Twenty four hours behind a big motor

Searching in my old copies of Sporting Cyclist for an article about my late club mate Bill Bradley’s win in the 1965 Tour of the SouthWest I came across an interesting piece about Hubert Opperman’s assaults on Road Record Association place to place records in 1935/36. Oppy, as the Australian was universally known, had finished the Tour de France and he won Paris-Brest-Paris in 1931 when it was a pro race. Later in his career he was sponsored by BSA to chase UK records including the End to End.

In the RRA article there is a photo of Oppy wearing a big motor pace style crash hat and he is holding a bike with a small front wheel, pacing style. And here is the interesting bit, the photo is captioned “Opperman in 1925 as a pace follower. He still holds the world motor-paced 24 hour record with 860 miles 367 yards” This was written in 1965 but I will be amazed if that record has been broken.

Think about it, that is almost 36mph for a day and night! And that isn’t allowing for toilet stops and, I would imagine, sit-down feeds. I can find nothing about this amazing ride on the internet. I suspect the ride was done in Australia before Oppy came to Europe but who knows? What a shame that Oppy’s amazing performance seems to have disappeared in to the mists of time.

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