The British cycling community bade a fond farewell to Sir Jimmy Savile, who passed away at his home in Leeds on Saturday October 29, two days short of his 85th birthday.

Savile was a man who had successfully straddled the gulf between mainstream celebrity and the cycling world.

While known to the wider public for his jewellery, shell suits and TV show Jim’ll Fix It before answering the call of TV and radio, the sporting world welcomed a young Savile as a semi-pro cyclist, wrestler and marathon runner.

He was a prolific fundraiser and a strong supporter of a number of cycling charities. The cycling community enjoyed Savile’s patronage of various events, and he was a strong supporter of the Dave Rayner Fund, having been involved with the fund since its inception in 1995, and attended the annual dinner most years.

“You could always tell when Jimmy, or Oscar as many older riders called him, entered the room,” Dave Rayner Fund committee member Martyn Bolt told CW.

“He always tried to speak to everyone at the dinner each year, although I’m not sure what some of our Continental star guests such as Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain thought when they first met him!”

As Oscar ‘The Duke’ Savile, he competed in the 1951 edition of the Tour of Britain, and later worked on the race as a commentator. Fans and riders loved him in equal measure, with British pros often asking to have their photo taken with him at stage starts.

In later years, whenever the race headed through Yorkshire – as it has most years – the unmistakeable figure of Sir Jimmy could usually be found cheering from the roadside near his home.

Sir Jimmy Savile’s funeral will take place on Wednesday, November 9, at St Anne’s Catholic cathedral in Leeds.

Sir Jimmy Savile with Chris Boardman (left) and Mark Cavendish (right) at the 2008 Dave Rayner Dinner

Sir Jimmy welcomes Lizzie Armitstead at the 2010 Dave Rayner Dinner

Sir Jimmy with Russell Downing and Bradley Wiggins in 2009

Sir Jimmy with Keith Lambert

Sir Jimmy ‘Oscar’ Savile in the 1950s

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  • Angel Gabriel

    By AD 2013….
    Jimmy Savile…..
    There’s a lot now known & even more still unknown about Jimmy Savile & his many evil cohorts at the BBC & Beyond. Unfortunately Savile was not a “One-Off” . . . . .
    Cycling Weekly do justice to the awful Savile matter by publishing evidence of the gluey gullibility paradigm that surrounded & facilitated the entire Savile entity.
    Cycling Weekly enables people everywhere to witness the stark contrast between the
    ‘Pre’ & ‘Post’ Savile ages. -When the entire United Kingdom was horribly exposed to its immeasurable gullibility to BBC broadcasting: Of smiling facades with nothing but pure evil behind them.
    Savile -something so squalid, so evil, could reach so far & survive so long with the support, encouragement & pay of The BBC . . . .

  • Harry Watson

    In the early 1950s I was a member of Meanwood Wheelers and later as Leeds Wellington.Like many other clubs riders from the Leeds area we used train around the dales during summer evenings and it seemed that most groups ended at Otley market and came back to Leeds in an impromptu massed race.
    (Oscar ) Jim Savile has been known to join in the fun and odd seen around Wharfedale areas, I not know whether Jim was in a club but I fancy he may have been a member of St Christophers or Yorkshire R C club or S Leeds BLRC
    I was an Apprentice in Leeds City and I saw Jim driving up Briggate in a Roll Royce wearing his Stetson that would be when he was disco jockey at the Arcade Locarno dance hall. All best Harry

  • Denise

    It was many years ago now when Dad was driving the car along Otley Road in Leeds and we passed Sir Jimmy out on the road cycling. He was wearing a very conspicuous close fitting hand knitted suit which if I remember correctly was royal blue. He may have been training for some cycling event then or just out enjoying cycling but as kids what delighted us most was when we waved and the famous man waved back.

    Throughout his life Sir Jimmy did so much for so many it would be appropriate and fitting if a cycling event were to be named in his memory.

  • stuart stanton

    Thousands of people have passed through the Queens Hotel, Leeds today, viewing the coffin and paying respects Tomorrow’s funeral and burial later in the day at Scarborough promise to be events on an unprecedented scale for a ‘commoner’. I hope CW,, as a market leader, will take a proactive role in kick-starting a fitting cycling tribute.

  • Mark Jones

    Jimmy will be missed and we need more like him involved with cycling. I think many cyclists have memories of Jimmy and mine was seeing him drive past us on Downham Moor during the final stage of the Kellogg’s Tour in the early 90′s. They ought to bring back the shortlived Leeds Classic in his memory. A great man who did so much for charity and as someone brought up in the 70′s Jim’ll Fix It was essential Saturday tea time viewing.

  • Sheldon

    I now hope cycling weekly will do a feature on another great Yorkshire cyclist who recently passed away – Danny Horton. Danny was the British professional road champion in 1972. For more information on Horton see my post on the forum.
    Jimmy did a lot for cycling, I saw him out on the bike quite a few times and he would always have a chat with you.

  • arronski

    Did not know he competed in the 1951 edition of the Tour of Britain, man of many talents, eccentric British legend , rest in peace Jimmy.