Date: Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Posted by: Cycling Southland

Yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of the Christchurch to Invercargill Record set by Invercargill Amateur Clubman, Harry Hubber. Invercargill Amateur clubman Harry Hubber is etched in the historical fabric of cycling in the deep south.  Known for his gritty determination, the Southland farmer demonstrated on a number of occasions his ability to win bike races.

For many that knew him the efforts he displayed in achieving the Christchurch to Invercargill record on two occasions would rank highly amongst his cycling career highlights.

Years later he also considered this record to be one of his three most memorable moments in a 25 year cycling career.

In 1943 the 365 mile distance was challenging enough over the varying terrain and when the wind and rain set in over the closing stages of the record attempt it became even more difficult.  Hubber acknowledged the support he received along the way particularly the ever growing crowds from Gore to Invercargill.  “I knew I couldn’t fail them” Hubber recounted.  He remembers a middle aged man jumping onto the fence and vigorously waving a white flag only a few miles outside of Invercargill.  A few minutes later as he entered the city the route was seen with hundreds of people, most of them from the Southland Racecourse where as a race meeting was being held.

When he crossed the line a record time of 22 hours 39 minutes 40 seconds had been set.

After a stint in the army he was back to riding the bike and in the early sixties took on the challenge once again. Setting off from the Christchurch square only after the support crew had accessed a spare bike for him in Canterbury, Hubber was guided through the streets of the city by motorbike.  The support crew of John Broad, Laurie Tall, Ivan West, Harold Robinson and Ray O’Connor departed a few moments later with the two vehicles and caravan in tow only to quickly discover that Hubber was not to be found on the agreed route set out for his attempt.  After some frantic searching he was eventually discovered with the motorbike rider who had decided to use an alternative route out of Christchurch. 

Approaching Dunedin Hubber took on a bottle of milk for sustenance only to find it didn’t agree with him over the demanding Kilmog.  Soon after he was finding the record attempt was challenging his body to the point he lay on a street in Dunedin in the early hours of the morning before his support crew convinced him he could complete the arduous record. 

His challenges didn’t stop there as he punctured and crashed on the outskirts of Balclutha while receiving food from the support vehicle.  This only led him to be further spurred on to be successful in his attempt and powered his way through to Invercargill to be greeted by supporters in the main street as he completed the distance outside the Invercargill post office in just over 21 hours.

1939 Southland 50 mile road championship                  1st

1940 Round the Gorges                                                     Fastest Time

          South Island 100mile championship                       1st

          Otago 50 mile championship                                 1st

1941 Round the Gorges                                                     Fastest Time

          South Island 100mile championship                       1st

          Otago 50 mile championship                                  1st

1947  Gore to Invercargill Road Classic                           Fastest Time

         Otago 50 mile championship                                    1st

         Otago 110mile Olympic Trial                                    1st

 1954 Gore to Invercargill Road Classic                           1st and Fastest Time

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