Friday, May 27, 2022
HomeOtherEditorialBen Abrahams

Ben Abrahams

-

Obituaries, part of the deal if you write about cycling – Peter Post, Jocelyn Lovell, Fedor Den Hertog, Rudi Altig, Raymond Delisle … Check their palmarès, think about when you saw them race when you were a boy then put a piece together. But when it’s someone you knew, liked, laughed with, there’s more to it than that – the randomness of life; one minute a friend is there and happy with a whole life to look forward to, the next, he’s gone. A car crash involving a lorry and Ben Abrahams, and here I am writing this.

Ben Abrahams
Ben was all smiles when he won the Scottish Hill Climb championship. Photo©Ed Hood

I have good memories of the man – calm, polite, cheerful and good company.

But I enlisted his friends and team mates from his Velo Ecosse days to get a broader insight.

Evan Oliphant raced with Ben ‘back in the day’ before the Wick man turned professional.

Ben came up to university in Edinburgh from Somerset and had done a few triathlons, so he started to go out with the Edinburgh ‘chain gang’ where Evan got to know him and suggested he join the Velo Ecosse team.

In those colours Ben would go on to take a bronze medal in the Scottish Road Race Championship, gold in several Scottish Team Time Trial Championships and win the Hill Climb Championship in 2008.

Evan told me that despite the fact that Ben could win the Scottish Hill Climb championship, he was a man that liked his grub.

One of the benchmark runs that team manager used to put his boys on was ‘The Talla’ a tough 100 mile jag around the Scottish Borders over Glen Talla.

Ben used to do that run frequently – but not on a Sunday; his favourite pie shop was shut on a Sunday.

And then there were the runs from Edinburgh to Newcastle and back to see his girlfriend – always with a stop at the burger van on the border…

Ben Abrahams
Ben in action in the 2009 Scottish 10 Mile TT Championships. Photo©Martin Williamson

I also learned from Evan that Ben used to be one of those crazy guys who pilots a ‘pedicab‘ around town.

For those who’ve not seen one, they’re Edinburgh’s answer to rickshaws.

I’m not sure what the deal is now but the last time I spoke to a ‘pilot’ he had to make £90 just to break even – that sum being what the hire of the machine and insurance cost.

I’ve probably sworn at him from the van window as he swerved across to pick up a fare, without knowing who it was.

Evan also explained that sometimes his ‘pedicabbing’ would come straight after a Wednesday afternoon Talla run.

A line on Ben’s palmares which Evan didn’t mention was the ‘Cannonball Cup’ where, on the last chain gang of the year, before the clocks change, all participants chip in a quid and ‘winner takes all’ at the 30 MPH sign.

Ben added this prestigious honour to his successes – no doubt spurred by the contribution the dosh
would make to his always precarious student budget.

In terms of racing he’s perhaps best remembered for his win in the Scottish Hill Climb Championship.

Arthur Doyle was hot favourite but on a ‘roadman’s course’ near Dunning, it was Ben who triumphed, having trained for it on the tough Auchendinny road to a programme set by Gregor.

After he finished university there was a cycle touring trip to South America then a longer stay in Australia where he worked with the CyclingNews website.

I remember being really jealous of a piece he wrote about the special friction reducing compounds the Aussie team pursuit squad used on their chains and fixed sprockets – just the sort of anorak stuff I love.

Latterly Ben was working in the petro-chemicals industry in Aberdeen, happily married with two young children.

Ben Abrahams, Scottish Champion, husband, father, and ‘one of the boys’. Rest in peace, we’ll miss you.

Ed Hood
Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 47 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, a team manager, and a sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days for some of the world's top riders. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

In Memoriam

Pete Smith

British cycling recently lost one of its unsung but great riders and personalities with the sad news that Pete Smith has died at the age of 76 after being in collision with a motor vehicle.

Raymond Poulidor

Sadly, on 13th November at the age of 83 – he was born on April 15th 1936 – Raymond Poulidor, Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur left us. Rest in peace, Monsieur Raymond Poulidor – second in le Tour but winner in the hearts of the French public.

Archie Speed

It’s with great sadness that VeloVeritas records the passing of one of the cornerstones of Fife time trialling; Archibald Speed – better known as ‘Archie.’ A doubly sad situation in light of the fact that it’s only a matter of weeks since we penned our tribute to his son Alistair, the victim of a fatal rear-end impact from a Vauxhall Corsa on the Strathmiglo road, whilst out for a run on his bike.

E.V. Ernie Mitchell – R.I.P.

We learnt recently that Ernie Mitchell, or 'E.V.' as he was known, Scottish star of the 1950's has passed away. As a tribute to him we thought we would re-run the interview he gave us last year where he told us about being the first man in the country to break the two-hour mark for 50 miles, virtually owning the pursuit crown and motor pacing behind his brother's bus ...

Jason MacIntyre

British 25 Mile Time Trial Champion, Jason Macintyre (Edge RT) died this afternoon, after being involved in a collision at 13.34 GMT with a Highland Council truck which is believed to have turned left across his path as it entered the council yard on the northern outskirts of Jason's home town of Fort William. The 34 year-old multiple Scottish champion was returning from a training run in the Spean Bridge area when the tragedy occured at a spot known locally as Carr's corner on the A82 road.

Jocky Allan

Jocky Allan has passed. Life is strange, sometimes. Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine, we got round to talking about cycling, and with a far away look in his eyes, he reminisced about his first bike; "my maw pushed the boat out and bought me this beautiful red racer, it had white wall tyres and white transfers on the tubes - JB Allan."

Graham Webb

The sad news came through from Belgium on Sunday morning that Graham Webb, British World road champion in 1967, had passed away. Our condolences go to his family and the many friends and fans he had in the cycling community. A great champion and a wonderful guy. Ed interviewed Graham back in 2009, and we thought that reproducing the interview now would be a good tribute to the man. In memory of Graham; his views on the sport back in 2009. 'Former World Road Race Champion,' yes, that would be nice to have that after your name!

In Memoriam, Palle Lykke

Friday 19th April was a sad day if you're a Six Day fan; Denmark's best-ever Six Day rider, Palle Lykke died in Belgium at 76 years-of-age. Born in Denmark in 1936 Lykke won 21 Six Days between 1958 and 1967 - Aarhus, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Berlin, Bremen, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dortmund, Frankfurt, London, Montreal, Munster and Zürich all fell to the handsome man from Ringe.