It was an event unlike any the country had seen before. Thousands jostled for position outside the park, cheering wildly as they caught a fleeting glimpse of the spectacle. Albert Price from Wolverhampton takes first place ahead of fellow Wulfrunian Cecil Anslow in the ground-breaking Llangollen-to-Wolverhampton road race organised by Percy Stallard 80 years ago. Picture supplied by Shrewsbury cycling historian Jim Leach. Eighty years ago this week, Wolverhampton hosted the finale of Britain’s first cycle race to be held legally on Britain’s roads, after a course that wound its way through Mid Wales and Shropshire. And for a country still in the depths of war, it was just the tonic the people needed.
"It was probably the biggest landmark race in British history," says Dave Dungar, of the Wolverhampton Society.
The event began in the Welsh border town of Llangollen and wound its way through Shropshire, before finishing in Wolverhampton’s West Park – which will be the start and finish point of the cycling time trials in the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.
For Dave, the 1942 race has a very personal significance – second place was taken by Cecil James Anslow, the man who would become his stepfather. Percy Stallard, left, pictured in the 1940s "He tried to get me into cycling when I was a teenager, he bought me a bike, but I was never really interested," says Dave, 68, who lives in Pattingham.
"He was always at his happiest when he was outdoors on his bike."
Legend has it that Anslow would […]