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Maurice Burton – British 20km Champion, 1974


It’s Leicester’s Saffron Lane velodrome, August 1974. The newly crowned British 20 kilometre champion, Maurice Burton waves his bouquet. Sections of the crowd are booing. Is it because the champion rode a tactical race, not killing himself in the winning break, conserving his sprint? Perhaps, but Burton has just made history, he is Britain’s first black senior champion.

Cycling Weekly of the time tells us the championship was a, ‘travesty’ and continues: ‘if Hallam, Moore and Bennett hadn’t run into trouble, Burton would never have been allowed to walk away with it.’

The man that won it was only 18, had made the decisive break and had just beaten the reigning Commonwealth Games 20 kilometre champion, Steve Heffernan and the silver medallist in that event, Murray Hall of Australia into second and third respectively.