Today, 12th May 2017 would have been the 80th Birthday of Beryl Burton, an English Racing Cyclists who dominated Womens cycle races in the UK, winning more than 90 domestic championships, seven world titles and numerous national records.
Beryl Burton OBE (nee Charnock) (12 May 1937 – 5 May 1996) as born in Leeds and lived in the local area all her life. She was introduced to cycling by her husband Charlie, whom she married in 1955.
At first, she wasn’t very good, and had to be pushed round by her club mates – at Morley Cycling Club. By 1956, she had improved and was leading out club rides.
In 1957, Burton took her first national medal – a silver in the national 100 mile Individual Time Trial, and before the decade was over, she was competing internationally.
She won the Womens World Road Race Championships in 1960, was runner up in 1961 and again took the title in 1967.
Cycling on the track, she specialised in the Individual Pursuit, winning the World Championships in 1959,1960,1962,1963 and 1966, Silver medallist in 1961, 1964 and 1968 and Bronze medallist in 1967, 1970, 1971, and 1973.
Burton was almost unbeatable in Time Trial Competitions. In total she won 72 National individual time trial titles and a further 24 national tiles in road racing and on the track.
In 1963, she became the first woman to break 60mins for a 25 mile Time Trial and in 1967 she set a new 12hour record of 277.25 miles. Going 0.73 mile further than the mens record.
She was awarded an OBE in 1964.
Despite receiving many offers from sponsors and invites from professional teams, Burton remained an amateur throughout her life, working on a farm for most of her life.
Beryl and Charlie, had one daughter, Denise, who is also a top cyclist, winning a bronze medal in the 1975 world individual pursuit championship.
Burton, who had lived with heart murmurs all her life, died in 1996 of heart failure, while out on a social ride, delivering birthday invitations for her 59th Birthday Party.
A memorial gardens was established in her home town of Morley, and Morley Cycling Club donated a trophy for the Champion of Champions competition for women – The Beryl Burton Trophy.
In 2009 Burton was inducted into the British Cycling Hall of Fame. And in 2018 she was named as one of the first two inductees into the Rouleur Hall of Fame, alongside Eddy Merckx.
Overall, one of the most prolific of British Winners, but very seldom recognised in her own life time.