliant circuit, so good in fact, I think it would be a great circuit to have a race twice the length on later in the season.
The Perfs also always has a great atmosphere, it’s often the first time you see other riders after a long winter, it is always a very well organised race and one that I am very proud to have won twice.”...
Chris retired from racing in 2018 and is a presenter on the Global Cycling Network
James Williamson 2006 Forestside
..."I definitely remeber seeing 5 degrees on the instrument display inside the warm car at the HQ, not to mention the rain and mud during the race! It was the very first race for the new team I was part of in 2006, (Agisko-Dart) so bagging a win early on in the year was a great start for me. It was also nice to win such a prestigious race in the UK. It came off the back of many tough training miles in Italy with the team and set me up for one of my best seasons."...
James lives in Spain running training camps
Martin Markowski 1995 (above)
..."I have lots of memories from the Perfs mostly painful as was always hard but was nice to win it as I trained pretty hard that winter and told everyone local to me that I would win it . They thought I was joking but was deadly serious . I’ve place 4th and 6 th in other Perfs to so knew it was achievable . It was also the first race in the colours of a team I formed the previous Autumn, VC Bayeux, also based in Hastings, so a great way to start a club . My brother Mark had won in 1988, he was away in a break with another Hastings and StLeonards cc rider Dominic Windsor now living in America .i won the bunch sprint for 6th place that year. Perfs was always a "go to" event early season with legendary organiser Mick Waite"...
Martin is a landscaper,still races his bike for Trainsharp and works as a ride captain for a cycling events company
Will Bjergfelt 2009 Forestside
..."I remember it well, I was team mates with Marcin at the time and he’d just put in a big effort to get away in the final 10km but got brought back by lads working so when that happened I went over the top and didn’t look back with about 8km to go the gap went out pretty quick and on the climb I crossed to the opposite side of the lane on the climb to pass a horse no issues for me and pressed on to the line to win solo about 30 seconds up. I understand when the bunch came through it spooked the horse and caused a bit of chaos still I was made up to win what signified my crossover from MTB to racing Road in my first full road season for my new team."
Will was an elite mountain biker before switching to the road.After a serious training accident in 2015 Will was classified as C5 and is a member of the Great Britain Paracycling squad and continues to race in the open category.
..."Clive Crossey 1972, Hambledon
...."I dont remember much about that win, it was so long ago. It was the first race of the season, I remember everyone around here saying Dari (Kasprowicz) would win, all I kept saying to them was that if Phil (Edwards ) didnt ride as there was talk of him riding I was going to win. The race itself was a bit of a blurr, I was a third cat and a reserve as I hadn't really done too much the year before, my first as a senior. I remember it was a hard race and very cold, in the finishing sprint I can remember just going through and gaps opening at just the right moment, I think first prize was five pounds"....
Clive lives near Bristol, his business, Kiri Cycle Technology imports, builds and sells cycle frames
... "Perfs has had an impressive list of winners since 1964. My best memories after Paul's 1991 win mu"Perfs st be the Hambledon years. Those bunch sprints with 40 riders going through Hambledon village missing the parked cars and occaisional skips to provide the spectators on both sides of the road back to the 200 metre mark, with an exciting finish."
Photos by very kind permission: Mick Searle, Martin Markowski, Paul Rogers, thank you to Sean Yates & David Legrys for the press cuttings.
The 54th Perfs Pedal race takes place this Sunday (10th February) on the Portsdown Hill circuit, Depart 11:00
Perfs Roll of Honour
1964 Tony Mills Ryall / Raxar
1965 Barrie Heath Bournemouth Olympic
1966 Graham Moore Bristol Road Club
1967 Alan Williams Dragon RC
1968 & 69 Not Held
1970 Graham Moore Bristol Road Club
1971 Graham Moore Bristol Road Club
1972 Clive Crossey Bristol Road Club
1973 Derek Witt G S Europa
1974 Bob Woodley Kingston Pheonix
1975 Ian Hallam Beeston Road Club
1976 Dave LeGrys 34th Nomads CC
1977 Clive Oxborrow Brighton Mitre CC
1978 Glenn Longland Antelope RT
1979 Sean Yates Archer RC / Cutty Sark
1980 Tim Stevens 34th Nomads CC
1981 Piers Hewitt VC Europa
1982 Tim Stevens 34th Nomads CC
1983 Tim Harris Willeboro-Van-Peer-Kyoso
1984 Tim Harris Willeboro-Van-Peer-Kyoso
1985 Glenn Longland Antelope RT
1986 Tim Harris Weilersport
1987 Nigel Perry G S Stella / Weilersport / VRV
1988 Mark Markowski Hastings & St Leonards
1989 Race stopped by Police
1990 Simon Bray Invicta-DLB / Phil Corley Cycles
1991 Paul Rogers VC St Raphaël / Waite Contracts
1992 Brian Fleming C C Romford
1993 Richard Wooles CC Abergavenny / OwenConstruction
1994 Colin Langley C C Luton
1995 Martin Markowski Velo Club Bayeaux
1996 Brian Fleming Cannon Sports Club / Omega Bio Racer
1997 Justin Clarke Giant – Portland
1998 David Rand PDM Sports – Concorde – WCU
1999 Paul Wilkes VC St Martinus
2000 Justin Hoy Liphook Cycle RT
2001 Julian Winn Welsh Cycling Union Private Member
2002 Barry Elcombe Festival Road Club / Nico lapage
2003 Cancelled due to Flooding
2004 Julian Winn Pinarello RT/Pinarello/Corima
2005 Chris Newton recycling.co.uk/MGXpower/Litespeed
2006 James Williamson Agisko-Dart-Cycling.tv /Xpower
2007 Alex Dowsett 100% ME
2008 James Stewart KFS Special Vehicles / SundayBikes
2009 Will Bjergfelt Sports Beans-Willier
2010 cancelled due to poor road conditions
2011 Ben Stockdale Team Quroz
2012 Chris Opie Team UK Youth
2013 Marcin Bialoblocki Team UK Youth
2014 cancelled due to poor road conditions
2015 Yanto Barker ONE Pro Cycling
2016 Rory Townsend Pedal Heaven
2017 Chris Opie Bike Channel – Canyon
2018 Alex Paton Canyon Eisberg
2019 Jacob Vaughan Canyon DHB P/B Bloor Homes
The 55th Perfs Pedal Race takes place on 9th February 2020*