HISTORY OF THE SOUTH EAST SERIES
by Tom McCall
LVRC events became available in the South in the closing years of the millennium, and one of the regular race promoters was Surrey-based Steve Watson.
After promoting individual events for a while, Steve remembered the Surrey-based Vetarace Seres that we all used to enjoy in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and he hatched the idea of creating a race Series under LVRC rules.
He had a contact at the time with a cycling-friendly executive within the electronics company Sharp who agreed to sponsor a race Series, and that is where it all started in 2008. The first Series ran under the name of “Tricote Series”, and was immediately well-supported. There were leader’s jerseys which were worn after each round, and overall winners had handsome trophies at the end of the Series.
The following year, the Series was called the “mstina Series”, and this was the first time that Gianluca Capello became involved through his Business arrangement with the Italian-based mstina clothing brand. Sharp were still providing overall funding at this stage.
This ran on until 2011, when Steve Watson announced that he would no longer be involved, as he intended to emigrate to Australia to be with some of his family who were already there.
The Series was supposed to be picked up by some volunteers, but, during the winter of 2011 yours truly realised that nothing was being done, so, after some investigation, I realised that it would all die if someone did not pick it up. Sharp were no longer interested, and none of their money was left over, so I started with a clean slate.
I managed to persuade a range of promoters to either come in or keep promoting, and the new embryo Series was born, and ran through 2012. Contributions by the LVRC National Executive Committee, and Regions 9 and 10 made up the overall prize list.
At the prize presentation I was approached by Andrew Wills of Toachim Veterinary and Gianluca Capello, still with mstina, who advised that they would be prepared to sponsor the Series for overall awards and mstina winners’ jerseys for a period forward from 2013. The Series was named “Toachim Vets/mstina” and this ran until the end of 2018, with one change, as, from 2016, Gianluca Capello supplied jerseys through his own company Prosport Distribution and branded PS–Plus. From 2016 through to 2018 the Series was known as “Toachim Vets/PS-Plus Cyclewear”. Andrew Wills then departed to start a new life overseas.
However, a new sponsor came forward – Mark Pelling of Arcadian Architectural Services. Mark is a member of In Gear, and, knowing that the last arrangement had ended, he said that he would like to put something in to support a Series. Around that time, Gianluca Capello’s business interests had merged with those of LE COL, and he advised me that he would be prepared to continue support under the LE COL brand name. For 2019, the Series was known as “LE COL/Arcadian”. From 2020, there will be additional sponsorship from Eddie Bell, and his chip-timing company Velopace, and the Series will be know as
I have had a long association with the LVRC ever since races were available in the South. I have also travelled to race in LVRC races elsewhere in the UK. I decided to retire from racing at the end of 2013, but I have stayed very much in touch, as I was already co-ordinating the Series, and, somehow, I seem to have remained in position ever since!
However, I had one unwanted surprise waiting for me, as I was diagnosed with neck and throat Cancer in 2015. I had Radiotherapy and Surgery during the winter of 2015-16, so I was just about well enough to stagger forward to take up the reins again for the start of the 2016 Series. Thankfully, I remain clear and well, and these days, I ride my bike purely for pleasure, and to keep fit.