Archive for The history of cycle racing

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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Bath Road 100 mile time trial 1952

Bath Road 100 1952


Ken Beck,the archivist and club secretary of the Southport RCC, has sent me this result sheet from the Bath Road 100 mile time trial in 1952. It was among the papers of the late Bob Bird who finished in tenth place. Not many names I recognise although I know Vic Gibbons was a big hitter back then.
In fifteenth place is Billy McAteer from the famous Birkenhead boxing family. That same year Billy teamed up with Bob Bird to take the Liverpool to London tandem record, that had stood for eighteen years, by just one minute! It is a surprise to see top roadman Fred Krebs one place behind Billy as I have never before seen Krebs in a time trial result.

click on result sheet to enlarge.

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Pic of the Day

Dear oh dear! Now we know why the TDF has those “backless” yellow jerseys! Click to enlarge.



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