Cyclists are gearing up for a day of nostalgia to mark the 75th anniversary of Britain’s first ever road race which had its birthplace in Wolverhampton.

And they will be remembering the city’s world-famous cycle racer and builder Percy Stallard, who organised and championed the historic 59-mile race.

Despite opposition at the time, from the National Cyclists’ Union, Percy Stallard organised the road race for 40 cyclists who rode from Llangollen to Wolverhampton on June 7 1942.

To celebrate the landmark event, which changed the face of British cycling, people are invited to the City Archives, in the restored Molineux Hotel, on Saturday June 3.

Scores of restored Stallard bikes, a Sunbeam and other Wolverhampton-made cycles will be on show alongside displays, photographs and memories about the ground-breaking race and the city’s cycling hero Percy Stallard.

The Friends of the Archives will provide refreshments and Wolverhampton City Radio is broadcasting its regular Saturday Sport Report live from the event from 10am-12 noon.

Percy, who died aged 92 in 2001, ran his cycle shop in Broad Street and made much sought-after bespoke cycles. He became a member of the Wolverhampton Wheelers Cycling club and was a keen competitor in cycle races, competing for Great Britain in international races during the 1930s, including three consecutive world championships in 1933, 1934 and 1935. He was also a successful cycling coach and team captain.

He came up against opposition for his planned road race because up until 1942 cycling in Britain was all track racing but Percy wanted a mass road race much like those held on the continent.

He was quoted years later as saying “I just explained to the police what I was doing and told them that things like that were normal on the Continent and they said they were happy and that they'd try to help.”

He got sponsorship from the Express & Star and offered any profits to the newspaper's Forces Comfort Fund, and recruited 40 riders to take part. The rest was history.

Councillor John Reynolds, cabinet member for City Economy, said: “Wolverhampton has many famous sons and Percy Stallard was certainly one of them. He was instrumental in changing the face of British cycling with this road race and so it is only right we mark its 75th anniversary.”

Bike enthusiast and collector Luke Williams, who is helping to organise the event, added: “Percy’s own bikes are legendary and examples of them, along with other Wolverhampton makes, will be on show. It will be wonderful to see lots of cycling enthusiasts at the archives to celebrate the city’s cycling heritage and the anniversary of this historic event.”