Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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Our Time in Belgium, by Norman Gower


One of VeloVeritas’ functions it seems is unlocking the memories of those stalwarts – like our own mentor and soothsayer, Viktor and indeed, our editor Martin – who beat a path in the 70’s and 80’s to the legendary Mrs. Deene’s boarding house in Gent (and later in Zomergem) to show those Belgies how it should be done. The latest epistle which came our way was from Norman Gower – and mentions of the late, great Grant Thomas did his chances of being published no harm whatsoever.

Over to you, Norman…

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Our Time in Belgium

By Norman Gower

It must have been soon after Easter 1972 when Ron Pannell and I decided to go to Belgium. 

Ron was fed up with working, as was I so we loaded our bikes onto the roof of my Escort and set off for Dover. 

I should say at this point that Ron was a tough ex-pro who’d had a lot of experience riding pro races in Belgium, France and Britain under the colours of Rory O’Brien, EG Bates and the various incarnations of the Sun Team before being re-instated, whilst I was just one of those who made up the numbers, was hopelessly out of their depth and tried to make up with enthusiasm what they lacked in ability. 

I had ridden a few races in Belgium and knew what to expect so was under no illusions but it was preferable to sitting all summer in a drawing office.