Special treat this week with an elongated version of 26 question with club legend Brian Long.
Special thanks to Mandy Hosking who played the role as interviewer on a long trip to Adelaide.
Name: Brian Long
Where were you born: Ballarat
Occupation: Bike Mechanic
Family: Wife Thelma and four children… Gayle, John, Neil and Steven.
Favourite Sporting Teams: Hawthorn, and the Long Cycling Team… The Aggregate winners!
“As far as athletes go, I reckon Kieren Perkins is pretty good. Especially after he won the 1500mtrs in the Olympics, he was regarded by his peers as over the hill… He showed them what guts and determination is all about!
There’s not a bloke as good as Lou Richards, a great ambassador for football… Doesn’t matter what the hierarchy say, he’s a legend in my mind.
Favourite Movies: Shawshank Redemption… Loved the way it was all planned out.
The Bucket List… Loved the story line, the one liners and the way different people face life.
Favourite Music: The 50’s and AC/DC… Bit of a contrast there hey!
Favourite Food: Just eating… I always liked steak and eggs. I just love food!
“Ha, to be a Train Driver believe or not.. When I was about 3 years old, the Spirit of Progress was made. Me mother held me up to the fence to see the train go past. It was just an old engine with these fancy plates on it and flash writing on the sides, made it look streamlined. That’s the first thing I can ever remember as a kid.”
“I think my main hobby was wagging school! I went missing from school for two weeks and nobody noticed… I’d still come home and do my homework, that’s the only schoolwork I ever did.”
Mandy: What did you do all day?
“I used to go to the American Army Camp at Royal Park, Melbourne. We use to get souvenirs and cigarettes, but I could never show anyone. I use to get buttons, coins and chewing gum..
One time when I was wagging with my sister, we seen a girl going home (turned out for lunch) and we thought it was time for us to go … ’cause we couldnt tell the time. We ended up having to go ‘back to school’ … we learnt pretty quickly about time.”
“When I was in grade 8, I found out I could leave if I got me Merit Certificate. I studied hard for 6 months and I got me Merit; to the surprise of the Christian Brothers. I got the highest marks in English… I couldn’t believe it myself!
I left school, went to work at 13 for 25 shillings a week. That was equivalent to a hundred Violet Crumble Bars… which is $200 now!
I gave up drinkin’ and smokin’ … I wasn’t gonna waste all my hard earned money. I left everyone else to do that, I was mucking around with kids 4 years older than me.
Lived a clean life and started cycling at 17. .. 1949.
The first year 1950, I finished 3rd in the junior championships. I finished 4th in the State (Vic) Championships, I hadn’t been racing a year yet. In the next year I won the Senior Country Championships; the same year Jack Trickey won the Juniors. Jack was bigger than me, I was small…they all thought I was the junior Champion!
I use to ride alright, I finished 2nd in the Five Mile Country Championship …Got tangled in a fall and the other bloke got away. I didn’t go down. Got a couple of placings in the Amateur road races, then at 20 I turned professional.
Went to Cavendish, near Hamilton, December the 4th 1953. I won the A Grade Scratch Race.
1954 went back to Cavendish and won all three events… Half Mile and Mile Handicaps and Five Mile Scratch Race.. I broke the record for the Half Mile which will never be broken, because they pulled the track up!
New Years Day, 1955 I won the Mount Gambier Wheel Race … Riders from everywhere including Adelaide race around a track about 400mtrs. There were about 50 in it.
I went up to Ouyen on the Queens Birthday Weekend and won the Wheel race there.”
Mandy: Anything special happen up there?
“Yeah, well that’s a long story but I’ll tell you and you put in what you want.
I was riding with a guy named Sparrow Mathews on a dirt track against about 50 riders, mainly South Australian. The referee went up to everyone on their marks while they were waiting for the gun to go off. He came up to me and Sparrow and said “So long as youes do a turn each.”
Well, I done the first turn, which was about half a lap. Then he carted me straight through the middle of the bunch, left me in front on the bell lap. I rode ’em on my hip at the bottom of the track… so I could watch them all. You can’t go fast, ’cause it’s dirt. One bloke tried, slipped over, went under the fence and into the cars. I won. After that, I paid Sparrow his £10. 3 months later, I’d learnt that him and the referee had backed me!
A week later, I rode the Frankston 60 Mile Race and finished 4th… ”
Mandy: How old were you?
Mandy: Okay folks, Longy is 82 years old I’m not gonna go any further, there’s 60 years of bikes to go… Might have to write that book afterall.
How long have you been riding? 1949 – present, coming up to 66 years.
When did you start racing? August 1949 at Sebastopol.
What other sports have you been involved in?
“I was a good swimmer at school..I couldn’t run for nuts!”
Age Group and Handicap mark – 80-84. I now ride off limit.
Goals: To keep breathing!
Why did you join the club?
“I just watched a bike race the bloke that worked around the corner was in. Then I just got talkin’ and then I just got involved. ‘Cause me father was a bike rider in the 20’s.”
Do you have any goals to achieve? ”
There’s nothin’ left is there? I’d like to beat that English man’s record, the hour record, he averaged 25kph around the track at 102 years old. I can’t do that now… well maybe just!”
Your greatest racing achievement?
“It’s not winning. I reckon racing in Benalla last year, finishing all those hills and picked up 8th place… I never thought I’d do that at this age!”
“Too many to mention, but riding with the international riders at Geelong in the fifties and racing with world champions, was a great experience. I was just good enough to be included in the group. It wasn’t as easy to rub shoulders with that standard of rider as it is now.”
Best? Staying upright.
Worst? Falling off!
What’s your favourite training or social ride? A nice easy 50kms. Torquay for coffee at the Coffee Club with mates.
How often do you ride? 5 times a week.
Equipment: Shimano Ultegra and 105
Race Bike: Bianchi Sempre
Training Bike: Trek 5200
Other Bikes: Ken Evans steel bike, turned into a flatbar. Track bike, Farleigh.
Dream Bike: Satisfied with what I’ve got.