With the news that this year’s British cyclo-cross national championship has been postponed due to snow and ice, we thought we’d delve into the Cycling Weekly archives to see what happened to the same event in 1963.

Why 1963? That year Britain was gripped by ‘The Great Freeze’, a sustained cold period that stretched from Christmas 1962 and into the following March. The River Thames froze over in London – always that historical marker of how much ‘colder it was in the old days’.

There were thick snowfalls all over the country, which promptly solidifed into ice as the mercury stubbornly refused to rise up the nation’s thermometers.

None of which stopped Britain’s finest cyclo-cross racers from turning up at Harlow to don uncomfortably short shorts and take part in the race.

It didn’t stop the crowds turning out either, the photos accompanying the report show a large number of spectators watching the event.

Mick Stallard – son of 1934 world champion Percy Stallard – took the honours in the snow-bound course, and netted himself the princely sum of £20 in the process.

The 2010 cyclo-cross championship is now scheduled to take place at Sutton Park, Birmingham, on February 6-7.

You can read more about the 1963 cyclo-cross championships in next week’s issue of Cycling Weekly magazine.

Cycling & Moped February 6 1963 cover

Mick Stallard adorns the cover of the February 6, 1963, issue of Cycling & Mopeds, the forerunner of today’s Cycling Weekly magazine

Related links

National ‘cross champs postponed

  • Rhodri

    Nor did it stop Eugene Christophe in the Milan-San Remo…

  • Old Hedgey

    Cyclo-Cross! Softies, the lot of ’em in my day we used to get up in the morning half an hour before we went to bed at night just to swim lake with bikes on backs, climb barbed wire fence into field, chase after t’bull to practicesprint start…..(yawn, yawn bore bore etc…….)

  • Laura Stone

    To all cyclo-crossers out there, if you fancy taking on riding in the snow then have a look at our Northern Exposure bike ride – pedalling from Tromso to Arctic Norway in March. And it’s only 3 degrees colder there at the moment than in London!

  • Graham Galpin

    remember watching the nationals at Crystal Palace in the early 70s when 3 had broken away at the first style. The rest of the field reached the style together and carnage ensured as the first two riders got a bar hook entangled in a wheel. they played tug-of-war as the rest of the field crawled over a high chain link fence to get round them.

    All this happened just after the Pathe News crew (yes it was that long ago) had just left the scene. It was as tragic as it was hilarious, however one could not laugh with 50 or so irate cyclo-crossers already very cyclo-cross indeed.