Memory Lane: Witham Wheelers’ race drew crowds in 1983

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A regular sporting occasion on the streets of Grantham was Witham Wheelers’ criterium cycling races.

Snapped by Grantham Journal photographer Pete Dean at the time, this shot of riders awaiting the mass start in Westgate, was taken at the beginning of October 1983. The main race was won by Mark Walsham, of Chesterfield Coureurs.

He broke away from the leading group of riders when the race was little more than half way, and soon built up a lead of half a minute over the rest of the field to win the £50 first prize with ease. Walsham later went on to become a successful professional rider.

Witham Wheeler Stuart Wilkinson and Julian Tasker (Tridentum CRC) contested the junior event and were amongst a leading group of six throughout, although Wilkinson was unfortunate to crash with just one lap remaining.

On the day youngsters also marvelled at an expert BMX exponent in a ramp display prior to the racing outside the old Cameo Cameras shop in Narrow Westgate.

During the race, Witham Wheeler Anthony Conneely receives treatment from St John’s Ambulance medics after he suffered a tumble. Witham Wheeler Stuart Wilkinson’s brave bid for victory came to an end, but he brushed himself down and went on to finish seventh on a borrowed bike.