Clements - Who Was He?
Jack Clements was the longest-serving president of the Beacon RCC
who is remembered with much affection. The Mountain Time Trial, with which he
was long associated, was renamed in his honour and as a tribute to his many years
of service. The club also provided and maintains 'Jack's Bench' which can be found
in Stanford-on-Teme churchyard. The bench still overlooks the current Little Mountain
course so that all riders taking part in the race today ride past it. It stands
in a beautiful place much loved by Jack himself.
John Banks Clements
(always known as 'Jack') was an Irishman. Born in Wicklow in 1917 the son of a
comfortably affluent Protestant family, Jack moved to England in 1938. Amongst
his luggage he carried the gentle Irish accent which stayed with him for the rest
of his life.
His first occupation in England was as a government appointed
inspector, ensuring that aircraft were being supplied to the RAF in airworthy
condition. Important though this work was, it clearly didn't take up all of his
waking hours as he managed to find time to court Jeanne (whom he married in 1943)
and to maintain a racing career which had begun in his native Ireland.
One of Jack's cycle shops
The war over, Jack moved into the cycle trade opening shops in Wolverhampton
and Walsall. However, through no fault of his own, this venture was not successful
and another source of income had to be found. So, in the early 1950s Jack went
to work for Dawes Cycles in Tyesley. His immense charm made him a natural salesman
and he was to stay with the firm until his retirement, moving through the sales
team to become manager and the man responsible for all trade shows. He also ran
the Dawes Professional Racing Team.
Meanwhile his cycling career continued
and he joined the fledgling Beacon Roads CC in the late 1940s and became the club's
second president in 1947. This position he held, being re-elected annually until
being made Life President a few years before his untimely death in 1987. Amongst
his club activities he was chairman of the Birmingham Division of the BCF, a commissaire
and a track judge. With his wife Jeanne he was also a busy RTTC and RRA timekeeper.
'Jack's Bench' overlooking the course
in Stanford-on-Teme churchyard
relationship was not that of a remote, titular president. Rather, he regarded
the membership as an extended family and urged the rest of us to do the same.
His door was always open and he was a fund of thoughtful, quietly considered advice
to anyone who sought it. His steady guidance at meetings steered the club through
many difficult times.