Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bilsland goes Postal

Yesterday's post on the introduced Scotsman Billy Bilsland. At the end of 1972 a better offer came along from the new Raleigh Team that wanted to promote the brand via a pro team. These were tough years with Peter Post known for his pursuit for the best results. Bilsland did not see him as the British hating view that most others did but rather as someone who simply disliked bad results.
An example was shown at the end of one poor race where the riders arrived to find that the Raleigh Team support was no where to be found. Post had been disappointed with the days outing and this meant the riders had a 20 mile ride back to the team hotel, this time with no support car!
Racing pre-Lemond days meant that riders who were not at the top of the pecking order had to work hard for their bread and butter. The Raleigh Team worked on a fairer system with the riders receiving their money directly after the race, even though the team would only get the money weeks later, and the takings were all split fairly. Bilsland was also gifted with being smart off the bike when at the end of one race he convinced race organizers using his Parisian identity papers, even though he was staying in Belgium, that he should get his traveling costs covered. A bad day racing had still turned in a good day at the bank.
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