The Dusty Rhodes Bowl was the first in "the race we missed" website series during the Covid suspension of our fixture calendar. Though fixtures were suspended in March 2020, these catch-up reports did not start until September. It is thus ironic that 12 months later the fixture was again cancelled, this time due to water quality caused by the algae bloom.
Here are a few memories of one of the club's many "characters" that have adorned our ranks over the decades. Dusty - WW2 submariner, Brentford docks stevedore and penny farthing rider. He also found time to enter Masters' swimming events.
Dusty was one of those amazing characters that the club periodically attracts. He is remembered by those of us that knew him with the same revered but chaotic fondness as Mario McClarnon, Bill Phipps and, dare I say, Gordon Brodie. Dusty joined the club in the mid-1960s. He lived in Isleworth and worked as a stevedore at Brentford docks until they closed in 1972. WW2 saw Dusty a submariner in the Pacific theatre. At the end of the war he was attached to the Royal Australian Navy. I remember him telling me how, due to a shortage of specialist skills, the Navy refused to demobilise him and kept him out in Australia for some years. Something he bitterly resented.
Dusty was well known for his penny farthing, riding it in many charity fund-raising events as well as occasionally entertaining us on a Christmas morning. In 1981 he rode the penny-farthing over the whole course during the very first London Marathon. It was never clear whether he had permission or not from the organisers, not that such formalities would bother Dusty.
In 1977 Dusty was the only cyclist in the RAC London to Brighton rally.
Dusty won the 1975 Peter Pan cup
Veterans' race, 1981. A metal plate in his leg did not prevent Dusty from competing.
The Rhodes Bowl - from skip to the Serpentine
Dusty presented the trophy to the club in 1976 and for many years it was raced-for in the height of summer over 880 yards. According to legend, Dusty found it in a skip, polished it up and donated it for the race. Dusty died in the late 1980s. Dusty's son did visit for the race when over from Australia after Dusty's death. Sadly the club subsequently lost contact with the family and the race dropped off the fixture card after 1992. In 2018 the trophy was reintroduced onto the fixture card for the new 440 yard Tony and Jane Schiemann race that had been inserted into the schedule.
The Rhodes Bowl was reintroduced into our race calendar in 2018. Katie Berlyn Holmes won that year. Unfortunately we have no photographic evidence, so here is a snap of the 2019 victor and current holder of the trophy for yet another year, Will Luckhurst.
Tony and Jane Schiemann joined the club in 2006. They live on Eel Pie Island in the River Thames, which gives them the luxury of continuing to have a dip when the gates to the Serpentine are locked. A retired accountant, Tony still undertakes work for a local charity. For many years Tony was a member of the Thursday morning cleaning squad (along with Gordon Brodie, Rosie George, Tim Oulten and others) who scrubbed away at the club room mats, floors, walls and windows.
Tony was elected to the committee in 2014 and succeeded Kirsty Neilson as Hon. Treasurer in 2016.