The framed PNECC ‘Jersey of Champions’ is displayed at the Mountbatten Centre sports facility in Portsmouth.
The Jersey was unveiled 18th May by (L-R) Alan Collins representing PNECC, Jessica Finney of Team CAMS-BASSO (PNECC associate Member), Lizzie Butcher – BH Live Mountbatten Cycling Forum Chair, and Alan Davies, BH Live Cluster Manager.
The autographs of these globally renowned cycling champions were collected on our Jersey by PNE member, Alan Collins, at major domestic and international cycling events over several years. Photos of some of the signatories can be seen below.
If you’re inspired to emulate the successes of these cycling champions,join us in PNE
Portsmouth North End ‘Jersey of Champions’
Club Jersey autographed by the following World, Olympic, European and National Champions in Road, TT, Track, CX, MTB and BMX Disciplines, and Grand Tour Winners
To collect the autographs of so many champions on the PNECC Jersey involved a long journey involving many miles travelled, hours of patience, and a lot of dedication; synonymous with the journey from learning how to ride a bike, to becoming a World Champion.
It wasn’t just a mission of getting any random cyclist to put an ink mark on a piece of fabric. It was the holistic experience of spectating at major cycling events, watching the incredible sporting performances of cycling’s heros and heroines, enjoyment of observing them in their racing element, and then surreally meeting them in the behind-the-scenes environments and grabbing a short congratulatory, but down-to-earth conversation with someone at the pinnacle of their game. No other sport offers such easy accessibility to its stars.
The culmination of that journey is embodied in the PNE Jersey of Champions. Greater than the hidden story of the efforts to meet the inspiring characters who autographed it, are, of course, the signatory’s own anecdotes of how they came to win the ultimate prize of a World, European or National jersey, or an Olympic medal. Their biographies will hopefully serve to inspire all the potential athletes, both from Portsmouth and visiting from further afield, who will see it displayed at the Mountbatten Centre. It should offer encouragement and stimulation to everyone, whether it be for young children eager to learn the life skill of riding a bike, like local legends Dani Rowe or Rob Hayles did, or the enthusiastic Wanna-Be Bradley Wiggins’ or Laura Kennys searching their soul for the energy for a race winning last lap effort in a race on the Mountbatten Cycle Track, in order to emulate their idol.
We can all learn something from the stories and experiences from the wide age range of signatories, be it the youthful exuberance and give-it-a-go style of Tom Pidcock, or the wealth of race craft knowledge that can be gleaned from PNE’s very own Harry Jackson, about his National titles or Olympic Games racing in the 1960’s, conveyed over a coffee at one of the PNE Sunday club run café stops.
Displaying the Jersey of Champions at the Mountbatten Centre will hopefully attract talent from within the local community to join PNE, use these wonderful cycling facilities, and maybe lead to another World Champion being discovered in our own back yard!