Friday, October 28, 2011

Beryl Burton

Beryl Burton ready to start a time trial.
Beryl Burton, the U.K.'s greatest female bicyclist, was born on May 12, 1937, in Leeds, West Yorkshire. As a child, Beryl had chronic health problems, including rheumatic fever, and spent over a year in a convalescent home. She got married in 1955 and her husband Charlie, introduced her to cycling. 

Beryl's forte was time trialing. Her first championship wins came in 1958 and her last in 1986. During that period she won a total of 72 Road Time Trials Council Championships with 4 at 10 miles, 26 at 25 miles, 24 at 50 miles and 18 at 100 miles length. She was award the British Best All-Rounder for 25 consecutive  years from 1959 - 1983. 

She also won a further 24 national titles in road racing and on the track: twelve road race championships, and 12 pursuit titles.

Burton was also world champion on 7 occasions. (she would have won more titles if the women had a time trial championship. She won in the road race and pursuit title.)

In 1967 Beryl entered the Otley CC 12 Hour Time Trial. She started two minutes behind the fastest man, Mike McNamara. At the end of the 12 hour race Mike McNamara had beaten the 9 year old 12 hour record, finishing 276.52 miles. However, his record beating ride, was completely overshadowed by Beryl's ride which left her with a total of 277.52 miles. She didn't know what to say as she passed McNamara during the 12 hour time trial, so she offered him a liquorice allsort as she passed by. 
Liqourice Allsort

She also set about 50 new national records at 10, 15, 25,30, 50 and 100 miles distances. Her final 10, 25 and 50 mile records each lasted 20 years before being broken, her 100 mile record lasted 28 years, and her 12-hour record still stands today.

In 1982, with her daughter Denise, Burton set a British 10 mile record for women riding a tandem: 21 minutes, 25 seconds.

Burton was not a full time cyclist, she had little in the way of sponsorship and had to work full time. At one time Beryl worked as a rhubarb picker.

Beryl Burton died of heart failure May 8, 1996 during a training ride shortly before her 59th birthday. It has been suggested that her untimely death was associated with her childhood illness.
Beryl Burton

No comments:

Post a Comment