WELCOME news for Britain's road-racing cyclists is the recently published news that two, at least, of the season's major competitions will be sponsored from 1975.
Following the visit by a British delegation to the recent Pernod prize presentation in Paris, it has been announced that Messrs. J. R. Parkington, who market Pernod in the United Kingdom, are to take over sponsorship of both the Golden Wheel and the Star Trophy.
The former presents no difficulty as its arrangement is in the hands of one man who has always been ready to negotiate for any deal which will help the riders on whose behalf he works. The Star Trophy is more difficult in that its organisation depends upon a committee whose views do not coincide exactly with those of the Pernod people. Happily, a compromise has been reached for 1975, and we are convinced that a major advance can be made in subsequent years. To co-ordinate these competitions, a small committee has been suggested and an independent secretary of this committee is a must: we hope that the name of the secretary will be announced shortly, and we feel that one candidate is eminently suitable for this post.
With the professionals and the senior amateurs provided for, this leaves only the juniors, and there is hope here, too, for negotiations are still taking place with a major sponsor to have the Peter Buckley Trophy sponsored from 1975. In this case a co-ordinator has already been approached and has accepted, and we hope that the same man can have his responsibilities extended.
These developments have come too late to be included on the agenda of the B.C.F. National Council, but no doubt delegates present will be discussing them privately, in between debating the more formal parts of the agenda.
Always one of the most serious items is the election of officials, and here we hope that election is on merit. When one is voting for the officials who will be conducting our sport for the next three years, one should be aware of the issues involved: a vote should never reflect geographical interest, nor should it be a return for services rendered. Least of all should it be a tribute to past glories, for, although there are many champion cyclists of the past who would make admirable committee members, this is pure coincidence. The best member of a committee is he who is versed in committee procedure, who takes the trouble to prepare his case thoroughly, and who has the skill to present it convincingly. We hope that the candidates elected are those who embody most of these qualities.
1974 has not been a golden year for British cycling by any means, but we believe that our fortunes have reached their lowest ebb, and that the tide will now begin to turn. Top officials are displaying their integrity, sponsors are displaying their generosity and the average clubman is displaying his genuine concern. All this is good for the sport. It remains now for the riders to display their qualities - which must include a greater degree of loyalty than has been apparent in recent years — and we shall surely begin to ride the tide to increasing fortune. It we fail to seize this favourable current, there is a great danger that, like Barkis, we shall go out with the tide.