National Hill-climb Championships
October 18, 1953
It had been a 75-mile trip for young Pat Boyd to the start line of the 1953 National Hill-climb Championships at the base of Winnats Pass in Derbyshire.
The Birkenhead CC rider appears to have enjoyed the race judging from this image — and well he might as the 20-yearold’s performance was the surprise of the day, taking third place behind seasoned hill-climbers Roy Keighley (Shipley RC) and Ron Stringwell (Bramley Wheelers).
Boyd had suffered a string of untimely punctures during that year’s road racing season and so was probably pleased that luck shone on him that day and he was able to show what he could do.
Indeed, his bad luck may have been passed on to the day’s timekeeper, Mr Holmes, who nearly didn’t make it to the start line. Holmes’s car had broken down and he was fortunate to get a lift from a passing friend.
But Holmes was there with his stopwatch when Boyd topped the time sheets with a mark of 3.56. Boyd sat at the top of the leaderboard for an hour and a half before Keighley bested him with a 3.43 with, as Cycling reported, “the great performance of his three-year career”. That was despite a headwind, which presumably is why the spectators needed such massive coats.
Stringwell was off last, having won the Upperthorpe CC event on the pass the previous year, but he couldn’t recreate his 3.36 ride to take the title and had to settle for second place.