Swinnerton Cycles was founded by Roy’s mother and father in 1915, living above the shop; 69 Victoria Road. Remarkably, it remains at the same address today, more than 95 years on. Roy’s mother and father retired in 1954 when Roy and Doris decided to take the shop on, knowing as they did that the motor car was likely to grow in popularity. Buying the stock for £100, they moved in above the shop in 1958, which became the family home as well as their place of work. Roy worked part time at the shop in those days, with Doris taking up the mantel working full time until Roy gave up his full time job as general manager from a local engineering company in 1970. They acquired numbers 71, 67 and finally 73 Victoria Road which is what we all know as Swinnerton Cycles. After 36 years working together, 7 children, 22 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren, they retired and passed the baton on to the next generation.
Roy started his club cycling career with The St. Christopher’s back in 1939, Doris shortly afterwards in 1944. They married in 1950, the same year Doris was elected club president. Doris also participated in the formation of the Lyme Racing Club and elected president in 1956.
In the 1960’s, both Roy and Doris helped with the formation of the Newcastle Track Association. They helped Nolen Burgess in forming the North Staffordshire Cycling Association which bought all clubs together under one umbrella. Sadly, the NSCA does not exist today, although many think it should be resurrected.
In 1970, Roy and Doris were asked if they would be prepared to run a cycling section for the City of Stoke Athletic Club. Stoke ACCS was formed and became one of the most successful clubs (back then, there was a least 15). Stoke AC can boast members competing in Tour De France, The Ladies Tour De France, World Championships, National Championships (both Road and Track) and many divisional championships competing in many countries of the world; Germany (both east and west), Holland, France, Czechoslovakia, Canada, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Norway and even Palestine to name but a few.
Roy was certainly no slouch when it came to cycling, being prolific and almost unbeatable on the track (many of the beautiful trophies won by Roy are on display in the shop). Among them are the Michelin Perpetual Trophy, the Brooks Bowl, the BSA Trophy and the Granta Trophy. He also led the way in the long tally of national championship gold medals, being the first to collect the National Half Mile Grass Championship at the Michelin Sports in the 1950’s.
Bernadette Swinnerton - Won silver in the 1969 World Championship Road Race in Brno, Czechoslovakia and a selection of Golds in the British National Championships, both on the road and track.
Margaret Swinnerton – Won many track and road events, including the ladies star trophy series (twice) and also qualified for the 1984 Olympics. Sadly for some unknown reason, she was never selected. She represented GB in three world road race championships between 1979-1983.
Catherine Swinnerton now Catherine Earley – Rode seven British National Road Race Championships, winning in 1977 and 1984 and never placing below third. Her total of national championship medals, both on the road and track, totals well over thirty.
She rode the first ladies Tour De France, almost winning the final stage in Paris and thus being piped into second place on the line. She competed in many world championships on both the road and track.
She also rode the 1989 Olympic Road Race in America where she met Martin Earley.
Martin Earley – Turned professional in 1985, joining the Fagor Team with whom he stayed until 1987. In 1986, he won the fourteenth stage of the Giro d’Italia. In 1987, he was part of the Irish team at the world Road Race Championship that ended in a win for Stephen Roche. He then rode for Kas and the Dutch PDM team of Sean Kelly. The highlight of his carrier was a stage win in the 1989 Tour De France, when he broke clear of three riders 750m from the end of 157 km stage from Labastide-d Armagnac to Pau. Martin competed in a total of eight Tours. He now practices as a physio in Hilderstone.
Mark Swinnerton – Was the highest place British rider in the 1980 Milk Race. He won the 1980 Pernod Star Trophy and the Essex Grand Pre. He represented Britain on many occasions around the world, Germany, Holland, France and Palestine. He was piped out of third place in the National Cycle Cross Championship.
Bernard Swinnerton – Raced from 1975 to 1988. During this time, Bernard was the divisional Schoolboy Sprint and Pursuit Champion, Junior Sprint Champion, a member of Winning Senior Pursuit Team and twelfth in the National Junior Points Race. On the road he was fourteenth in the National Road Race Championship and competed in star trophy events, also representing GB in Germany.
Frances Swinnerton now Frances Mayer – Competed on the track, road and time trial. She decided to pursue a career in catering and successfully runs her own business “The Secret Kitchen“.
Tony Mayer – Tony was the Junior National Pursuit Champion in 1978/79. He was selected for the 1980 Olympics alongside Paul Swinnerton. Unfortunately, both succumbed to glandular fever and were unable to compete. However, he did recover in time to attend the Junior Worlds, taking bronze in the team pursuit. He qualified eighth in Mexico with a time of 3”30’; a good time even by today’s standards. In 1982, he was second to Dave Lloyd in the National 25. He won silver in the team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane and Gold in the team pursuit at the Oceanic Games. He also won no fewer than fifteen National Championship medals.
Sean Mayer – finished eighth in the National Track Sprint Championships in his first year of racing. In 2012, he finished third in the White Hope Sprint at Hearne Hill.
Paul Swinnerton – Most of us will remember Paul’s dominance of the Newcastle track league; many said he was unbeatable on our track and for the most part, many were right.
One of Paul’s biggest disappointments, as with Tony Mayer, was contracting glandular fever just prior to the 1980 Olympic Games having qualified for The Sprint, Kilo and Team Pursuit. That said, his list of successes is impressive:
1978 - Won over 300 track and road events in one year
1978 - British Best all rounder on the track
1979 - National Kilo Champion
1980 - Entered the Guinness Book of Records having gained the world speed record by riding at 109mph unassisted on rollers
1981 - National Sprint Champion
1983 - National Tandem Sprint Champion partnered with Nigel Bolton
Various years - Competed in the world championships on many occasions
1977 to 1983 - The National Half Mile and National Five Mile Grass Track Champion. This in itself is a record; winning the National Championship four times as not been surpassed with only Dean Downing getting close by winning on three occasions. Unsurprisingly, Paul was now following in the footsteps of is father forty years earlier.
1984 - saw Paul retire from competitive cycling, deciding to take up martial arts; specifically Ju-Jitsu. This saw him competing in the super heavy weight European Champion at age forty and becoming a black belt (first Dan).