Feature Interview: Rebecca Durrell

The winningest rider in 2019 in major British events for women was Rebecca Durrell (Brother UK/Tifosi) who also won the British National Road Series for women – we spoke recently

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Feature Interview: Rebecca Durrell

After the final national series road race for women, I went through the results and found that Rebecca Durrell (Brother UK/Tifosi) had won no less than eight major events during the season, twice as many as her nearest rival, Jess Roberts. The wins also included the British Circuit Race championship which means next season, Becks will get to wear the stripes in the British crits.

When asked did she realise she had topped the stats for the winningest rider in 2019, Becks replied, “I didn’t know I until I saw your stats – I knew I’d had a good season, but that’s pretty cool to do that”.

Did the season bring her more victories than Becks expected I asked? “Yes. You always go into the year with high hopes but it doesn’t always go to plan. It’s been great though. I’ve had some big targets that I wasn’t sure I’d hit but I managed to achieve the lofty goals I’d set for myself and so I am really pleased.”

The beginning …
Taking Rebecca from Saltburn in the North East, back a bit in her cycling career, I asked what brought her into racing a bicycle?

“I am quite new to the sport. I started when I was 26 and I’m about to turn 31 so I’m a relative late comer. It was quite funny how it happened with me as I was never into endurance sports. I was a dabbler in sport, a PE teacher and one day I decided I would do a charity bike ride for the Alzheimer’s society”.

“I was a complete newcomer. I bought a second hand bike from eBay that was far too big for me and didn’t have a clue what I was doing. But, I fell in love with it. With the sort of people you meet and the fact it’s such a social sport as well. I got involved in some races in Scotland where we lived at the time because of the military (her husband is in the RAF) and it was just a cool place to learn the ropes. It all snow balled from there and here we are now…”

And nowadays, Becks works part time whilst racing and training. Most of the women racing at the national series level work and Rebecca explained how life is about getting that balance right. “I am so lucky I have a supportive family that enables me to work part time otherwise I’d be trying to do this while working full time and whilst riders like Leah (Dixon) on our team manage to do that, I don’t know how they do it”.

Asked how she fits her training in around the part time job, Becks explains “my time to train varies like over the winter, I am working three or four times a week so that enables me to get in some long rides which is what you want to be doing at that time of the year. When it comes to summer, I’m on a zero hour contract and when I am back home in Lincolnshire, I can work my shifts around the racing and training. I am very fortunate and it works well for me”.

Becks works in a bike shop at Doddington Hall and so I said to her, does she find herself around bikes too much! “You can never have too many bikes” Becks replies. “It’s a different dynamic to racing with them and it’s cool to also feel like I am giving something back.”

“People can come in for advice for example and we get a lot of women in the shop too. So it’s nice to be able to share my experience with bikes. Sometimes it can feel like a selfish sport because you are always doing things for yourself, you’re chasing results and training so much your family have to make sacrifices as well so working in the bike shop helps me give a bit back”.

One of Rebecca’s achievements is to be the only double winner of the Lincoln GP for women. Living near Lincoln as I do, where it is as flat as the proverbial pancake, I had to ask how does Becks climb so well because the race at Lincoln does include a 1 in 6 cobbled climb.

“There is a technique to racing over that climb” Becks explains before adding “I get plenty of practice. It’s a case of taking whatever opportunities I can get to train in the hills. The Lincolnshire Wolds are pretty good and while the climbs are not long, they are pretty punchy. My parents live in Yorkshire as well and there are some pretty meaty climbs to do round there with not much flat …”

… continued after advert

Women’s Racing in Britain
Over the years in the men’s racing here in Britain, the style of racing has become more and more team orientated as the sport has got stronger and more and more teams work as a unit to get a result in the major British events.

The team side of racing is still developing in Britain in the women’s peloton. Rebecca is part of one of the strongest, if not the strongest domestic teams, Brother UK/Tifosi. So I asked is the women’s racing controlled by teams yet? “It’s getting there and we are starting to see more team tactics and planned racing”.

“It’s not as clinical as the men’s racing and you can see the men’s teams using team tactics. But in women’s racing, the strength in depth is growing each year so I think year on year, it will grow stronger and be more tactical and team dominated”.

Being part of such a strong team of winners this season, has, says Becks, been a great experience. “I am a firm believer that success breeds success and when you see you have really strong teammates around you, it makes us all want to step up. We’ve all wanted to raise our game because at the end of the day, it’s a team sport so we try and achieve that success as a team”.

Rebecca doesn’t only race domestically but also races in international events. Asked does she have goals to go further with an international career, Becks replies “without a doubt. That is for me the ultimate goal – to be paid to ride a bike? Racing on the continent and be successful in that racing, it is all about finding a way to bridging the gap. IE, the skills and fitness from domestic racing to the slightly different skillset you need to race on the continent.”

“The gap is getting smaller between the two” Becks adds. “When I first started, I was on the Drops team and back then my fitness was not as high but I have definitely noticed this year when I go to international races, the gap doesn’t seem as big. Whether I am getting fitter or not, I don’t know. A lot of it I think comes down to skills and your ability in the bunch . That needs to be cracked to do international racing well”.

Is Rebecca a patient rider in the peloton I asked? “My heart just wants to go after a breakaway and be that rider who can stay away all day and do incredible things but my genetics dictate that I’m more of a sprinter/punchy rider so I definitely need to think about measuring my efforts and not burning all my matches at once. I’d like to go with every attack but you have to be clever too”.
… continued after advert


For a rider with eight major victories in a season, asking for highlights might be making it difficult for Becks to make such choices but she gives it a good old nudge! “I think one that springs to mind is the Tour Series and the whole feeling within the team as it was such a positive month for us. We grew in confidence and that pulled the team together and that’s where, for me anyway, I find the most satisfaction in racing when you can enjoy it with other people and enjoy that success because it was everyone’s success.”

“Lincoln was great too with all the family there. That was a really cool one to win because they were so happy about it. And the national circuit champ of course. I didn’t know I was going to be able to bag that one right up until I crossed the line so yeah that was a good day!”

With the national series done for another season, it won’t be long before winter looms on the horizon. The off season is actually longer than the season itself so I asked Becks is the prospect of another winter and off season a good or bad thing for her?

“Good and bad” says Rebecca. “The weather can be bad hacking round the Lincolnshire lanes for five or six hours and can get grim at times but it’s a good time to refocus and bring it all back what you want to achieve out of all of this. To go back to the drawing board and think ‘what can we do different this winter that will bring more success’. So I am looking forward to it and seeing what opportunities next year can bring.”

My thanks to Rebecca for her time and hope the winter is a good one for her …


Cycle Division’s Shop

Send your results as well as club, team & event news here

Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK