master of cer­e­monies

The re­cip­i­ent of our Lo­cal Hero Award, spon­sored by Free­wheel, has put in over 50 years or­gan­is­ing races

Cycling Weekly - - CW AWARDS -

Or­gan­is­ing this year’s Road Race Na­tional Cham­pi­onships was the lat­est of a long list of achieve­ments from our 2018 Lo­cal Hero, Peter Har­ri­son.

“My mantra has al­ways been to put back in the sport more than you take out, so I was very proud, hum­bled and hon­oured to have been awarded this,” Har­ri­son told us. “It’s the first time I’ve been ner­vous go­ing on stage — when my photo came up I thought, this is get­ting real!”

Har­ri­son’s life in cy­cling dates back to the early 1960s when he joined Gos­forth Road Club, aged 14.

“I’d be play­ing rugby on a Satur­day and there was not much to do on a Sun­day and it just seemed like a good idea to join this club. There were prob­a­bly six or seven of us who joined the Gos­forth at the same time. The north-east of Eng­land was a very strong re­gion and we started to go out and train and ride with them.”

Now the club chair­man, at one point he was the only mem­ber. “Ev­ery­one else had gone to other clubs and I thought, ‘Balls to this, I’m not go­ing to let this die!’”

He be­gan help­ing or­gan­ise races in his 20s, de­spite con­tin­u­ing a com­pet­i­tive road and track ca­reer which saw him claim his first-cat­e­gory li­cence, and by the time he hung up his race wheels his passion for or­gan­is­ing was in full flow.

He or­gan­ised his first pro race in 1986 at the re­quest of South Ty­ne­side Coun­cil, af­ter al­ready be­ing in charge of the Beau­mont Tro­phy for some years. He took that up to UCI level, has staged the Road Race Na­tional Cham­pi­onships twice, and in the 2000s added recre­ational events in the form of the Cy­clone Fes­ti­val of Cy­cling.

“I had some great tu­tors who taught me the craft of putting on a pro­fes­sional race where ev­ery­thing was right and I’ve tried to carry that for­ward.”

“I don’t know,” he sighs when asked why he does it. “I en­joy the chal­lenge of or­gan­is­ing.”

It’s not just races. Har­ri­son has sat on nu­mer­ous na­tional and lo­cal com­mit­tees, helped cre­ate the Cytech me­chan­ics’ qual­i­fi­ca­tion, worked for Shi­mano, been a tech­ni­cal con­sul­tant for Team GB, owned bike shops and is a com­mis­saire.

What­ever his mo­ti­va­tion, it’s clear that with­out peo­ple like Peter Har­ri­son, our other nom­i­nees and oth­ers like them, Bri­tish cy­cling wouldn’t be what it is to­day.

“Put back in the sport more than you take out”

Peter Har­ri­son (cen­tre) re­ceives his award from sir Bradley wig­gins

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