Bicycle History (16th July 2012)
Looks like my £50 racer is related to a range of Marlboro-Holdsworth bicycles from 1986. Xtina, a friend of Fiona, thinks Holdsworth were a good make. Judging by this digitised Holdsworth catalogue page the Challenger is the model most like mine (view larger image) but my one has extended brake levers.
Looking on eBay, I found a 1980’s Marlboro Baleno with an oval front logo. Mine seems to have the marks from once having an oval logo, too.
The relationship between Marlboro and Holdsworth is explained near the bottom of this page, 1986: Marlboro-Holdsworths.
The main gearwheel, the long looping brake cables, the shaped lugs for the front forks, all seem distinctive to my bike. The lugs are really visible in the eBay pictures. Finding one machine with all these hallmarks proves elusive, though.
If it ever stops raining I’ll crawl around the frame looking for numbers! Bottom bracket seems like being the best bet. It was advertised as a Marlboro Mirage but I’ve found no history for that model online, so far.