I am sure that like myself many of you are mourning the loss of the legendary “Sir Jimmy”. Those of you that have been with the Velos for some time will know that Jimmy was an honourary founding member of our club, and today in true Telegraph Obituary style I would like to pay tribute to the man that Tina Turner described as “simply the best”. So please forgive me as I recollect a few of the mans fine achievements.
So where to start? Well firstly I would like remember his status as one of the most prolific marathon runners. A man who ran in clothes that you cooked the Christmas turkey in, and whose answer to a shortage of Oxygen was to light another of Cubas’ finest. Is this not an approach to fitness that embodies totally the philosphy of the Vinghoe Velos? Let us also not forget that each marathon he started he finished. Can the same be said of the bespectacled olympian athlete Paula Radcliffe?
But the man was not just a man running the streets, indeed there were many other aspects to this complex enigma. Long before the likes of Dave Lee Travisty, Tony Blackbum, and Noel Endaway were part of the radio establishment, young Jimmy was spinning the disks in northern clubs. Back in those days rock’n’roll roll was in it’s infancy and that the playing of pop music was considered subversive, and for those plugging their wares on Radio Caroline, submersive. Nonetheless, it was not long before the establishment recognised the talent of the great one, and gave him his own programme, Top of the Pops. Here we saw a young Jimmy at the top of his game, much like we see the Velos at the top of a climb. No matter how much a challenge, like the cream, Jim and the Velos rise to the top.
Jim was not just a radio or Television personality, he was a man ahead of his time. Earlier this year, if I recall there was a little wedding at the time, many of us embarked on a ride from Northampton to Ivinghoe. No of course like you I remember the rambling countryside, the fine lunchtime food and drink, and the gentle hills. But of course we had to get there, and as Jim said “this is the age of the train”, indeed on that day the Victorian transport system delivered us in comfort and, unusually, on time.
Now Jim was not just a man of his time but also a man ahead of it. Whilst Brucie said “points make prizes”, long before this, on a Sunday lunchtime, Jim was offering “2 points for the Artist and one for song” but no prizes. Is this not the first gameshow? And a metaphor for all that is good in the Velos?
I have, of course, already mentioned the marathon running, and for many this is an end in itself, however for the blonde one it was more than a run in the park. Over a couple of thousand runs he raised more than the greek GDP, and only slightly less than Andrews bar bill at the Rose and Crown.
For many the achievements above would be more than they could deliver in a lifetime. For Jim? Of course not. Gucci, Chanel, Burbery, Westwood, all fashion icons of our time. Jim, yet again ahead of the game. When asked about his fashion role model, his fellow blinged up friend Mr T said “I aint flying with that crazy fool”. When commenting on Jims radio show he also said “do it for the Jazz man, the Jazz”. Luckily for us he didn’t play Jazz.
Sportsman? That was Jim too. In the day when Geoff Boycott was batting at the pavillion end, Jim was busy leading the yorkshire cricket team at trent bridge. As the leather hit the wooden sticks, he would be heard to cry “Howz about zat zen?”. Due to a yorkshire problem with vowels the terraces now resonate with an abbrevaited “Howzat”.
Of course I could go on with the tributes, and for some I probably have done. So for now then, now then,
Good gracious, goodness gracious,
Howz about zat zen,
Goodness Gracious, Goodness Gracious,
This weeks ride:
Fittingly the ride is 26 miles, so put on the bling and be there for Jim.