Former SJA committee’s ‘Mr Cycling’ Benstead dies at the age of 86

Picture courtesy of British Cycling

Former SJA committee member Stuart Benstead has died at the age of 86. He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy to the sport of cycling and British Cycling have kindly given us permission to use their tribute. This is an edited version.

Stuart’s involvement in the sport began while he was still racing. He set up the Archer RC road race, which took place over 52 consecutive years from 1956-2007. The race soon gained a reputation for being one of the toughest and most hard-fought on the circuit, with previous winners including Paul Sherwen, Chris Newton and Roger Hammond.

The race also provided a solid grounding for Britain’s stars of the future, including Sir Bradley Wiggins and David Millar.

Stuart’s prowess for event organisation led him to take on a number of key and often unpaid roles, including director of cycling for the European Youth Olympics in Bath, the world cup cyclo-cross at Crystal Palace, and the national track championships in Leicester.

At a more local level he spent 18 years organising the Tuesday series of road races at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit after raising £740,000 for a new clubroom. More recently he was looking for a further £1.5m for an open-air velodrome.

Stuart was president of the British Cycling central region for 11 years, member of the British Cycling national executive committee for 11 years and chairman of the Hillingdon Cycle Circuit for 21 years.

We owe an unending debt of gratitude to Stuart for his tireless contribution to our sport throughout his life, and the thoughts of everybody – both at British Cycling and in the wider cycling community – are with his family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.

RIP: Stuart Benstead, born July 3 1932, died June 5 2019