Wednesday, January 26, 2022
HomeOtherEditorialGrant Thomas Tribute, Part Two; "The most stylish bike rider, a gent"

Grant Thomas Tribute, Part Two; “The most stylish bike rider, a gent”

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Perhaps VeloVeritas sage and mentor, Viktor summed it up best; ‘he was the coolest – nobody looked better on a bike than Grant Thomas, he was everything I wanted to be in a cyclist.’

We’ve already run Paul Kilbourne’s tribute to Grant but thought that we should share more of the tributes which have been paid to the man.

Please forgive any little changes we’ve made to put the comments into context and not seeking approval from everyone individually but we’re sure they won’t mind given the circumstances.

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Grant Thomas
Grant Thomas (l) and Mick Bennett (r) after a Two-Up TT win, either side of TT king Alf Engers. Photo©Bob Thom

Our first words come from Tour of Britain organiser, Grant’s close friend and Madison partner;

Mick Bennett

Twice an Olympic medallist, Commonwealth Games gold medallist and multiple British Champion

“There have been some most wonderful messages written, on social media, in memory of my dear friend Grant.

“I have many happy memories. 

“I’ll never forget the very first time we met, down at Salford Park Track in Birmingham, in ‘69, when training for a place in the Birmingham division team pursuit squad. I was in absolute awe of him, his film star looks, his dapper appearance, coupled with his immaculate track bike and his willingness to assist a ‘wet behind the ears’ budding 19 year- old.

“Little did I know that the following year we would be ‘top and tailing’ in a double bed in Limburg Holland where we travelled to seek the exalted life of two would-be bike riders. 

“For Grant, The Netherlands was to become his adopted home, and his victories, at that time unheard of, do not do justice to how well he was received, he was adored by the Dutch family he lived with and quickly became their adopted son.

“Latterly during his time spent last year as our guest on the Tour of Britain we constantly had to locate him as the stage was about to start, he was found with the team mechanics discussing the advantages of, amongst many other things, various crank lengths and how they relate to a rider’s leg and foot dimensions.

“Dapper, a gentleman, modest, immaculate but above all an endearing naivety. Grant was all these things, and with personal qualities that one rarely comes across these days. There was nothing to dislike about Grant – other than his passion for ‘The Archers, an everyday tale of country folk’.

“He even made up a foursome on my very first date, in 1991 with Jill (now my wife of 26 years) and her friend Nicola, at the Teddington Spaghetti House. Most of the evening was, of course, spent talking about bike racing.

“Jill recalls the many conversations she had with him about health and vitamin supplements as he often called to chat to her and mull over articles he had read. And my sisters have fond memories of him visiting our house in Birmingham when we were teens, everyone loved him.

“Grant was always making us laugh and would not want us to be filled with sadness following his passing, but to remember him with joy and smile or even laugh at memories of his stories and anecdotes – of which there are many. This is how we should remember this great man, with such incredible qualities. 

“His legacy is that he had such a fundamental and profound effect on all of us that knew him as a friend, he touched us all.”

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Ron Keeble

Olympic medallist and multiple British Champion on the track

“A good mate and adversary back in the day. 

“A classy rider and a nice polite bloke. 

“Sad news.”

Grant Thomas
Grant Thomas and Mick Bennett with their good friend, Aarmant Pielaat Rogheist.

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Darryl Webster

Multiple British Champion on road and track

“Very sad to report the passing of [Facebook] group member Grant Thomas apparently after a brief illness (not Covid). 

“British amateur road race champion, winner of amateur Six Days and one of the best road men in Europe in the early 70’s.

“I’ve never heard a bad word said of him and he was one of the coolest-looking riders. 

“RIP.”

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Barry Davies

70’s cyclo-cross ace

“He was the coolest – nobody looked better on a bike than Grant Thomas, enough said.”

Grant Thomas
Grant Thomas famously had ‘film star looks’. Photo©Bob Thom

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Tim Crumpton

70’s roadman and contemporary of Grant’s 

“Grant was so enthusiastic about his training and racing. He always wanted to know the ins and outs of everything connected with the sport. 

“A clever tactician always hungry for a win. 

“He often gave other riders encouragement and sound advice and seemed to have a real down-to-earth appreciation of what was needed to be a winner. 

“He also had a quirky sense of humour and a knowing smile.

“A great rider and a great guy.”

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Gary Sadler

Multiple British Champion

“May your levers be tilted at the correct angle and your Binda straps tight and threaded through the back of your pedals. 

“Rest in peace old friend. 

“The most stylish bike rider, a gent.”