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Jack Watson MBE

23 Jan 2018
Jack Watson MBE

Well known cycling administrator Jack watson was awarded an MBE 2018 for his fifty years of service to cycling.

Jack born on the 12th July 1939, grew up in the Shankill Road Belfast and followed his father, Jack, into the sport of cycling in his youth. His first club was the Northern CC and apart from a few years when he was based in England and a member of the Coalville Wheelers (1961-63); he remained in Northern until 1977 when he was one of the founder members of North Down Cycling club in Bangor

In the late 1980s he formed a new club, Velo Club Bangor and more recently was in the Ards CC. His wife Rae was also a keen cyclist and for many years did timekeeping and judging of races. Jack and Rae had two sons Alan and Paul and they also took to the sport in a big way. Jack competed in all aspects of cycling into his early forties but even before his competitive days were over he was becoming involved in the official side of cycling. He held countless posts in the Northern Ireland Cycling Federation during the 1970s and 80s. His roles were as varied as mechanic, selector, commissaire, team manager, timekeeper, judge, secretary, and chairman. He was a member of the tripartite committee in 1978 which unified the three governing bodies in Irish cycling (NCF, NICF, ICF) and healed a fifty-year split. In 1984 Jack was mechanic for the Irish team at the Olympic games in Los Angeles. The role of commissaire was to take top spot after the mid-eighties and he climbed to the top to become a UCI International commissaire with appointments at major events all over the world. He also became involved in the fight against doping in all sports and became a Doping Control officer. Despite all these high-profile commitments Jack did not forget the grass roots and when available he would always be there to commissaire the local league race or time trial in a club event.

In 1988 when the Tripartite committee pushed for the amalgamations of the three existing governing bodies, the Northern Ireland Cycling Federation split and Jack was one of the founders of the Ulster Cycling Federation (now Cycling Ulster) which was the regional Ulster body for the Federation of Irish Cyclists (now Cycling Ireland). Regrettably the split in the North took almost twenty years to solve. Jack was elected the President of Cycling Ireland in 1990 and remained in this post until 1994. At present he is the vice president and honorary secretary of Cycling Ireland (since 1995). In 2003 Jack was presented the UCI (world cycling governing body) Gold Merit Award in recognition of his commitment to national and international cycling. In March 2017 the Union of European Cycling awarded Jack the UEC Merit Award for his contribution to cycling in Ireland and Europe. These awards are richly deserved by Jackie who continues to give to our sport in many roles. He has trained countless new commissaires over the years and his son Paul has emulated him as he is now an International commissaire.

Congratulations Mr Jack Watson MBE, you have encouraged me in all aspects of cycling since I was a young boy for which I am thankful.

Brendan Kirk

(This is only a short resume of Jacks contribution to cycling, a book would be appropriate).

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