John Woodburn



Died 14th April 2017 aged 80.


He was RTTC national 25-mile time trial champion in 1961.

In 1982 aged 45 he set a Lands End to John O’Groats  (end-to-end) record with a time of 45 hours, 3 minutes and 16 seconds. His record remained for over eight years.

In 2001 he received his award as best British Veteran from Eddy Merckx at the RTTC Champions Evening at Derby.

In July 2002 he broke the 50-mile time-trial National Age Record for over 65’s. He completed the Didcot course fourth overall in 1 hour 47 minutes and 40 seconds, breaking the record by nearly three minutes.

At 70 he rode a 10-mile time trial in 21 minutes 48 seconds.

He is in the Guinness Book of Records with a time of 9 hours 3 minutes 7 seconds for London to Bath and return.

He has also cycled well over 500 miles in 24 hours. He broke the Cardiff to London record on a Moulton Speed, covering 162 miles at an average speed of 24 miles per hour.

In May 2012 he re-rode the Leipzig-Berlin stage of the 1955 Peace Race as part of the Alf Buttler Peace Race Tribute Ride.


“Peter John Woodburn”

In its widest interpretation, the description “champion all-rounder” sums up John Woodburn’s racing achievements in a career that has already spanned more than 40 years. And along the way he became the RTTC Best all-rounder in 1978.

Whether competing in time trials, road races, or on the track, he has ridden with a grit and determination which have gained a unique place in the sports record books.

No one else can claim to have won the national 25 miles title (1961) and much later (1980), at the age of 44, become 24 hour champion – and only the second rider to exceed 500 miles.

Another Woodburn “first” was to win both the 12 hours and 24 hours championships in the same year (1981).

Woodburn’s early racing career includes a spell as a semi-professional. In 1962 he was national independant pursuit champion and also added to his laurels when he finished 14th in the Peace Race and second in the Tour of St Lawrence.

Woodburn again broke new ground in 1962 when riding a Moulton and breaking the RRA London – Cardiff figures. Other place-to-place records followed but outshining all his other achievements was to beat the Land’s End to John o’Groats record in 1982 with a time of 1 day 21hrs 3min 19sec.

That ride alone was sufficient to place his name permanently among the greats in a sport where personal satisfaction so often outweighs material rewards.

Club: Manchester Wheelers

Age: 55

Alf Engers remembers John Woodburn

(The Pedal Club – 10th May 2017)


“Most of you will be aware of the death of my long-term friend John Woodburn.


I first met John in the mid 50’s and in later years we were to become club mates.


Fierce cycling rivalry existed between us. I remember that John entered a fast 25 on the Southend Road and requested to be last man, as he would like to beat the club record. The organiser obliged being unaware that the club record was also competition record. John’s time came perilously close, much to my discomfort.


Indeed, such was our rivalry that during a Devil at Halesowen Track, I was out and Woodburn was in, this being completely unacceptable to me. I later remonstrated to the judge and believe I had my hands around his throat, much to the amusement of other riders. I was later informed that he was an England selector.


John went on to establish many long distance records. He became National 25-mile champion and rode the Peace Race. The underlying theme throughout John’s career was his total dedication to his sport.


5 4 3 2 1 for the last time my friend – RIP”

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