St Leonards character, Maurice Carpenter, is one of the town’s best known racing cyclists.
As far back as 1952 Maurice, at the tender age of 19, recorded over 225 miles in a 12 hour race and took the Hastings & St Leonards Cycling Club record that had stood in the name of J F Mackie since 1935!
He went on to break many records in a long an illustrious career. In the sixty years that intervene since he started racing, 2011 was the first in which he never competed but he put things to right on New Years Day 2012 and rode his faithful ‘barrow’, on which he has broken countless three-wheeler records, in the Southborough Wheelers 10 Mile event at Bethersden. Maurice recorded 37.01, a speed in excess of 16 miles per hour, not bad for an old veteran on a tricycle.
Maurice made his long distance debut in 1952. Riding for the Hastings & St Leonards Cycling Club he recorded 225.63 miles in the Kent Cycling Association event, adding more than half a mile to J.F.Mackie’s 1935 Club Record.
He went on to take numerous records, both on two wheels and three. He also broke tandem and tandem trike records with his wife Esther, who was herself an individual long distance rider of national repute.
Maurice still races occasionally now but is better known in Kent and Sussex cycling circles as a ‘super marshal’, standing on cold dark corners in the early hours guiding riders safely on their way as they endeavour to set even lower times and longer distances in racing.
Esther is now one of the best event organisers in the country. Her organisation of the KCA 12 Hour event over the past 26 years is legendary but her most outstanding contribution to cycling to date was her handling of the National 24 Hour Championship, run on Sussex roads in 2011.
It was an amazing feat of almost military precision organising over one hundred marshals and officials to guide riders over East and West Sussex highways through day and night. Her efforts were so successful she was pressed into doing it all over again in 2014.
Updated from an article in Hastings Town in 2012
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