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The original Isle of Man sprinter with military ordnance-related nickname tells his story

It may not the first autobiography of a sprinter from the Isle of Man to hit the shelves, but this month sees the publication of the story of Steve Joughin, who was riding for Britain in World Championships and winning the national road race championship before Mark Cavendish was even born, and promises to be as gripping a read as the Manx Missile’s Boy Racer.

Nicknamed the Pocket Rocket – the monicker was bestowed on him by none other than Phil Liggett, who also pens the foreword – Joughin was twice national champion at pro level, and was also one of the home riders who helped break the Eastern European stranglehold on the Milk Race.

The book, which costs £8.99, charts his successful rise through the amateur ranks and onto the pro scene, followed by his personal, near-fatal battle with alcoholism after the end of his pro career and subsequent re-emergence as a businessman – his cycling wear company supplies the classification leaders’ jerseys for the Tour of Britain, among other races – and family man.

Although he’s lived in Stoke-on-Trent for the past three decades, Steve hasn’t forgotten his Manx roots, and will be returning the Isle of Man this week for two signing and Q&A sessions.

The first of those takes place tomorrow, Thursday 21 October, at Waterstone’s in Strand Street, Douglas at 7pm, with tickets costing £2 available from the store. All proceeds from tickets will go to the James Berry Fund, in memory of the 13-year-old up-and-coming rider from the Island who died in 2005 when he was struck by a lorry wheel while out training. Steve has also requested that a proportion of the proceeds from the book go towards the Fund.

The second talk takes place at the the Lexicon, also in Strand Street, Douglas, next Saturday lunchtime, October 23, from 11.30am to 1pm.

John Quirk, owner of Nemesis, the book’s publishers, said: “Steve’s lived a fascinating life so far and, given the humour within his autobiography, we’re sure he will prove to be a hugely entertaining speaker. That said, he’ll no doubt be brutally open and honest about the difficulties he’s been through as well. With proceeds from the talk going towards the James Berry Fund, we’re keen to see a good turnout in order to both raise money for the Fund and increase its public profile.

“Of course, not everyone will be able to make the Waterstone’s event, and if you miss out on a signed copy of Pocket Rocket on that night, make sure you go along to the Lexicon on Saturday lunchtime. Steve’s only over in the Island for a few days, so best strike while the iron’s hot!”

Yesterday, at the launch of the 2011 Tour de France in Paris, news of Joughin’s book interested Mark Cavendish, who told road.cc “I’ve known him for years, he’s a great guy.”

Look out for our review of Pocket Rocket, written by Steve in partnership with Isle of Man-based cycling journalist Richard Allen, here on road.cc very soon. Signed copies of Pocket Rocket are available from www.provisionclothing.com
 

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.