Jack Conyers

Jack Herbert Conyers was born in the suburb of Brighton, South Australia (S.A) on January 10, 1912 he was the eldest of 13 children.
By the age of 23 Conyers had taken fastest times at the 40-mile road race held by Payneham (S.A) Cycle Club in 1935 and followed this feat again at the Glenelg (S.A) Club Cycling road race.Conyers on start lineDuring the 1930’s Conyers became a member of the Super Elliott professional team, he with sponsored cyclists Keith Thurgood, Deane Toseland and Phil Thomas would compete at cycling carnivals and dominate at track and road events often competing in various Australian states.
In 1936, Conyers won the 26-mile held by the Payneham Cycling Club (S.A), the course consisted of two laps from Payneham through to Highbury, Paradise and Glynde, Conyers proved too strong for the field with Deane Toseland finishing behind but securing fastest time.
Conyers established himself as an all-rounder and was surging in SA as a leading cyclist by 1938, taking double wins at the 1/2 and 2-mile Langhorne’s Creek (S.A) road race and the 10 mile at Naracoorte (S.A).
In 1943, Conyers rode at his best to win the annual “Healing 50” contest, held from Enfield- Gawler (S.A), Conyers had averaged a fraction less than 2 minutes, 28 seconds per mile and awarded £15 in prize money.
Polly the PontiacAs a member of the Super Elliott Professional team, the foursome of Conyers, Toseland, Thurgood and Thomas would often be on the road by car traveling to meets, they packed their cycle belongings including bikes and would drive the Super Elliott team car named “Polly” the Pontiac. Bikes were strapped in all arrangements around “Polly” and securely tied.
The car would frequent all major cycling carnivals around the state with interstate travels, each would take turns at driving while the others rested and exchanged stories along the way. On an occasion “Polly” suffered axle and rear springs trouble on the way home from Victoria, they opted to use a branch on the side of the road which they found to get them out of trouble and safely returned back to Adelaide. “Polly” became a bit of a legend and crowds would swarm upon the arrival of the car.
Training ride with Keith Thurgood (far left)Conyers training consisted of many miles on the road, it was common that he would leave in the morning and return at night from his training rides, his longer training rides were sometimes to Barmera (S.A) through the Adelaide hills via Gawler way (S.A) and shorter rides often frequenting Brighton (S.A) and the Adelaide city. Conyers and his Super Elliott team competed on many occasions in Tasmania; it was one of his favorite places to race, carnivals held at Devonport, Launceston, Hobart and La Trobe were attended with great success, its 8-day carnivals with totals of £3500 prize money offered lured the team and other Australian riders to return on many occasions.
In 1947, Conyers wasn’t having the best of luck; his frame broke in the 50-mile state Championships but managed third place, in the Burra-Adelaide (S.A) he punctured twice and in the Pt. Pirie-Adelaide (S.A) he pulled his wheel and lost valuable ground to finish not as expected however in 1948, Conyers won the State 100-mile pro road championship (S.A), the race was marked with a big bunch crash near the finish line and only 18 of the 28 completed the course, his experience with his superb fitness had pulled off a convincingly win.
By 1950, Conyers was riding as a veteran and still very active, he narrowly won the 8-lap “Aces” scratch match held at Goodwood Oval (S.A) and well known for his road success he also had an interest in motor pacing and attempted to break the record at a combined clubs carnival at Goodwood Oval (S.A) in 1951.
On a test ride at the oval, Conyers had averaged 40 mph and in another trial 33 mph against strong wind and in unfavorable weather. Conyers set out to attempt the 3 or 5 mile record and with some alterations to both to the motor cycle and bicycle to done prior the racing day he had hoped to improve his chances of success.
Motor pacing had started to diminish during the depression years of the 1930’s and Conyers felt he could revive this section of the sport after a lapse of 23 years. On race day Conyers set the state 5 mile record and averaged 36-37 mph.
In January 1952 Conyers took part in the official opening of the Norwood Cycling Arena located at Osmond Terrace (S.A) its opening saw a three night cycling carnival and featured many cycling greats including Dean Whitehorn and Sid Patterson, the cycle track was banked at 30 degrees and racing was held every Friday night during the summer period. 1st place VictoryIn the same year Conyers rode one of his most memorable races, at the age of 40 he went on to win the SA 125 mile professional Burra-Adelaide (S.A) road race with 2 broken ribs, the race was full of excitement where Conyers had suffered a fall in Greenock and during the course of the race his chain fell off six times and it was unlikely he would finish but he amazed spectators with a courageous performance to win. The last 50 yards had Keith Thurgood close to Conyers wheel however Conyers chose to ride in a higher gear while other competitors rode low gear and this proved a help to Conyers win by two lengths,
prior to this Conyers had won two Mildura Wheelrace (S.A) and the Big Renmark 2-mile (S.A) where he defeated Deane Toseland.
As a versatile cyclist Conyers also participated in tandem events pairing up with Frank Thomas, issuing challenges at meetings, becoming SA’s tandem champions.
Retirement soon followed however in September 1953, Conyers and Keith Thurgood as veterans rode at the BHAS picnic and sports meeting at Crystal Brook, the meeting coincided with the start of the opening of the professional track racing season.
Conyers favorable pastime was fishing, it was his way of relaxing and with Keith Thurgood would often travel to Cape Jervois, SA to fish.  They frequented many of SA’s prime fishing locations and enjoyed the getaway from cycling.
Conyers shared his racing knowledge with upcoming younger riders as a trainer and had also become Manager at Super Elliott’s store at 200 Rundle Street, Adelaide.
Jack Conyers died in the early 1960’s.

Jack Conyers

 

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