7th November 2013

Many thanks to Mhairi Laffoley who has written these obituaries for her father Archie and brother Alistair. We can only imagine how hard this must have been, but the results are a fitting tribute to both men. Thanks also to Jim Reid for the photographs.


                                                                           ARCHIE SPEED

                                                                    10.3.1923 – 7.10.2013
                                HONORARY LIFE TIME MEMBER of the VTTA & SCOTTISH GROUP

My dad Archie, at the age of 90 and of frail health, on learning of his son Alistair’s sudden and tragic death suffered an irreversible relapse and sadly our family lost him four weeks after he had put his son to rest. We have been dealt a double blow by losing both Dad and Alistair within a 4 week period; a loss felt by family, fellow cyclists and friends alike.

Dad when in his early 20s was a miner and as transport to and from work proved a problem he took up cycling as a means of commuting back and forth to his workplace. Cycling was to become one of his greatest pleasures over the next 70 years and a love affair of which he never tired. Shortly after his introduction to cycling he became a member of the Fife Century Road Club of which his uncle was a founder member and he remained a committed member until his passing.

After testing the merits of several cycling disciplines, Time Trialling was to become the discipline that gave him the most enjoyment and he competed in events at all distances from 10 miles up to the 12 hour and 24 hours events. He preferred the long distance events with the 12 hour being his favourite and at age 44 in 1967 recorded a distance of 383.520 miles in a 24 hour event. His 12 hour SVTTA Age Record at 68 years old with a distance of 204.355 miles still stands to this date.

Unfortunately, in 1952 at the age of 29, he contracted TB and subsequently lost the use of one of his lungs and was informed he would never walk again. Fortunately Dad wasn’t very good at listening and proved the doctors wrong as he continued to race until the age of 80 and continued riding his bike until his 85th year. Over the years he completed 1,053 events – not bad for someone with only one lung.

He was an ardent supporter of all aspects of cycling and assisted wherever required, be it organising, marshalling or simply providing guidance and advice. He was well known for sweeping up any debris and filling in potholes likely to cause a mishap in the Tour of the Kingdom 3 day RR event, which covered a distance of 180 miles. Such was his enthusiasm to ensure the safety of competitors.
Within his club, as well as Fife Cycling Association, he held many positions of office over the years and in the latter still held position of Vice Chairman up until his death.

During 1963 he joined the Scottish Group of the VTTA, and served latterly as President from 2003 – 2006. It was an organisation that he was extremely proud to be a member of and he enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow Vets when competing on both sides of the border.

Such was his tenacity in the face of adversity that he was awarded the Group’s ‘Tom McGinness’ Meritorious Award on three separate occasions – 1972, 1989 and 1999, an honour he was proud to receive. Dad’s service to cycling was further recognised by a local cycle shop owner and fellow member of the SVTTA, Sandy Wallace, who donated to the Group a princely trophy that is now known as the ‘Archie Speed Trophy’ and is awarded for the best aggregate MPH over the 10, 25 & 50TT distances.

He was a proud father and grandfather in the knowledge that both Alastair and grandson Gavin shared his love of cycling. Latterly, when infirmity prevented him from attending events, he would sit ‘impatiently’ waiting on the phone call that would inform him of both their results.

Our family would like to express our deepest thanks to the 15 cyclists from local clubs and the two local police motorbike outriders that escorted my Dad on his final journey; such was the esteem that was held for Dad within Fife cycling, the cycling fraternity in general aswell as the many friends outwith cycling that filled the reception and stood outside during the service.

Cycling was not my Dad’s hobby, it was his life.

Mhairi Laffoley


                                                                                    ALISTAIR (ALI) SPEED
                                                                                        31.5.64 – 5.9.13

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this, as tragically my brother, Alistair, lost his life after being hit by a car whilst out on a training ride.

It was inevitable that Ali would take up cycling as his sport as from an exceptionally young age we attended cycle events to watch our dad, Archie, compete. Ali joined Fife Century Road Club at the age of 8 and this remained his club until his passing.

At the age of 12 he began his racing career taking part in local time trials and, although he did try his hand at road racing, like Dad, his love was to remain with time trialling and beating the clock.

Over the years Ali would travel the length and breadth of Scotland to take part in time trial events of all distances from 10 miles to 12 hours. He has been the winner of the Fife Midweek Time Trial Series as well as winning numerous club trophies and over his racing career he completed 995 events. Often he would have gone straight to an event after finishing his night shift, but even then he always had a smile and a friendly word for his fellow competitors and those officiating.

As well as competing Alistair’s main priority at any Fife Association event was to ensure that all aspects such as marshalling, road signage, organising etc, were in place, and if not he would forego his position in the event to attend to administration or marshalling to ensure the event was run off successfully. Perhaps Alistair’s biggest attribute to the Fife Centre was that of his timekeeping skills and he was well known throughout the ‘Kingdom’ for his efficiency in this department.

Ali had no hesitation in becoming a member of the Scottish Group of the VTTA; so much so that he joined the group in November 2003 prior to his 40th. birthday in May the following year, and was at the forefront of encouraging others to do likewise. He was pleased earlier this year when he achieved his standards at 10 and 25 miles after missing out on these due to work commitments in the past few years.

Alistair was so proud that his young nephew Gavin had taken up cycling and was carrying on the family tradition. They were often seen at races together and shared the same excitement when discussing their plans for 2014 season, and with no less excitement on the evening of Ali’s last event: this being the evening prior to his life being so tragically cut short.

My brother lived for his bike and this tragedy has left a huge void not only in our family life but, also, in the SVTTA and Scottish Cycling alike.

Mhairi Laffoley

17th. October 2013
Archie Speed's funeral was held today at Kirkaldy. In the absence of any other report of the day's proceedings I have taken the liberty of reproducing Scott Taylor's fine words from the Braveheart site.

Fife cycling's had it tough. Ali Speed was taken so cruelly, then Jim Brown's time came, and Ali's dad Archie this week. All within a few weeks they are gone.
All were fantastic contributors to the sport they loved and gave so much - there's been a lot of memories, tears, smiles, sadness, laughter and banter (typical when cyclists get together!) - and fair to say the sausage rolls and sandwiches went down well too!
The lads would have loved the way their family, friends, and the cycling community paying their respects - Many in club colours. well done to all who turned up in club kit. We gave them a great final 'push-off' for sure.
It was poignant, humbling and an honour to pay tribute to 'Erch' by being part his final escort. We were led (quite rightly) by a Fife Century wheel as we rode ahead of the man who holds the 24hr TT Scottish record. What an achievement - taking a record to your grave is a massive accolade.
It was an honour to reminisce with old photos, cycling records too. A privilege to chat with Mhairi, Gavin, Margaret, and a lot of cycling community friends over the past few weeks. Cycling has given me so much - and it's sad it's taken losing guys I thought would be around forever to make me realise that.
Thanks for the memories, the inspiration, the advice and the laughter. We're worse off without you here, but please be assured I'll promise I will shout my number as I cross the line the next time we meet.
Sure there is a lively chat going on in a better place tonight. Fuelled by Jaffa cakes and stewed tea at a wee drum up somewhere sunnier than Fife for sure!

10th. October 2013
Jim Brown's funeral was held today at Kirkaldy crematorium.  Thanks to Dave Bean of Kennoway Road Club for the following obituary.

Jim Brown of Fife Century Road Club lost his battle with cancer on 1st Oct aged 79. Jim had been a member of Fife Century Road Club since he moved to Fife in the late 1980s. He had previously been a member of Coventry CC and Falkirk. Jim was a distance time trialler with his favourite being the 12 hour, and after he finished racing - ususlly on fixed wheel, he still went along to Scottish 12s to spectate, and support the riders. His least favourite events were the "short" 10s and 25s. But Jim was also a tireless worker behind the scenes. As Marshal, or pusher off, there is not a race in central Fife that Jim did not help at. Road races & Time trials, Jims "Mystery machine" would be somewhere and close by there would be Jim, red flag, Hi-viz vest and folding chair. Heatherhall Woods, the right turn used on every Fife CA course around Freuchie, was his spot. That was probably the most people saw of him at midweeks as he would be out on the course bringing in signage when the times were being read out.
As president of Fife Cycling Association he was a calming influence, and his quiet but assured manner lent weight to his thoughts and opinions.
Jim's presence will be sadly missed, and will be one of a trio that has been a huge influence on Cycling in Fife that we have lost in the last month.

9th. October 2013
The funeral arrangements for Archie Speed are as follows.
Thursday 17th Oct, at 10.15am, Kirkaldy Crematorium. Refreshment thereafter at Dunnikier Hotel.

7th. October 2013
The SVTTA are very sad to report that Archie Speed, Fife Century passed away this morning.
I can do no better than reproduce Dave Bean's word from Facebook:

The past month has to be one of the worst in Fife cycling. Archie Speed passed away peacefully this morning, Monday, and is now probably out on a bike with Alistair & Jimmy. Its getting so that that's a bigger run than Centuries runs at weekends. Words can't describe the contribution that Archie made to Cycling in Fife & Scotland over a cycling career in excess of 70 years. Racing, Officiating, Marshalling, Reliability run sandwiches, being a thrawn bugger. Fife Century, Fife CA & Scottish Veterans - Archie was it all, and we were all the better for having known him. Cycling was not a pastime or hobby, it was his life. Though he has been unwell for some time, he still kept up to date with everybodies times and dragged himself to Fife CA meetings when his health allowed. Our thoughts are with Margaret, Mhairi & Gavin who seem to have more burden than anyone deserves just now.

Funeral arrangements to follow.

5th.October 2013
Jim Brown's funeral will be held at
Kirkaldy Crematorium on Thursday 10th Oct at 11.45am

3rd. October 2013
More bad news to report for Fife Century RC as Jimmy Brown sadly passed away yesterday.
Anyone who has raced in Fife, particulary at the midweek events, will have seen Jimmy out doing the signage in his campervan and then marshalling. While all gathered to hear their times Jimmy was still out there taking down the signs.
In recent times he made the Heatherhall junction his own and was nearly always stationed there with his red flag to get riders safely through the right-hand turn: it was always a good day if Jim let you cut the corner at speed!
The SVTTA send their condolences to Jim's family and all at Fife Century.

18th. September 2013

Ali's funeral was held today in Kirkcaldy, under a blue sky that was possibly the best that a Fife autumn could be expected to muster in the circumstances.

I doubt whether the Kirkcaldy crematorium has ever been so well attended. Although I'm not good at such things I would guess that the total attendance may have been in the region of 400 or so. Certainly well into the hundreds anyway and well outwith the capacity of the small chapel.

The spilt between non-cycling and cycling people would have been about half and half I guess. A man with so many friends, but that isn't at all surprising. Many cyclists had come by bike and the majority of the others wore their club jerseys. The Fife TT scene was there in large numbers, but the rest of the country was well represented too.

Off the top of my head I can recall seeing jerseys from:
- Fife Century RC
- Kennoway RC
- Dunfermline CC
- Leslie Bike Shop
- Spokes RT
- Rightmove Windows RT
- Fife Cycling 2000
- Sandy Wallace Cycles
- Kinross CC
- Hardie Bikes
- Glasgow Wheelers
- Edinburgh RC
- Denny RC
- Law Wheelers
- St.Christopher CC
- Glasgow Couriers
- Dooleys RT
- Johnstone Wheelers
- Perth United
- Dundee Wheelers
- Dundee Thistle
- Angus Bike Chain
- Discovery JCC
- Matabele
I know that I will have forgotten a few but please don't be offended.

The SVTTA were there in force with most of the committee present including close Speed family friend, George McLaughlan.

Scottish Cycling were represented by president Alasdair MacLennan and CEO Craig Burn, with other staff members present too.

The mood was at times somber and at other times a little more light-hearted: gather 200 cyclists together and it's inevitable that they will start to talk (loudly) about cycling! I don't think that Ali would have minded though. There was a hush as he was carried through, his coffin adorned by his Spiuk TT helmet, his Sidi shoes and of course his Fife Century jersey.

Only about 1/8th of those present made it into the chapel, but nobody minded a jot.
Afterwards folk didn't seem inclined to leave and there was much chat and reminiscing before finally people headed off home or on to the hotel.
A sad but memorable day.

11th. September 2013
Alistair's funeral will take place at
Kirkaldy Crematorium on Wednesday 18th. September at 13:30, retiring afterwards to Dunnikier House Hotel.
Mhairi has requested that all cyclists attending should please wear their club colours.

5th. September 2013
R.I.P. Alistair Speed who died today in an accident with a car in Fife, between Strathmiglo and Gateside.

No doubt Ali was out training for the forthcoming Fife 50 which has now been cancelled.
Sincere condolences to Archie, Mhairi, Gavin and the entire Speed dynasty - the big man will be sadly missed.

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