The Ultramarathon Cycling Association (UMCA) says it has disqualified London-based bike mechanic Bruce Berkeley’s attempt to set a record for the greatest distance cycled in a year for non-compliance with its rules.
The organisation says it agreed to become the certifying body for the record, which it terms the Highest Annual Mileage Record (HAM’R) “in response to requests from the ultracycling community ... as no other body was willing to take on this record.”
Berkeley is the current holder of the Guinness World Records for the greatest distances ridden in a week and in a month, but that body does not recognise an annual distance record because it considers it too dangerous to attempt [Editor's note: Since this article was published we have been informed this is not the case and are checking with Guinness World Records].
With the USA’s Kurt Searvogel joining Great Britain’s Steve Abraham 12 months ago in setting out to try and beat the ‘unbreakable’ Year record of 75,065 miles set by Tommy Godwin in 1939, the UMCA agreed to set the rules for the challenge and certify the record to guarantee transparency.
When Berkeley said last year he was attempting the year record during 2016, no reference was made to the UMCA or the HAM’R, although he said his distance would be recorded on Strava.
Replying to a question on Twitter on 2 January, when he was asked whether he had registered with the UMCA for the HAM’R he replied, “Yes I have,” although as far as road.cc is aware he has never appeared on the official list of competitors.
As initial news of his disqualification was revealed on Sunday morning on his Facebook page through a post by Chris ‘Hoppo’ Hopkinson, Berkeley wrote: “What a load of rubbish, an admin error at their end!”
But subsequently, in a statement on its website, the UMCA’s records chairman, Drew Clark, confirmed: “Bruce Berkeley has been officially disqualified in his HAM’R.
“He was not in compliance with the rules when he started. The UMCA gave him several chances to become compliant but he did nothing to avail himself of those chances. He never came into full compliance.
“Of course, he may continue to ride, but his mileage will not be certified by UMCA. We wish Mr. Berkeley the best in his cycling endeavours,” it added.
The UMCA did not say which rule or rules he had not complied with.
Berkeley, originally from New Zealand, is currently riding in Australia where he will spend the first four months of the year before returning to the UK.
Right now he is in Adelaide, South Australia, where the Santos Tour Down Under is taking place this week, and has ridden 3,834 miles so far in January.
Searvogel completed his ride a week ago today with a provisional distance of 76,076 miles, while Abraham, who broke his ankle when he was hit by a scooter rider in March, embarked on a fresh attempt at the record on 8 August.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.