Tommy Godwin (cyclist born 1912)

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Tommy Godwin
Personal information
Full nameThomas Edward Godwin
Born1912
 United Kingdom
Died1975
Team information
Current teamRetired
DisciplineRoad - Endurance rider
RoleRider
Rider typeAll-rounder
Amateur team(s)
1926–1938Potteries CC
^Birchfield CC
^Rickmansworth CC
Professional team(s)
1939–1940Rickmansworth CC
^Raleigh-Sturmy Archer
Major wins
More than 200 Amateur and Professional
Road and Time Trial Events

World Endurance record for a single year
- 75,065 miles (120,805 km) in 1939

World Endurance record for 100,000 miles (160,000 km)
in 500 days (May 1940)
Infobox last updated on
March 16, 2012
 
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Tommy Godwin
Personal information
Full nameThomas Edward Godwin
Born1912
 United Kingdom
Died1975
Team information
Current teamRetired
DisciplineRoad - Endurance rider
RoleRider
Rider typeAll-rounder
Amateur team(s)
1926–1938Potteries CC
^Birchfield CC
^Rickmansworth CC
Professional team(s)
1939–1940Rickmansworth CC
^Raleigh-Sturmy Archer
Major wins
More than 200 Amateur and Professional
Road and Time Trial Events

World Endurance record for a single year
- 75,065 miles (120,805 km) in 1939

World Endurance record for 100,000 miles (160,000 km)
in 500 days (May 1940)
Infobox last updated on
March 16, 2012

Tommy Godwin, (1912–1975) was an English cyclist who holds the world cycling records for miles covered in a year (75,065 miles / 120,805 kilometres) and the fastest completion of 100,000 mi (160,000 km).

In 1939, Godwin entered the Golden Book of Cycling as the greatest long-distance rider in the world.[1] He rode 75,065 mi (120,805 km) in a year, averaging over 200 miles per day.[2]

Contents

Early life

Godwin was born in 1912 in Stoke on Trent. To help support his family he worked as a delivery boy for a greengrocer (or newsagent[2]) and with the job came a heavy bike with metal basket. The basket was hacked off and the 14-year-old Godwin won his first 25-mile (40 km) time trial in 65 minutes.[1][2]

Cycling

Amateur career

After his initial time trial success he subsequently clocked inside 1 hour 2 minutes for 25 miles on four occasions, and covered 236 miles in 12 hours.[2]

In 1933 he earned the seventh award in the 'Best All-rounder Road Riding Competition, open to all amateur cyclists in the United Kingdom. His average speed was 21.255 mph.[2] His individual performances were :

Professional career

Godwin left his amateur status at Potteries CC to join Rickmansworth Cycling Club as a professional. After more than 200 road and time trial wins, the mileage record beckoned.[1]

World endurance records

In 1911 the weekly magazine Cycling began a competition for the greatest distance cycled in a single year. The first holder was Marcel Planes of France, with 34,666 miles (55,790 km). The record has been established nine times.[3] A tenth claim, by the English rider Ken Webb, was later disallowed.[n 1]

YearRecord holderCountryDistance
1911Marcel Planes France34,666 miles (55,790 km)
1932Arthur Humbles Great Britain36,007 miles (57,948 km)
1933Ossie Nicholson Australia43,966 miles (70,756 km)
1936Walter Greaves Great Britain45,383 miles (73,037 km)
1937Bernard Bennett England45,801 miles (73,710 km)
1937René Menzies France61,561 miles (99,073 km)
1937Ossie Nicholson Australia62,657 miles (100,837 km)
1939Bernard Bennett England65,127 miles (104,812 km)
1939Tommy Godwin England75,065 miles (120,805 km)

In 1937 the Australian Ossie Nicholson had regained his record from Briton Walter Greaves by covering 62,657.6 mi (100,837.6 km). At 5am on 1 January 1939 Godwin set out to bring the record home. He wasn't alone; two other British riders started that day, Edward Swann and Bernard Bennett. Swann crashed after 939.6 mi (1,512.1 km), but Bennett fought it out with Godwin for the rest of the year. In sportsmanship their support teams, which included pace-makers, stopped at 50,000 mi (80,000 km) to let the riders complete the attempt on personal merit. Godwin was sponsored by the Raleigh Bicycle Company and Sturmey-Archer.[4]

Godwin's bike weighed more than 30 pounds (14 kg). As war came he rode through blackouts, his lights taped to a glow. Silk knickers were substituted for chamois inserts and Godwin maintained his vegetarian diet. For the first two months Godwin's mileage lagged 922 mi (1,484 km) behind Nicholson's schedule. Godwin increased his daily average beyond 200 mi (320 km) a day, and on 21 June 1939 completed 361 mi (581 km) in 18 hours, his longest ride of the record.

On 26 October 1939 Godwin rode into Trafalgar Square having completed 62,658 mi (100,838 km), gaining the record with two months to spare. He rode through the winter to complete 75,065 mi (120,805 km) in the year.

In May 1940 after 500 days' riding he secured the 100,000-mile (160,000 km) record as well. Godwin dismounted and spent weeks learning how to walk before going to war in the RAF.

Later career

Godwin returned in 1945, keen to race as an amateur. However, despite a petition by fellow cyclists, the governing bodies ruled that having ridden as a professional he was barred from amateur status. Godwin became trainer and mentor to the Stone Wheelers. Godwin died aged 63, returning from a ride to Tutbury Castle with friends.

Commemoration

Godwin is commemorated by a plaque at Fenton Manor Sports Centre in Stoke on Trent that was unveiled on March 2005 by Edie Hemmings, the culmination of a 30-year campaign by her late husband, George. [5]

The record is still open for challenge but not for entry in the Guinness Book of Records, whose editors say further attempts would be too dangerous.

Citation in the Golden Book

Godwin entered the Golden Book of Cycling on 31 December 1939. This recognised his record breaking exploits for averaging over 200 miles a day for a year.[2]

Notes

  1. ^ Ken Webb's claim was for 80,647 miles (129,789 km) in 1972. Webb insisted he had completed the distance but others said he hadn't and he was removed from the Guinness Book of Records.

References

External links