Beryl Burton overtakes Mike McNamara to clinch victory in the 12-hour race at Otley, Yorkshire. When she finishes the marathon event after 277 miles, Burton has beaten Britain’s leading male time triallist and achieved something unheard of: she has taken a men’s endurance record outright. The moment enters cycling folklore because of Burton's gesture as she overhauls ‘Mac’: unsure what to do or say, she offers him a liquorice allsort from her pocket.
Burton was a seven-times world champion and multiple national champion, and this was the greatest feat in her 30-year career. The Otley ‘12’ should have been a groundbreaking moment in women’s sport, but along with the rest of Burton’s achievements, it has slipped into relative obscurity.
This new biography from best-selling writer William Fotheringham tells Burton’s story in full for the first time, from the brutal illness that left her bedridden as a teenager to her quarter century at the top of women’s cycling in the UK, and her premature death in 1996.
William Fotheringham is the No.1 best-selling author of Merckx: Half-Man, Half-Bike. He writes for the Guardian on cycling and is the critically acclaimed author of Sunday in Hell, Fallen Angel, Roule Britannia and Put Me Back on My Bike, hailed by Vélo magazine as ‘the best cycling biography ever’.
A racing cyclist and launch editor of Procycling magazine, he has reported on almost 30 Tours de France, four Olympic Games and the Rugby World Cup.