Ron “Jock” Jowers and friends from the Fifties

Ron Jowers has sent these old photos to Johnny Brackstone and I think they are worth sharing.  I believe that Ron started in the Ealing CC then moved to the West London RC and later to the Twickenham CC. In the late fifties he was a top tester and was unfortunate to have Bryan Wiltcher to contend with.

Photo no.1  The bunch on Western Avenue (A40) in 1951. Ron Jowers, in white cap left foreground, won. Others include Ron Loveday and Cliff Thayer.

Photo no.2 Tour of Chilterns, the winning break of Brian Robinson, Ron Jowers and Fred Krebs. Ron says it is 1952 but Gino Goddard insists it is 1953. Robinson and Krebs both rode with the Hercules team in the 1955 Tour de France.

Photo no 3 Ealing CC Dinner and dance at Northfields 1950. Front centre is John Morris currently of the Pickwick club. Ron Jowers is in the second row side on to the camera.

Photo no.4 The break again on the Western Avenue this time in 1950. Ron Jowers (winner) is in second place.

Another photo of Big Ron, this time on a tandem.

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31 Comments »

  1. albert borsberry said

    hi ron, have just found your site. would be great to be in touch with you johnny brackstone and others. we had some good times with the west london road club. I have some old photos of the Tour of the Chilterns,about 1950 i think, also of the tour of the medway valley,that johnny won in his usual sprint finish. i hope you are as well as can be expected, if you can put me in touch with johnny and others it would be great. do you remember alan lancaster and bob potts. also a bit earlier jack williams. hope to hear from you, albert monks hill 86
    Hi Albert, This blog is not run by Jock. The blogmaster, greenjersey, is a friend of Johnny Brackstone indeed I had a cup of tea with him today. As always he was banging on about the old days, in particular why he didn’t get a mention in the history of the West 12 club. I wondered if he had done a runner with the club funds but he denied that was true.
    Jock corresponds with Bracky which is how I came by the photos. On the blog you will find a photo of Bracky winning a race in Kent which may be the one you refer to. regards greenjersey

  2. smedis said

    Must be 1953 Tour of Chilterns which Krebs won. Neither he nor Robinson were in 1952 event which was won by Stan Jones (BSA) with Ian Steel (Viking) 2nd and Les Scales (3rd). I have the 1952 race programme.
    Thanks for the info. What about the Frejus riders on the Pic of the Day, any idea who they are?

  3. Peter Bedingfield said

    For some reason I thought Ron raced for Clarence Wheelers ??
    I am fairly certain that he did but I can’t turn up any evidence. His record and championship rides were for the Twickenham CC between 1955 and 1957.

    • Anonymous said

      Apparently he used to ride out with the Clarence Wheelers but was not a member. He used to ride out with the Gambrills as well.

      • Peter Bedingfield said

        Thanks anonymous!
        Robin Gambrill is still biking down under.

  4. smedis said

    In 1952 Ron Jowers was racing for the Ealing C C including the 1952 Tour of the Chilterns. Brian Wiltcher was no stranger to him as Bryan also raced for British League of Racing Cyclists’ clubs, initially Croydon RC (originally Southern Coureurs), then Polhill RC and subsequently Zeus RC.

    • Peter Bedingfield said

      Is Ron Jowers still going? If so must be in his 80’s now.
      I have never met Ron but I do get a postcard from him occasionally when he is “on tour” in the UK and in Feb.2010 he sent a postcard from Gran Canaria where he was on four weeks holiday! I have not heard from him since then and I hope he is still going strong.

      • Peter Bedingfield said

        Ah ha! Some evidence of Clarence Wheelers in the array of his clubs. His pic is further down this page:
        http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/time-trials.html
        Twickenham, Ealing, Clarence, what others?

        b-t-w if this tandem is still in existence I’d be keen to take it on, steadily building a collection of the works of FH Carpenter
        Thanks for the link Peter. I heard that Ron lived on a house or canal boat for a spell so I guess he wouldn’t have had much space to stock old tandem frames.

      • Steve Guy said

        Hi To anybody that would be interested I met ron yesteday evening in blandford forum dorset.
        He had made his way from bristol and now on his way to Bournemouth on his bike,he was 80 last month and not been in the best of health, but his wheels are still turning!

  5. Peter Bedingfield said

    Laugh! I’ll look out for a canalboat with an old frame being used as a clothes horse…. a Brooks saddle fixed near the tiller….. old tubs dangling over the side as buffers.

  6. Mike Faulkner said

    I have a recollection that Ron Jowers broke the 30 mile comp record while riding for the Clarence Wheelers. Those were the days…The Gambrill brothers, Alan Killick, Alan Jacobs..what are they all doing now?
    Ron did take the 30 mile comp. record with 1hr 7min 30sec in 1955 but at the time he was riding for the Twickenham CC. I believe he was on 90 inch fixed which at the time seemed a massive gear. Now you read about non-racers “spinning out” on 53×11!!

  7. Peter Bedingfield said

    Mike Gambrill died on Jan 11
    His passing seemed to go unmarked. Maybe we could do something?
    His career butted up to the arrival of Tom Simpson, whom he defeated in the final of the ’56 pursuit champs after Tom beat Norman Sheil in the semis.
    Not a rider that I know much about although I know he rode the team pursuit at the Melbourne Olympics where the GB team beat South Africa in the ride off for the bronze medal. They did 4 min 42 sec which doesn’t look too good against Boardman’s solo time of 4 min 11 sec!

    • Mike got a mention at the Royal Albert Hall on 29th of May this year – Surrey celebrating the olympics, there was a presentation about cycling in the county. As they surmised in the presentation, his drinking buddies in ‘The Bell’ will raise a glass to him as the race passes nearby 🙂

  8. Mike Faulkner said

    It was sad to read of Mike’s passing. I knew him well.
    We both worked in London in the fifties, and rode home together after work.
    When I say “together”, it was really a case of me trying to hold onto his back wheel while threading our way through the rush-hour traffic. He was hard man on the bike, but very personable off it. I last saw picture of him at a gathering of former British Olympians taken in 2008. He did not look in the best of health.
    Vale Mike

  9. Peter Bedingfield said

    A 19 year old Tom Simpson was also in that Melbourne bronze winning team. OK not a startling time by present day standards but positions weren’t aero, bikes also, and more than anything the tracks were slower. Try a 4-40 at Herne!

  10. Peter Bedingfield said

    Some little snippets about MG:

    He was national 4000m pursuit champ in ’55 or 56
    He won the National 25m t/t champs in 1956, clocking 57:33
    He won that bronze in Melbourne, 4000m team pursuit
    He was in Clarence Wh winning team in ’57 and ’58 (with his brother)
    With Norman Sheil he won the Dresden Madison in ’59, 40k in 51:41

    Not a bad record really, class act I’d say. But didn’t switch over to join the league, probably having too much fun with his specialities.
    Today I was speaking to “Barbara” (sorry can’t remember her surname) who worked occasionally on a Saturday in Carpenters bike shop. She remembers Mike gambrill and his brother Robin very well.

    • Peter Bedingfield said

      As I’ve become unnaturally obsessed with restoring and pretending to race Carpenters (4 now) I’d love to get in touch with ” Barbara”. tho’s never have met her myself.

  11. Mike Faulkner said

    An Aussie pursuiter has just ridden the 4000 metres in just over 4 mins, breaking Chris Boardman’s old record. He is also the Aussie road race champion!
    Apparently, the Aussies plan to clean-up the track and road medals in London next year!
    Here are the fastest ever 4000m pursuit times. Boardman was, of course, using the now banned “Superman” position. Both Bobridge and Taylor Phinney seem like the real deal. Phinney has twice won the “amateur” Paris-Roubaix.

    4-10.534 World record
    Jack Bobridge (Australia)
    Sydney, Australian National Track Championships 2011

    
4-11.114*
    
Chris Boardman (Great Britain)
    
Manchester, World Championships final 1996



    4-13.353*

    Chris Boardman (Great Britain)
    
Manchester, World Championships 1996


    4-13.399
    Rohan Dennis (Australia)
    Sydney, Australian National Track Championships 2011

    4-14-427
    Jack Bobridge (Australia)
    Adelaide, Australian National Track Championships qualifying 2010

    4-14.845
    Jack Bobridge (Australia) Commonwealth Games record
    Delhi, Commonwealth Games qualifying, Oct 5, 2010

    4-15.015

    Geraint Thomas (Great Britain)

    Manchester, World Cup, October 2009

    

4-15.031
    
Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain)

    Beijing, Olympic Games qualifying, August 2008



    4-15.160
    
Taylor Phinney (USA)
    
Pruszkow, Poland, World Championships, March 2009



  12. Mike Faulkner said

    I’ve found out that Robin Gambrill emigrated to New Zealand in the sixties.
    Not Christchurch I trust.

  13. Will said

    Ron just visited us here in Bristol (at The Triathlon Shop)!! So for those above asking if he is still going, thats a yes, very much so. Very nice chap, introduced himself and was telling us stories about the old days. He was inquiring about a former team mate by the name of Ian Steel, if anyone has any further information about him, please get in touch via contact@thetriathlon.co.uk with ‘History’ in the subject heading.
    Great to hear that Ron is still going strong. Ian Steel is a Scot who was a great rider in the early fifties. He won the 1951 Tour of Britain and The 1952 Peace Race. This was a 1400 mile two week stage race held between Berlin, Warsaw and Prague. This really was an amazing performance as it was usually an Eastern European benefit.
    I seem to recall that ian latterly suffered from throat cancer but if I got that wrong please forgive me. I understand that he still lives in Scotland.

  14. Kate Buttler said

    I would like to get in contact with Ron Jowers to bring to his attention a tribute ride by Alan Buttler & Geoff Wiles. In April/May this year they are riding the 1955 Peace Race route in rememberence of Alan’s dad Alf. Ron was a member of the1955 England team together with Stan Brittain, John Pound, Owen Blower, Bill Baty & Ray Booty

    Read all about it here http://www.pbw2012.cc/
    or contact Alan – alan.buttler@gmail.com

    Hi Kate, I know Ron still rides his bike but at 80 plus he is probably not up to riding W-B-P!
    I see that your Dad went on a few trips with my late clubmate Bill Bradley. I recall Bill did some good rides in canada towards the end of his career when he was an Indy. greenjersey

  15. Aimee said

    Ronald Jowers is still alive and kicking though his health is not too good. He lives in Bristol and was telling me his stories of his days as a cyclist today at my work and it was a real pleasure to hear them. I believe he will be back in again soon so I can’t wait to here some more. He is now 83 years old and due to his health he isn’t attending any events etc though it appears he wishes he could. I’m sure if anyone is interested in talking with him I can try to pass on contact details next time he comes in and maybe he will contact you back.
    Good to hear that Ron is still getting about and re-living the old days (like all us old cyclists). I have his address. Thanks for posting Aimee.

  16. Alan Jacob said

    The photo of Ron piloting a tandem was from 1959 with myself, Alan Jacob, as stoker. If memory serves the shot was taken during a 30 mile time trial which I think we won. This was the period of time when Ron was riding with the Clarence Whs. I last spoke to Ron on the telephone earlier this year (2014)

  17. For your information, sad to say that Ron Jowers died on February 2nd in Bristol. His funeral will be on Wednesday 11th March.
    Hi Laurie, Thanks for passing on the sad news. It seems a long time between Ron’s death and his funeral, was there some mystery about his passing? Every time I drove through Bristol on the M4 on the way to visit my in-laws at Padstow, Cornwall I would think I should really stop and visit Ron as I had never met him. Well it is too late now.

  18. Hi. The delay was due to certain complications requiring an inquest. He has now been buried in South Bristol Cemetery, overlooking Clifton Suspension Bridge. I understand that Ron even cycled into hospital for his final visit. Regards, Laurie

  19. Peter Beddingfield, above, said that Tom Simpson was 19 years old at the 1956 Olympics. He was born in 30 Nov 1937, so was only 18 at the time, amazing. I also read that Ian Steel died a couple of weeks or so ago. I never met him but he was President of the Rugby Velo Club (my club) for many years.

  20. Bill Baty, Tyne Velo died on 06/12/2015. He often talked about Ron Jowers, also the Peace Race with Johnny Pound & Stan Brittain. Great days and great riders.

  21. Wayne Jowers said

    Ron Jowers passed away two months ago and his twin brother, my father, passed away two weeks ago. They were both born on 5 july 1932 as I have noted that it’s unclear of his D.O.B

    Dear Wayne, sorry to learn of your loss. Your uncle was a great racing cyclist and also quite a character. When I started cycling in Lancashire in 1958 Ron was my first “hero” and when I moved to West London in 1978 I loved to hear tails of his exploits from those who knew him.

  22. Wayne Jowers said

    Ron had a twin brother who was my father. They were both born on the 5th july 1932. My dad also died 2 weeks ago so they died within 2 months of each other…

  23. Thank you for your interest in my brother. Yes I still ride my bike two or three times a week here in New Zealand,not far or fast these days though. Ron Jowers did ride for the Clarence at one stage.I left the UK in 1962 for Canada. Six years later I moved to New Zealand,where I still live. It is a wonderful part of the planet.Robin Gambrel.
    Thanks for getting in touch Robin and great to hear you are still getting the miles in. greenjersey

  24. David Drayton said

    I would love to know anything about Alan Killick, we were at school together

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