TRAINING TRAGEDY CLAIMS LIFE OF WORD RECORD HOLDER

 

Daily Mail, Friday, February 11, 2000dailymailbanner

TRAINING TRAGEDY CLAIMS LIFE OF WORD RECORD HOLDER

Crash with lorry kills Britain’s top speed cyclist. Daily Mail Reporter

SPEED cycling champion Bruce Bursford has been killed while out training.

The 41-year-old, who held four world records, was hit from behind by a seven-ton lorry.

He is believed to have died instantly in the accident on the A47 at Easton, near Norwich, on Wednesday. The 35-

Super-rider : Bruce BUrsford with the Ultimate Bike which he designed to help him break a lost of world speed records
Super-rider : Bruce BUrsford with the Ultimate Bike which he designed to help him break a lost of world speed records

year-old lorry driver, from Toftwood, Norfolk, escaped unhurt.

Mr Bursford, who was renowned for his supreme fitness rerme amd had thighs with a circumference of 36ins, was on his daily 40-mile training ride on the roads around his home in Dereham, Norfolk. His wife Tracey and two daughters, Samantha, ten, and Jade, six, were last night being comforted by friends and relatives.

Mr Bursford’s trainer, 31- year-old Cefyn Lloyd, had been due to go out riding with his friend, but cancelled at the last minute because of work conunitments.

‘His death Is an absolute tragedy and has left his family devastated,’he said.

‘Bruce was a dedicated athlete who was supremely focused and an inspiration for others.

‘He would usually train for four to five hours every day ‘It could easily have been me who was killed with him. He was due to have been riding tandem with me – but in the end he went out on his own because I had a work commitment.

‘The one consolation is that his death was instant. We believe he never regained consciousness after he was hit.’ Mr Bursford became a record-breaker after designing the revolutionary Ultimate Bike. It weighed 10lb and was made out of the same light-weight carbon fibre material as the Stealth bomber and the Space Shuttle.

He used a prototype to ride at 207mph on a treadmill in 1995 – smashing the world cycle speed record by 5Omph. He later beat this record by reaching 212mph. Last August, he set another record when he rode four miles on a road at an average speed of 38.7mph – more than 4mph faster than the record set by his British rival, Chris Boardman.

Mr Bursford also boasted of reaching 7Omph while riding the bike on flat roads and or hitting 175mph in the slip-stream of a MeLaren PI sports car being driven on an airfield. His passion for cycling began when he was a teenager and had a Saturday job at a cycle shop In his home town of New- market, Suffolk.

His dedication and rigorous fitness regime helped him compete in 193 countries. To build up

his strength, he used to eat 10,000 calories in the 24 hours before each of his record attempts. He used a psychological training programme drawn up by spoon bender Uri Geller to give him an edge over his rivals. Last night Mr Geller described Mr Bursford, who

‘He loved a challenge’

he had known for seven years, as ‘the kindest, purest, most powerful and loving person I have ever known. Mr Geller added that he has one of Mr Bursford’s bikes displayed on his wall. ‘I did not sleep very well last night,’ he said. ‘To wake up and go into the living room and look at the bike and feel he is never coming back is devastating.’

He revealed that Mr Bursford had been planning to go to Australia to attempt the world land-speed record.

‘The one thing with Bruce was that he did not care about the business and money side, he just really wanted a challenge,’he added. It was this desire to succeed that led Mr Bursford to design his super-bike. Built at a cost of £1million, the Ultimate Bike went into production in Norfolk in 1998 with models selling for between £9,000 and £25,000.

The handlebars and forks are shaped like aircraft wings.

The front wheel has three wing-shaped spokes so that wind from the side can help propel the cycle, while the back wheel is covered to make it more streamlined. The tyres are inflated to three tunes normal racing pressure and have a silicon coating to cut friction by 13 per cent.

The bike was given a Millennium Product Award by the British Design Council.

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