Shepton Mallet - Charlton

Swan Fields : BA4 5NF
The annual sports at Shepton Mallet was generally held at August Bank Holiday, with other meeting occasionally in the year. Bicycle racing was included in the sports from 1881 with a one mile race. Racing was on grass tracks in various locations around the town, including Summerleaze Park, Langhorne, Whitestone Park and Swan Field. The track was usually 6 or 8 laps to the mile. From the outset, Shepton Mallet Bicycle Club was involved with the sports and sometimes held annual club championships race meetings.

The 1886 event was in a field adjoining Whitestone Park, belonging to Mr Deverill of the White Swan Inn and the two bicycle events were 1 mile and 3 miles handicap races.

The athletic sports were held with the Shepton Mallet Flower show from 1887, when a grass track 8 laps to the mile was prepared and "carefully rolled with a heavy roller for a long time beforehand". The track was small as "the nature of the ground preventing a larger one being obtained ". The bicycle events were a one mile handicap and a five miles handicap. In the five mile event there were 18 entries and the event was run in heats with ordinaries and safety machine mixed together.

There was a lull of bicycle racing activity in the early 1890's but events resumed in 1896, the annual athletics sports were held on the Swan Field, Charlton, "a fair track, eight laps to the mile was prepared. There was a large attendance of spectators." The bicycle races were over one and two miles.

The Shepton Mallet sports were held on 11th April 1898 there were three bicycle races over one and two miles. The track was in very poor condition after rain and in the two miles race, "five of the eight starters fell, several more than once."

The August Bank Holiday Shepton Mallet sports once again fell by the wayside but were revived again in 1907. The 1908 meeting was on a grass track of 6 laps to the mile and the bicycle races were again over 1 and 2 miles. The revival was short lived and after the 1914 athletics meet, bicycle racing at Shepton Mallet seemed to stop.


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