Working at the Midland Velodrome is a quietly spoken middle-aged man named Paul Clohessey.
The name rang a bell so with the aid of Google and Wikipedia, I looked him up and subsequently sat down with him for a chat last month. I was especially interested to find out if Paul was the young man in a picture provided by Mavis Jones taking delivery of a rather special racing bike outside the home she shared with her late husband, bike builder Milton Jones.
“Yep. That’s me. 1990 or 1991. I had it built for the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona.”
The bike is - and I’m pleased to say remains - a rather special fillet-brazed road racing tandem built out of Reynolds 531 tubing. It was originally fitted with a Shimano 600 / Ultegra / DuraAce groupset and triple-spoked carbon fibre wheels and cost $6000.
Racing in the Vision Impaired classification, the tandem was initially piloted by Peter Stotzer in Barcelona and thereafter Eddy Hollands. The bike would go on to participate in two more Paralympic Games (Atlanta and Sydney) and two World Championships (Belgium and The Netherlands).
“It was an incredible bike. So stiff.”
At the 1998 Worlds in The Netherlands, Paul felt he and Eddy were good for a podium finish having surprised the opposition with a tandem track gold and broken the world record in the 4k pursuit the day before. From the outset they were marked men though, and the tactics of opposing teams would see them targeted and kept off the podium, finishing 4th overall.
In 1999 the bike was resprayed for the Sydney Olympics in which Paul and Eddy won gold in Sprint and bronze in the time trial. Paul retired from racing after the 2000 Olympics aged 30 years of age.
Paul won numerous gold, silver and bronze medals, broke numerous world records and was awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). The frame now lives with Paul’s brother.
More details and photos can be found in the MHJones Register