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New attempt later this month on tandem record for Land's End to John O'Groats

Bid to break record that has stood for nearly half a century to raise funds for Hampshire Hospitals' Magic Wand Appeal...

Two cyclists from Hampshire will later this month set out to attempt to beat a record that has stood for nearly 50 years for the fastest men’s tandem ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats. As well as beating that record, set in 1966, Dominic Irvine and Ian Rodd aim to raise at least £50,000 for Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s ‘The Magic Wand Appeal.’

The current record verified by the Road Records Association has stood for nearly half a century and was set in 1966 by Pete Swindon and John Withers, who completed the ride in 2 days, 2 hours, 14 minutes and 25 seconds.

Last October, former Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell, accompanied by time trial specialist Jerone Walters, were forced to abandon their attempt on the record due to safety concerns with less than 70 miles to go to John O’Groats.

Irvine, who besides being an endurance cyclist is a motivational speaker, says: This is very much a team effort, which includes a whole raft of individuals such as drivers, a coach, mechanical support, medical support and route-planners. 

“If we break the record, it will be because we, as a team, broke the record. We have chosen to do this challenge as a demonstration of the extraordinary things ordinary people can achieve when you put your mind to it and we will also be raising funds for The Magic Wand Appeal.”

Rodd, his partner on the bike, is a consultant paediatrician at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Irvine added: “The extraordinary service provided by the children’s unit at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital needs an extraordinary effort to help raise these funds.”

The pair’s preparations for the challenge which begins on June 30 have included pre-riding the 842-mile route on the prototype tandem supplied for the ride by Yorkshire-based JD Tandems, which also enabled them to assess their kit, nutrition and communications ahead of the record attempt itself.

Updates during the ride will be made via Twitter and on a dedicated Facebook page, and donations can be made via the website Just Giving.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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