CECIL WALKER

Article taken from excerpts:

‘Australs and Legends’ by Theo van Kalleveen

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The Yanks were not the only ones to bolster Australian cycling. Cecil Walker, the all-round champion of America, played a part in a bonanza of splendid bike-racing during the mid 1920s.

During the late Twenties, Cecil Walker, the boy from Marrickville, reigned as the undisputed King of Cycling in all-round

competitions in America.

He returned to Australia on a number of occasions for relatively brief visits. He spent more time racing in his hometown of Sydney, rather than Melbourne, as his contract required him to ride there.

Like his contemporaries, he spent his best years in the States collecting Titles.

Young Cecil, being the son of a grocer, helped with deliveries on his bike. He has lost interest in his pony after he had been thrown in front of his mates. He joined the Marrickville Cycling Club instead. At his first race, the handicapper showed no mercy and placed him on 70 yards. Coming to the first turn, Cecil came down in a heap with both tyres off the rims. Walker had not realised he should have glued them on.

In his first open road handicap race over 24 miles, he won a new racing bike. Walker started off eight minutes and caught the leaders just before the sprint home. He dashed past them to beat everybody to the line. The youngster went on to win the Inter Club Championship on his new bike.

During the 1918-19 track season, an upsurge in cycling quickly got under way in Sydney. Young Cecil started his professional career in a Sydney Six Day race partnered by Papworth. Six Day racing would never be Walker’s strength. He had too much talent as a sprinter to allow the ‘long grinds’ to blunt his speed.

By the end of the 1924 American track season, the Australian had claimed the all-round Title and came second in the Sprint Championship. He went on to wind another eight Titles and became the first rider to hold both sprint and all-round crowns during the same season. By now Walker had earned the Title of Greatest All-Round Cyclist in the World.

In 1937, Walker returned to Australia to win the World Derby at the Exhibition Board Track.

After 25 years, Walker still rode off scratch at the age of 40. Since his retirement, some rated Cecil as the best Australian track cyclist ever.

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On the Melbourne Board Track in 1936

L-R: B Monk, D Toseland, W Goode, F Duelberg,

M Russ, G Pye, Ritter and Cecil Walker.

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Published in: on March 29, 2011 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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