CYCLING: Rugby Velo pay tribute to driving force Tony Haigh

Tony Haigh, far right, with the Rugby Velo team in 1960
Tony Haigh, far right, with the Rugby Velo team in 1960

Dedicated Tony, 88, was still updating records even in his last days

Tony Haigh (far right in the suit) in 1960 with the Rugby Velo team who were soon to race in a cyclo-cross event at Newbold Quarry. With him are (back row): Danny Daynes, Pete Moore (at whose house the picture was taken), Baz Lack, a lad from Kilsby?, John Morris. (Front): John Godding, David Griffiths, George Halls and Dick Cottingham

Tony Haigh, who was present at the inaugural meeting of the Rugby Velo Club, way back on January 5th 1953, has died aged 88.

Acting as Club Secretary, he became the driving force behind the growth of the club to be one of the foremost amateur road racing clubs in the country.

Tony, himself a very keen road rider, had a year or two earlier won a 100+ mile race from a field including a number of international teams, which finished in High Street, Burford. Tony recalled how he ‘took a flier’ over the then narrow river bridge, entering the town from Chipping Norton, and just held on to take an unexpected win.

As a senior sales engineer at the then huge BTH Works, his organisational skills saw him keep meticulous records of all the club’s activities, members and their results.

Teams were entered in many major events and, over the years, a number of riders progressed to represent Great Britain or regional teams and to win national championships.

Notable among the many riders he guided and encouraged were: Ron Woodhouse (winner of the Welsh National Trophy in 1955) and later George Halls and Jim Ridler, who both rode for GB Teams abroad.

For many, many years, Tony organised the Club Runs and the club’s weekly time trials also acting as timekeeper and was always in demand by other road race organisers to officiate as a finish line judge or commissaire.

Tony, who also had a keen interest in the Rugby Lions, maintained a high level of fitness into his 80s, thinking nothing of 50-mile plus rides and, despite his developing a form of throat cancer, was still riding quite well in May of this year.

Eventually, the illness took a final hold, but even in his last days he was still up dating his records with the latest results of the Velo riders.

We will all long remember the amazing support, time and encouragement he gave to so many and the Rugby Velo Club still carries on achieving excellent results and has an enthusiastic membership.