|Reg Harris 1947|
At the age of 14 Reg Harris left school and became an apprentice as an automobile mechanic. During this time he saved enough money to buy his first bicycle. He entered a roller-race and his ability was obvious. He joined the Lancashire Road Club and won his first race in 1935 on a grass track. He also started to compete in individual time trials.
In 1936 Harris won his first events in a true velodrome at Fallowfield Stadium in Manchester. In 1938 he was racing well and joined the Manchester Wheeler Club. Harris won a major event in 1939 and was selected for the British World Championship Team. He was preparing for the World Championships in Milan at the Vigorelli Velodrome when World War II broke out and the British team had to return to the UK.
Reg Harris was a tank driver for the 10th Hussars in the North Africa Campaign during World War II. He was injured and found unfit for military service in 1943. Despite his military medical status he won in 1944 the 1,000 yards (910 meters), quarter-mile and five mile (8 kilometers) British National Cycling Championships. He won three more national titles in 1945.
In 1947 Reg Harris won the Amateur World Sprint Championship in Paris. He was working for bicycle manufacturer Claud Butler and had his bicycles and equipment supplied by the company. Harris was barely hanging on to his amateur status so that he could compete in the 1948 Olympics. At this time an athlete still had to be an amateur to compete in the Olympic games.
Three months before the 1948 Olympics Reg Harris was involved in an accident while riding on the road. He fractured two of his vertebrae, but continued to train hard. Then just three weeks before his olympic events he fell while competing in a 16 kilometer race and broke his elbow. Harris continued training with his elbow in a plaster cast. He raced the Olympic sprint and tandem sprints. The injuries undoubtedly took a toll on his performance, but he still won a silver medal in each event.
|Reg Harris beats Kain (Austria) 1951|
A 1963 Reg Harris Professional Model
Click here for an excerpt from Two Wheels To The Top by Reg Harris. This section is about his time working for Raleigh Bicycles.
Click here for an excerpt from Two Wheels To The Top describing Reg Harris experience operating his bicycle company.
Harris returned to racing in 1971 and in 1974 at the age of 54 won the British Sprint Title.
Harris continued to ride his bicycle for the rest of his years and in 1992 while riding near his home in Macclesfield he suffered a stroke. Harris died on June 22, 1992. A bronze statue of him in action was unveiled in 1994 on the third turn of the velodrome at the National Cycling Center in Manchester, England.
|Bronze Statue of Reg Harris at the velodrome in Manchester.|