KINVER cyclist Walter Fowler has done it again!

Aged 89 years young, he took on world class racing cyclists at Manchester Velodrome - competing in the 2km pursuit event at the 2023 World Masters Track Championships on October 7.

The dynamic octogenarian was crowned winner in the 80-plus age category – having completed the course in three minutes and 17 seconds.

A member of Stourbridge Cycling Club, Walter – known as Wally - raced against not only riders 80-plus but also in the 75 to 79 age range as the categories were merged due to the small number of competitors.

Stourbridge News: Wally Fowler, centre, on the winners' podiumWally Fowler, centre, on the winners' podium (Image: Walter Fowler)

He also took 10th place overall, beating riders many years younger.

Following the event, Wally said his only disappointment was falling 11 seconds behind his record time in the closing laps!

Dave Viner, of Halesowen Athletic & Cycling Club, said of Wally – a former member whose picture graces the club’s hall of fame: “Wally is an inspiration to any person who values good health and fitness in later years.

“To be a national age group champion in any sport - riding on a 45-degree world class cycle track at Manchester is something else.”

Now Wally has his sights on breaking the World Hour Record when he turns 90 next year.

He previously broke the record in the one-hour endurance race at the Geraint Thomas indoor velodrome in Newport, South Wales, in 2019 in the 85 to 89 category – covering 34.602km/21.5miles within an hour; and in 2015 in the 80 to 84 age range – he covered 35.772km/22.2 miles to break the record.

Wally puts his success, good health and longevity down to good genes from his mother who lived to 103.

Since 2008, he’s won three championships and broken eight records since – in a mix of 200m time trial, 500m time trial and 2km pursuit and hour races.

It’s not the winning, however, that motivates him. It’s the taking part that has become a way of life. Essential, in fact.

He explained: “My parents had no money in the Second World War and I had no bike until the slaughter was well and truly over. Then I had one. We were no longer dependent upon parcels of food and clothing from America and Reg Harris (British track racing cyclist) replaced the hopeless vision of strife. What we had we earned and appreciated – my first bike came from a paper round.

“Now, more than 70 years later, life would not be normal or even acceptable if I could not, for any reason, ride my bike. It is nice, of course, to race, but it is certainly not necessary to win. Indeed, as every amateur knows, there is no stronger advocate and supporter in this enduring pastime than the one who knows before he starts that he may come last. He enters the event because he can and he likes it. It is his way of life and it is mine. It is a good life.

“My wife, Margaret, supported my cycling for 50 years and when she died in 2014 I resolved with her spirit to continue riding and racing.

“I hope to have a few more years doing the best I can in the masters’ framework that allows fair, age-related competition. If I cannot race, perhaps I shall find a mountain to climb.”