Tuesday, January 15, 2013

#2 Issues 1 - 8 1989

Looking at the early issues and seeing the out-of-focus photos, spelling mistakes, typographical errors, schoolboy humour and general naffness, I have to shudder. But we didn't know any better, and ignorance is bliss. 

In Issue One I wrote a Horror Scope page, the advice for every sign was the same but nobody noticed 'cos you only read you own month, right? Then I called myself Chef Carbo Load and wrote a food page. Dave Bellingham became Dave "Scott" Bellingham, or sometimes Dave Bedlam, and wrote some mad stuff. Ian Sweet set himself up as our international expert and wrote Around the World. Ken Maclaren became Ken Trovosi the back page man (he actually held this place for the next 200 issues). Duncan did some interviews and the rest, like the letters and small ads, we made up. 

From issue 2 we had a double page spread called Question of Sport with photos of ordinary people alongside the stars before and after a race. We didn't print their names until the next month or the end of the year or sometimes never. 

Top right is Rik Kiddle and on the cover of his 220 is - Rik Kiddle.

The 220 Rankings was established as a monthly feature. The British Triathlon Association (BTA) had a ranking system at the time based on their Grand Prix races which was calculated on points per place. We didn't like this, so extended the coverage of races to more events including international races and more importantly, it was calculated on a time basis which we felt gave a truer picture of everyone's standings. At the end of the year Glenn Cook had edged out Bernie Shrosbree and Lantern Rouge was pensioner Patrick Barnes in 409th place.

Patrick Barnes
We started organising races under the banner of Total Promotions, not that we really wanted to put on events but if we didn't there would be nothing to write about in the off (triathlon) season. The Reebok Big Biathlon was the first in March with the finish gantry built inside the Swindon Link Sports Centre's main hall. (It can get a bit chilly in March so it's nice to be indoors). 

Tim Stevens

In May we organised Round 1 of the Carling GP Series at the Cotswold Water Park. I liked that event, apart from the swim being short, everything went well. Nice weather, nice venue, nice athletes. The women's race had over 50 entrants, the largest in a British triathlon at that time. Sarah Springman (On a wacky bike with 24" wheels and 72 tooth chain ring) lead from start to finish and our own 220 columnist and Total Fitness Tri Club man, Ken Maclaren won the Men's :-)

Sarah Springman's little wheeled, big chain ring bike
Ken Maclaren No1 in Swindon
In issue six we conducted a mini interview with a lad called Simon Lessing

220. We have not seen you since the Southport race (where he came 7th), where have you been? 
SL. I have moved to France and I am based in a town called Salon de Provence near Marseilles. 

220. How have you been getting on? 
SL. I've been coming in the top three for most of my races. I was second to Patrick Girrard at Toulouse but the first prize was a trip to Africa and I didn't want to go back there, so he won by two seconds! 

220. You have a British Passport and a BTA licence, are you going to race in Britain? 
SL. Yes, I'm coming here in November to find work but next year I have been offered a place in a French team where they help with all the expenses and the prize money in France is a lot better. Usually four or five thousand pounds per race. I will be coming back to race for Britain because I want to be selected for the World Championships. 

220. Are facilities good in France? 
SL. Yes, marvelous, the whole community comes out to support their local race. I have improved my biking so much in France. They take races up roads you wouldn't have dreamt of training on. If you can't ride properly you can lose two seconds each corner so you soon learn. 

220. Our readers are always interested in people's best times; how is your swimming and running? SL. I've swum fifteen hundred meters in the pool 17:30 and running 14:45 for five thousand meters. 

220. So a bit more work on the bike and you'll be World Champion! By the way, how old are you?
SL: 18.

By now we were getting genuine letters for the letter's page. Here is part of a wonderfully brusque missive from a chap called Tom Walker
 I was interested (which is unusual where 220 is concerned) to read your criticism of the BTA officers for not being present at National Long course Championship race and since your uncredited criticism was in the form of a rhetorical question, I hope you will make space for a reply in the "letters". The statement regarding our absence is (again unusual for 220) true, but your conclusions are, sadly as usual wrong . . . . . . . . 

He goes on for another six paragraphs in the same vein. Excellent! I think we should have given him a free subscription!

In 1989 people were colourful; minimal, fluorescent bikinis and long flowing blonde hair was common - and that was just the men! (as seen here, Tracy Harris winning the Milton Keynes Triathlon). 

Around the World with Ian Sweet

Ian, with his 220 bag, being chauffeured by Spencer's dad Bill.
1989 was an extremely important year for the sport of triathlon. OK, the birth of 220, which although significant nationally, maybe globally, didn't quite match up to the formation of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) which took place in Avignon, France. Triathlon had grown rapidly from that first event in 1974 at Mission Bay, San Diego and within a few years had become one of the fastest growing sports all over the world.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was intrigued by the sport’s incredible growth and popularity world-wide and in 1988 began discussions to include triathlon in the Olympic Games Programme.  IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch arranged a meeting in Stockholm that year with the intention of including triathlon in the Olympic Games as soon as possible. At that meeting Canadian Les McDonald, a british Ex Pat, was selected as President to a working committee for triathlon.

So off to Avignon to report for 220 on both the formation of the ITU and the first ever official Triathlon World Championships. I was lucky enough to own a small caravan and so I drove with my family in tow and found a place to stay near "That" bridge in Avignon.  The World Championships brought success for Britain as Glenn Cook took silver behind the legend Mark Allen (USA) with Rick Wells (NZL) bronze. In the women's race it was Erin Baker (NZL) gold. Not sure if 220 used any of my photographs but I recall where we docked the photo boat Thierry Deketelaere, shooting for Triathlete, missed the dock and ended up in the drink and ruined both his cameras! No photos for Thierry....This actually happened again in Hawaii for the Ironman but this time Thierry carried a waterproof instant Kodak camera.

You can check out highlights of the 1989 ITU World Championships at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMgpyKSzN2Q

Gordon proof-reading the Cambridge News

Gordon Riley came on board 220 as our sub-editor. He was so fed up with the spelling mistakes and typos that he volunteered to read and correct our articles before we went to print (miles and miles of fax paper went back and forth between Swindon and Cambridge).

As he was going to Hawaii anyway we wangled him press credentials for the 1989 Hawaii Ironman. We didn’t know it at the time but  this race would become a ‘collectors item’ and be known famously as the Iron War. So famous that whole books have been written about it. Mark Allen and Dave Scott ran side by side on the marathon course, each trying to get away from the other until finally . . . . . . .  

Jack and I travelled to Hawaii to act as Team Springman as Sarah Springman was competing that year. She was friends with Dave Scott so we got some pretty good scoops. 

My press credentials got me to the swim start and the finish line, the time in between was spent tearing around the course in a convertible Ford Mustang trying to get photos of the action. 

All in all a pretty good day although not as good as the day Mark Allen ended up having!

Gordon got one of the very few photos of Mark Allen 
without Dave Scott on his shoulder.


In a bid to boost circulation we printed our first nude photo. Fortunately Kev was good for the craic and I needed my bike cleaned.

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