Tuesday, 25 June 2013

1954 The Second six day race of New Zealand

1954 The Field: 

N.C. Cowles (Norm)                                                     
F.N. Geraghty (Neil)
L.D. Payne (Lance)
N.G. Perkinson (Noel)
A.W. Stonex (Alan)
G.R. Alexander (Graham)
W.J. Spencer (William)
J. Northcott (Alan)
R. Connell (Roy)
M. Boers
G. Carter (Gerry)
L. A. Parris (Lyn)
M. Matich (Mate)
R. M. Jones
A Brown (Alan)
F. R. Harvey (Bob)
H. R. Bush (Ross)
B. Robson (Bryan)
S. Mildon (Sid)
I. J. Harris (Ivan)
M. S. Love (Melville)
Len Davies
M. Simpson (Malcolm)
J. H. McRae (Jack)
G. P. Morgan (Graham)
P. Baird (Peter)
R. Treloar (Bob)
T. J. Oakes
P. Harriman (Peter)
E. S. Redward (Ted)
O. L. T. Mildon (Owen)
E. G. Lambert (Ted)
B. J. Howlett (Brian)
R. Knagg (Ray)
C. Nicol (Chick)
B. J. Mills (Brian)
E. Leggat (Eric)


The year was getting underway with some serious regional hostility warming up the roads, especially after the Wiakato rider Neil Geraghty, regarded by most pundits to be the best roadman in the country had been shockingly left out of the 1954 Empire Games NZ squad. Auckland riders filling most of the places.
This years race organizers wisely chose to have some regional teams ride together, with the hope that the race would tap into some of this heated regionalism. They also rightly hoped that this would encourage more team work from the riders, as opposed to last years mainly individual performances.

Three strong teams emerged, riding with the Brown patch was the Auckland team of Lambert, Howlett, Nola and Lowes. No doubt a team with all the right talent, Lambert known for his shrewd riding and reading of the field, Howlett a proven competitor and strong TT man. Both Lowes and Nola where riders with ability and depth.
Ted Lambert

The second Auckland team wearing the yellow band was if anything stronger, Baird was certainly one of the top riders at the time, and in good form,Stonex always a solid performer. The immaculate Simpson, a specialist track man, who was showing some real form on the road this year. Davis another track man who could surprise on the road.

Alan Stonex

A mainly Waikato team comprising of Geraghty, Matich,Oaks and Love also looked like a formidable challenge. Geraghty, second place last year and King of the Mountains,was in excellent form, and smarting from the insult of not being selected for the Empire squad, certainly came into the race with something to prove, to himself and his many outraged supporters. Matich was a real iron man of racing, so could be dangerous if the tour turned into a grinding match. Both Love, but especially Oaks were having good seasons.

Mate Matich
 Of course whether these any any of the other teams would actually work together was quite another question. It has to be remembered that in New Zealand this was the period of the great individualist.

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