Sean Yates

Sean writes…

I lived in Forest Row just down the road from EG and rode a bike quite a bit with my brother Chris (who is a member) and a couple of friends. Back in the mid 70’s there were hardly any cars on the road so we as 12-15 year olds rode down to the South Downs or Cuckmere Haven with no problems. We always ended up having a race or two and generally enjoyed battering each other. Most of the time I won because I was the oldest but even so I fancied myself a bit as a bike rider.

Next move! Write a letter (pen and paper) to Val at EGCC to ask whether I could join. I knew Val had been a great rider. 18th in the Worlds RR one year I believe so was a bit in awe. Anyway the answer was yes and I should come along to a Sunday club run. Meeting point was outside the old cinema at 9am.

I can remember exactly what I wore. I had an old blue tracksuit top. Zip was broken so it was sown up. I had cut out and sown onto the back of the jacket EGCC in quite large letters (we did needlework etc at Michael Hall school were I went) some old school trousers tucked into football socks that were pulled up to my knees and some old school shoes that were falling apart but held together with leather laces. As I recall we went out Reigate Crawley way and I did ok.

Next step was race so I did the evening 10’s out on the Red Barn/king field course. I enjoyed them and did ok and was hooked. That was 77. I think I did a couple of open 10’s but no RR’s. My dad was keen and had plans and could see I was ok so he got me to join the Archer Road Club in 78 and from then on it was flat chat.

I did do a few EGCC club 10’s over the years mostly in the early 80’s some as a 2 up with one of my best friends the late Brian Phillips. Those 2 ups in particular bring back great memories because me and Brian trained a lot together in the summer months as he had long Uni holidays.

Those years in general mid 70s to mid 80’s were the best for riding. Not many cars nobody giving you hassle etc etc.¬†Obviously the club gave me the chance to get started. It was great. I remember cycling up to the club evenings at East Court. Had no lights so got told off by the police a couple of times when riding home. Things were a lot different in those days for sure. I was never a club man type though. I just wanted to race and still do. So had no involvment as such with the club or any clubs.

Of course I am forever grateful for those who run not only the EGCC but all clubs because obviously without them people like me would not be able to race. I remember Mick the timekeeper and John Hutt and Val of course. That’s about it. Anyway all great memories. After the Archer RC in 78 I moved to the 34th Nomads in 79/80 then I went to Paris and the ACBB in 81 then Pro in 82 for Peugeot through to 86. Then 87/88 Fagor then 89 through to 96 7-11/Motorola. In 97/98 I worked as a gardener then in 99 I got into Team Management through to 2016.

I now live in Spain were I ride as much as I can and generally take it easy.¬†I hope to be able to ride for a few more years yet. And actually plan on coming back to the UK this year to ride a couple of TT’s and one goal I have to keep me going is to race the New Years Day 10 in 2028 which would be 50 years since I first rode it although I don’t think I will be winning it this time!!