Profile: Joe Waugh

The man behind M Steel Cycles in Newcastle was formerly a road racer for Britain - and a good one at that...

Joe’s racing career spans some 32 years from his first event in a club 10 in 1968 to the present day. He is best remembered for bringing back a Gold Medal from the Commonwealth Games Team Time Trial in Brisbane Australia in 1982, and for his storming rides in the Milk Race. Joe was a superb stage race rider who could climb with the best in the world, pull out magnificent rides against the clock and drive a break as if there was no tomorrow.

He rode his first Milk Race in 1973 and is still not sure how he came to be picked ! He was the revelation of the home riders finishing 15th overall after a mature performance. He spent 1974 in Metz in northern France riding for the VC Metz but came home to win the National Hill Climb Championship on Holme Moss.

Most of 1975 was spent in France again but Joe returned home to ride the Milk Race and produced a storming ride to take the King of the Mountains jersey and 7th overall. 1976 was to be his best year ever in this event as a member of the all conquering GB team with Bill Nickson, Bob Downs, Paul Carbutt, Dudley Hayton a nd Phil Griffiths. Only 5 seconds separated Joe and Bill Nickson at the finish with Joe at the wrong end of them!  This was also an Olympic year and in the road race at Montreal in Canada Joe started the winning break to be joined by eventual winner Bernt Joha nnson, future top pros Klaus Peter Thaler and Fons de Wolf and American George Mount. The dream was shattered when he hit a wet drain cover and came down. Johannson said afterwards that Joe was the rider he feared most. To finish his season he came back from Canada and won the National Hill Climb again.

The following two years were a bit thin on the ground for international success but the National medals kept coming with a win in the Team Time Trial for his GS Strada team in 1977.

Back to his winning ways in 1979 he won 32 races that year including a stage in the Milk Race and another Gold in the Team Time Trial. He also went to the World Championships at Valkenburg in Holland as a member of the Team Time Trial squad. However the biggest disappointment of the year was a silver medal in the National Road Race championship to a certain Robert Millar.

1980 was an other Olympic year which saw him in Moscow riding both the Road Race and the Team Time Trial. 1980 also brought another Gold medal in the National Team Time Trial. But the best win of the year was the GP Felix Melchoir in Luxembourg, a five day stage race with a field containing six past and current world champions. This was the first win by a GB rider of a continental stage race for eight years. At the end of this year Joe joined Dave and Geoff at M.Steel Cycles, his accounting skills being an ideal compliment to the engineering skills already present in the company.  Joe's name was the logical choice for all the company's racing frames and the Gold Medal model became synonymous with top quality. His connections with the top end of the cycling world resulted in many of the countries top riders using frames from the M.Steel Cycles workshop.

1981 saw his fourth and final National Team Time Trial Gold medal with the GS Strada, a stage win in the Milk Race, a win in the Manx International and a trip to Czheckoslovakia for the World Championship Team Time Trial.

1982 was to see the end of his international career with a second win in the Manx International making him only the third rider ever to have done this, a ride in the Team Time Trial at the Worlds at Goodwood in Sussex and that magnificent Commonwealth Gold Medal in Brisbane.

Time trialling has always been one of Joe's specialities, a fact attested by no less than 13 RTTC national medals.

Within six months of retiring Joe was fighting for his life after being hit by a drunken taxi driver on his way home from a company meeting. His horrendous injuries would almost certainly have finished a lesser man. Thankfully, his will to win triumphed and he emerged from the experience as he puts it, "in one piece".

After his recovery, active cycling took a back seat due to the demands of running the business. Joe is a qualified accountant and looks after the admin and retail side of M.Steel Cycles. However, old habits die hard and in 1995 Joe again started riding his bike "seriously". Initially riding local time trials, by 1997 he was competing at national level. He won a team medal in the National 10 mile championship and despite only limited training has achieved a 10 time of 20.31 a personal best, a 25 time of 5 2.02, and a 50 of 1.54.38.

Although Joe's racing has again taken a back seat due to demands of the business, he and his son completed the 180 mile Rievers Coast to Coast ride in October 2000 in a "magnificent" 3 days hard riding.

Joe has a wealth of experience to draw on and his contribution to the development of the company's products has been priceless. This carries on today with his continued involvement in racing and ensures that M.Steel Cycles remain at the forefront of their field.

Joe Waugh's shop, M. Steel Cycles is on Cyclorama - if you find yourself in Newcastle, swing by!