Cyril 0’Leary

Cyril 0’Leary was born in Peterborough (S.A) August 9, 1913 and it wasn’t until he was twelve years old to began to ride. His first competitive race was in 1931 when he finished second in a 9-mile event.
Bert Elliott spoke to O’Leary and encouraged him to join the amateur ranks and by 1932 he finished 6th out of a field of 24 in the 25-mile unpaced championship of South Australia and later came 2nd in the Port Adelaide 30-mile event, he rode for the Kilkenny Amateur Cycling Club.
Bert Elliott saw potential in O’Leary and gave a position within his company Elliott Bros and it was during this time his progress of a rider was rapid to become one of the great amateur endurance riders.
His became notable for his endurance riding and rode the Adelaide to Victor Harbor and return to lower the time by 13mins and followed this up by securing the time honours in the 100 kilo unpaced championship of SA. reducing the previous record by 14mins.
O’Leary was selected to represent South Australia in the Australian Amateur championship.
One of the his best efforts was in 1936 when he won the 100-mile event at Port Lincoln (S.A) in connection with the S.A Centenary celebrations and finished up with an hour to spare in addition to securing first and fastest honours. O’Leary also won the 100-mile Eyre Peninsula amateur cycling championship.
By 1937 O’Leary had gathered in 27 unpaced records, 11 tandem records with Sid Clisby, in his 111 starts in open races he had 37 placings, including several firsts and fastest times.
In August 1938 he left Adelaide in an attempt to break W. Shipley’s Adelaide-Port Lincoln, with a distance of 417 miles and existing record of 39 hours he achieved his object with nearly 11 hours to spare, his time was 28 hours, 3 minutes 5 seconds.
Two months later O’Leary broke 3 records from the Adelaide – Melbourne ride and then went on to set a 1000-mile record for Australasia.
The records comprised of reaching Melbourne in 38hrs, 7 mins bettering the previous time of 41hrs, 16mins by George Mcleod by 3 hr. 9min.
Second record was made on the return journey to Adelaide, the time being 51hr, 52 mins which was 2hrs, 36mins faster than previous.
The Adelaide – Melbourne – Adelaide distance of 954 miles was traversed in 89 hrs, 59mins which was 22 hrs, 58mins better than the previous set time of 112hrs, 37mins.
His ride was promised favourable winds however he countered many head winds, side winds.
Heavy rain also fell throughout and O’Leary had to apply axle grease to his legs to keep out the cold and rain, stopping every few mins to wipe the mud thrown from his front wheel.
O’Leary became one of Super Elliott’s mechanics and later became salesmen.
He tour the country displaying his trailer as a miniature show room and workshop which proved successful.