September 30th, 2016

Tributes paid to cyclist Basil Francis

Tributes paid to cyclist Basil Francis Tributes paid to cyclist Basil Francis

A LIFE-LONG member of Solihull Cycling Club who was one the club’s stars during the short distance time trial era following the Second World War has sadly passed away.

Basil Francis, or Baz as he was simply known to most, has died at the grand age of 92.

War service in the RAF interrupted his cycling career but afterwards Francis joined the upsurge in racing activity and quickly achieved national renown for his time-trial performances, amid the strong competition of the time.

In 1946 he became national ‘25’ champion and led Solihull CC to the team championship.

In the same year he twice lowered the ‘25’ competition record, to 58.35mins, which was not bettered for a further three years.

Francis was the first rider in the UK to go under 59 minutes for a 25-mile time trial.

And over the next four years he led and helped Solihull CC to both team championships and competition records at 25, 30 and 50 miles.

Also in 1946, Francis attacked the renowned ‘hour’ record on the outside track at Herne Hill but fell short due to the weather conditions.

Throughout his later he maintained close links with Solihull CC  and was a regular at the club’s annual ‘Old Sols’ Luncheon for senior members.