Isle of Man - Recreation Grounds - Ramsey

Lezayre Road : IM8 2LL
Athletic sports were held in a field at Lezayre Road from 1875 and the Foresters held their gala there in 1880. The first mention of bicycle racing at Ramsey was at the Oddfellows sports meeting on August 4th 1881 at "Mr John Kneale's field adjoining the Rope Walk, Lezayre Road." The event included a two miles bicycle handicap race, first prize was £1. This was possibly the location of the Recreation Grounds, which started to be referred to in newspaper reports from 1883.

The Ramsey Athletic and Bicycle Festival was held at the Recreation Grounds on July 24th 1883. The bicycle handicap events were one and three miles single bicycle and a one mile tricycle race. The advertisement for the event stated that "Bicycle entries must give the size of driving wheel." There were several events in the 1880's, these were organised by charitable groups, including the Oddfellows, Rechabites* and the Foresters Society. The recreation ground was also used for Agricultural Shows and horse races.

Ramsey Cycling Club was formed in 1890 and lost no time in organising track race meetings. The Isle of Man Times of March 21st 1891 advertised the first Ramsey CC bicycle and athletic festival on the new cinder track, to be held on Easter Monday. There were four bicycle races. Ramsey CC held two further Thursday evening sports in 1891, with 1, 2 and 5 miles bicycle handicap races, the event attracted riders from Birmingham, Northampton and Liverpool.

The sudden rise of Ramsey CC was short lived and the club seemed to disappear after 1892. Bicycle racing at the ground continued however throughout the 1890's. The Rechabite's held their summer gala, and Regimental sports proved attractive to spectators.

The Oddfellows Sports were held on August 22nd 1892, with several bicycle races.

These were ½ and 3 miles handicap race, a 1 mile novices scratch race was for cushion tyre machines only and a 1 mile Oddfellows race. The main event was a 10 miles handicap race for IoM residents for a silver cup and gold medal, value eleven guineas.

Charitable meetings organised by the Foresters, Oddfellows, Rechabites and Regimental sports were held throughout the 1890's. The Forester's held a meeting and sports gala on July 26th 1900 with bicycle handicap races over 1, 2 and 5 miles and a 1 mile juvenile race. These were probably the last bicycle races at the Recreation Grounds.

* The Order of Rechabites was set up in the 1830's by Methodists as a temperance society to provide a savings and health insurance scheme for members. Local groups (known as Tents) organised social and sporting activities. Members were required to sign ‘The Pledge' swearing that they and their family would abstain from drink. In North America there were near a million Rechabite members in 1900. The Rachbites were active until the 1950's.


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