Roy Manser Dies – He Raced at Rye Sports

Roy Manser, well known racing cyclist from the San Fairy Ann Cycling Club, who raced at Rye Sports in the 1950’s has died. He became ill when out  with his club on Wednesday 5 May and died shortly after. He has left friends all over the South East mourning the passing of one of Kent’s best known racing cyclists.

Roy Manser, who won National, Kent and Club championship honours through the years, honoured Rye Wheelers when he came to their Club Dinner in 2006 and made a speech and presented prizes.

Mr Manser’s funeral will be at Vinters Park Crematorium, Bearsted Road, Maidstone, on Monday, August 24, at 10.15am.

Family flowers only. Donations to the British Heart Foundation through Sears Funeral Directors on 01622 725035.

Mark Vowells compiled this piece about him which was included in the Rye Wheelers Year Book for 2006

Roy joined the San Fairy Ann CC in 1948, first meeting the Sunday club run at Herne Bay, after riding there with a friend, and he joined soon after this. Roy enjoyed a mixture of long club runs and racing in his early years as a club member. One memorable ride each year was the club run to watch the Bath Road ‘100’. The late Frank Ford would lead a group of mainly young riders from Maidstone, through London to beyond Reading, where they would watch the riders finish, before riding another 90 miles home! Few cyclists had cars in those days, and Roy and other club mates would often travel to events at Chilham and other local courses on the back of a lorry driven by Roy’s father, who owned a transport company. In the mid-195 0s Roy was posted to Egypt for National Service, where he continued his cycling by riding with the Exiles CC, and he still enjoys regular reunions with this group even to this day. Before going to Egypt, Roy built his first tandem, constructed from two solo frames joined by a ‘bedstead’, and on this machine began riding tandem time trials with club mate Laurie Broad. The pair have enjoyed a very successful partnership over the years, once beating Graeme Obree and his partner in a tandem event. Roy and Laurie still ride together and just missed their National VTTA age record for 10

Roy Manser
Roy Manser

miles last season. Roy has since gone on to make many cycle frames, and most of his rides have been done on frames he built himself. Roy first came to national prominence in racing in 1958, taking 5th place in the National ’25’. The following season he took his first win in the Kent CA Senior BAR, a championship he would go on to win on three further occasions in the 1960s. Roy then entered a purple patch over the next few seasons, taking 6th place in the British Best All rounder competition in 1962, and thirteenth place in this competition two years later. His qualifying ‘100’ in 1962 was recorded in the Bath Road ‘100’ where, as first man off, he started in the dark! Two years later Roy’s qualifying ’50’ was 1-52-35 on the Boroughbridge course in Yorkshire, the fourth fastest ’50’ ever recorded at that time. Sandwiched between these rides came arguably Roy’s best ever individual racing performance, when he won the 1963 Southern Counties CU Roadman’s ’25’, a bunched event at Herne Hill track, in a time of 55-11. Those beaten on the night included Dave Bonner, Bob Addy, Brian Kirby and Jim Hinds, and such was the pace that only five riders from a large field actually completed the event. By the end of the 1960s Roy held nearly every San Fairy Ann club record, and his personal bests were 10 miles 22-30, 25 miles 56-03, 30 miles 1-9-46, 50 miles 1-52-35, 100 miles 4-9-26, and 259.8 miles for 12 hours. However, he has always been adept at all forms of racing, and also has many road race and grass track wins to his name, including grass performances at Faversham, Canterbury and Rye. In the 1970s Roy curtailed his racing for a few years, whilst building up his civil engineering business, but he remained actively involved with the club, before returning to racing as a Vet in 1977, aged 43. He quickly picked up his racing from where he had left off nearly ten years earlier, once more mixing his events, and improving nearly all his time trial personal bests. These include the ’10’ 20-58, ’25’ 52-48, ’50’ 1-50-48, and the ‘100’ 4-2-09. It is a little known fact that immediately before his personal best 10 at Tonbridge, Roy had ridden the preceding tandem event with Roly Crayford, the pair producing a winning 19 minute time. All these rides were achieved before the advent of tri-bars, disc wheels, and other modern innovations, but Roy has always embraced modern technology, and the frames he continues to build for himself and others are of the most modern designs. Shortly after the trend for more aerodynamic equipment began, Roy broke the national tandem 10 miles record in 1989 with Anthony Wallis (Festival RC), the pair recording 18-19. Roy has also recorded many national Vets age records over the past twenty years, as well as many placings in Vets national championships and wins in Kent VTTA Group Championships. On the track he was LVRC National Champion in 2002, and over the last ten years, and despite some health problems, Roy has won four silver and one bronze medal at the World’s Masters Track Championships in Manchester. Roy is a life member of the San Fairy Ann, and has held many official club posts, including President, Road Race Secretary, open 10, 50 and road race promoter, Sunday Runs Captain, Off Road Secretary, club coach and general committee member. He is also a CTT course measurer and has served on the committees of the Kent CA and Kent BCF. Roy’s wife Pam is also a life-long cyclist, and won the club and Kent CA Ladies Championship many times during her own racing career. Roy’s modest and unassuming manner tend to disguise his many successes on the bike. But his achievements are known well beyond our immediate area, so much so that San Fairy Ann members who meet other cyclists anywhere around the UK are often asked how Roy is keeping these days. He still enjoys occasional time trials, and recorded a 24 minute 10 as recently as last July. However, these days you are more likely to see Roy on a mountain bike, leading a group of the club’s riders along a quiet bridle path or track, somewhere in the Weald. Written by Mark Vowells Photo’s by Don Bardoe

“Rye’s Own” Bulletin 12 August 2015

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