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'Pocket Rocket' Steve Joughin's autobiography hits the bookstore shelves

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 “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 very soon. Signed copies of Pocket Rocket are available from

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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antonio | 13 years ago

I remember him all to well, he used to have a team mate, a big guy who's name I can't remember leading him out, it was no contest when these two hit the front.

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