Sunday, 3 November 2013

Updated: From the archive: World Road Race Championships 1959

Here's another set of pictures from Dad's photo archive. This one contains photos taken at the World Championships in 1959.

The races were held that year on the Circuit Park Zandvoort motor racing circuit, located in the dunes of the North Sea coast of Holland. The circuit took in the racing circuit and then went out to do some extra kilometers around the town of Zandvoort itself.

Dad went to Holland as CRE delegate to the Worlds so wasn't staying with or involved directly with the team. He made his own way there with a friend and booked into a hostel in Amsterdam. They then took a trip out to the team hotel to say hello to manager Billy Stewart and the riders, JJ McCormack, Jim Maguire, Sammy Kerr and Ian Moore.

When they arrived at the hotel they found a battered and bruised team, sorting out damaged equipment, with no sign of Stewart. The story they were told really highlighted the difference between conservative Ireland and cosmopolitan Holland in the late 1950's.

While doing a leisurely recce of the course, the team, accompanied by Stewart on his track bike, was riding along the Zandvoort promenade. As they rode along they spotted something none had never experienced in Ireland - a pretty girl in a bikini!

Almost inevitably there was a distracted touch of wheels and down they went. The riders suffered no more than minor cuts and bruises but Stewart wasn't so lucky. He ended up with pretty severe facial injuries and was taken by ambulance to the Royal Marine Hospital in Haarlem where he needed surgery on his face.

Irish amateur team, Worlds, Zandvoort, 1959
L-to-R: JJ McCormack (Eagle CRC, Dublin), Sammy Kerr (Ballymena RC), Sean Fox (Eagle CRC - Manager),
Ian Moore (Zeus RC, London), Jim Maguire (Windsor CC, Belfast)
As the only other accredited Irish official at the event Dad ended up taking over management of the Irish team. While technically that meant he was overseeing all Irish riders, it's probably fair to say it really meant managing the team for the amateur race. Ireland's sole professional rider, Shay Elliott, had his own arrangements, including his own mechanic and soigneur

World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959
Shay Elliott (IRL) hydrates as his soigneur gets his bike ready.
I haven't been able to track down much detail about the amateur race, apart from that it was won by defending champion, Gustav-Adolf Schur or East Germany. There is no record of any finishers from the Irish team in the published results.

World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959
Shay Elliott (IRL) ready for the off.
World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959
They're off.
However, Shay Elliott did finish the Professional race. He came home in the main bunch, crossing the line in 22nd place, 22 seconds behind a break of 8 riders. The sprint from the break had been won by Elliott's Helyett teammate, André Darrigade of France.
World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959
Shay Elliott (IRL) leads a small break.
Graham Healy recounts a story in his book, Shay Elliott, of how Elliott almost lost his place in the Helyett team over allegations he had taken money before the race to ride for the Belgian, Rik Van Looy. In the end Van Looy finished 16 places behind Elliott in the bunch so it was pretty academic.

World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959
Shay Elliott (IRL) follows Tommy Simpson (GBR)
As before, we've tried to correctly identify the people in the photos but if you spot an error, or you can fill in a blank for us, please do leave a comment. Clicking on a photo will open the set in a gallery.

Amateur RR:

1st Gustav-Adolf Schur (GDR)
2nd Bastiaan Maliepaard (NED)
3rd Constant Goossens (BEL)

Professional RR:

1st André Darrigade (FRA)
2nd Michele Gismondi (ITA)
3rd Noel Fore (BEL)

Women RR:

1st Yvonne Reynders (BEL)
2nd Aina Pouronen (USSR)
3rd Vera Gorbatcheva (USSR)

For the full results, click here.

World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959
1st year pro, Tommy Simpson (GBR) made a name for himself by finishing 4th.

World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959
Shay Elliott (IRL)

World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959
Shay Elliott (IRL) tails defending champion Ercole Baldini (ITA)

World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959
Shay Elliott (IRL)

World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959
The Italian team make their way to the start,

World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959
The French team parade to the start line.


World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959

World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959

Tom Simpson (GBR) follows the eventual winner, Andre Darrigade (FRA),
World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959

Update: since publishing this post I found these photos online, all copyright to the Nationaal Archief Fotocollectie Anefo in the Netherlands. Again, I've tried to caption them but any extra details welcome!

The North Sea came right up to the circuit.

The amateur peloton races through Zandvoort, 1959

The amateur peloton races through Zandvoort, 1959

The amateur peloton races through Zandvoort, 1959

The amateur peloton races through Zandvoort, 1959

Gustav-Adolf Schur (GDR) outsprints Bastiaan Maliepaard (NED) to defend
his World Amateur RR title in a sprint finish, Zandvoort, 1959

Gustav-Adolf Schur (GDR) with his second successive World Amateur RR jersey,
Zandvoort, 1959

World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959

The break, including Tom Simpson (GBR),
World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959

The winning break, World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959
L-to-R: Fischerkeller (GER),  Ronchini (ITA), Simpson (GB), Gismondi (ITA),
Geldermans (NED), Darrigade (FRA), Fore (BEL), Niesten (NED)

A break, including Tom Simpson (GBR),
World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959

Andre Darrigade (FRA), Michele Gismondi (ITA) and Noel Fore (BEL)
on the podium after the World Pro RR, Zandvoort, 1959

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