Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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John Woodburn


It’s early Sunday morning late September 1977 and we’ve been driving all night, home from the SKOL London Six Day; daylight has come in and we’re on the A1, northbound.

Bike riders with numbers on their backs start to appear and it dawns on us; ‘we’re on t’ Boro’ as our Yorkshire friends might say – the legendary Boroughbridge dual carriageway time trial course.

We pull in to a lay-by and ask a spectator what the race is; ‘the Harrogate Nova 50 mile time trial,’ he tells us.

It’s the last chance to unseat the late Paul Carbutt from his position at the top of the season long British Best All Rounder time trial competition.

But it’s a cold, blustery morning and that looks unlikely.

There’s a bike leaning against a car, a nice pale blue Ken Ryall with those lovely big barrel Phil Wood hubs; ‘I recognise that!’ I think to myself, ‘That’s John Woodburn’s bike!’

Sure enough, there’s the man himself, quietly getting ready for his ride – we know better than distract a rider before his race but he’s very polite in his soft spoken way to four daft Scotsmen who’ve appeared from nowhere.

The man left us with a nice impression.