La storia di Reg Harris (1920-1992), il più grande ciclista britannico su pista di tutti i tempi, è stata raccontato in un libro da Robert Dineen, Reg Harris. The Rise and the Fall of Britain's greatest Cyclist (Random Press, 2012) , un libro che - anche con il supporto di una ricca documentazione fotografica racconta di questo eroe popolare di umili origini l'ascesa alla gloria dei massimi risultati sportivi e la caduta a causa delle sue incontrollate passioni per le auto, per la bella vita e per ogni sorta di "vizi". Ma, mlgrado la sua "caduta", nell'immaginario degli appassionati del ciclismo britannico, è rimasto sempre un eroe che ha compiuto indimenticantibili imprese.
Reg Harris, whose statue overlooks the Manchester Velodrome, is the legend who all track cyclists want to emulate. He was a poor, working-class boy born in the Depression who escaped the Lancashire mills to utterly dominate his sport. He triumphed as world champion an incredible five times between 1947 and 1954 and performed medal-winning heroics at the London Olympics.
At his peak he was the most adored sportsman in the country, a British cycling superstar, attracting huge crowds, sponsorship, and the company of the rich and famous. But, fiercely driven and ruthlessly single-minded, Harris had a dark side. His was a sensational life fuelled by an insatiable need for money, celebrity, fast cars and beautiful women that constantly threatened to destroy him.
Following an exhaustive investigation, Robert Dineen has uncovered an epic sporting rise and fall – a story more astounding than anyone had known.
(Dal risguardo di copertina) The sensational story of the rise and fall of Reg Harris, Britain's first cycling hero. Thanks to exhaustive new research and investigation Robert Dineen has unearthed a truly cinematic story. This epic account of Reg Harris's meteoric success takes you from his humble beginnings to his spectacular highs and his dramatic lows.
Born into a poor, working-class family during the Great Depression, Reg Harris left school early to help support his widowed mother working in a bicycle shop. But after winning a local cycling competition, Harris realised his natural abilities and began to train seriously. Working in a paper mill to fund his ambitions, Harris soon started winning enough races to leave the mill and went on to break the rules of amateurism and become the favourite for three titles in the 1948 Olympics. But Harris's dreams of gold were shattered when he was involved in a high-speed car accident that nearly left him paralysed. However, Harris's determination and drive meant he defied the odds and he went on not only to compete in the Olympics but to win two silver medals.
From there, Harris's career went stellar and he became one of the most famous sporting figures in the land, eclipsing even footballers. Winning five World Championships between 1949 and 1954, fame, money and adulation followed, and with it an insatiable appetite for beautiful women, fine wine and fast cars that all threatened to destroy him. After blowing all his money, two failed marriages and a disastrous business venture, Harris made a shock come-back winning the British Championship at age 54. But was there a dark side to this celebrated victory? Through interviews with those who knew Harris best, Robert Dineen reveals both the professional triumphs and personal tribulations of this sporting legend.
Reginald Hargreaves Harris (1 March 1920 – 22 June 1992) was a British from Lancashire track racing cyclist in the 1940s and 1950s. He joined the 10th Hussars in World War II and was a tank driver in the North Africa campaign before being wounded and invalided out of the services. Despite his discharge he went on to win the World Amateur Sprint in Paris in 1947 and won Olympic Sprint silver and Olympic Tandem Sprint silver in 1948.
He won the world amateur sprint title in 1947, two Olympic silver medals in 1948, and the professional title in 1949, 1950, 1951 and 1954. His ferocious will to win made him a household name in the 1950s, but he also surprised many with a comeback more than 20 years later, winning a British title in 1974 at the age of 54.