A twist of the wrist that made history
On Saturday, June 8, 1962, with a twist of the wrist, Beryl became the first woman to ride solo in the TT (above). In a field of 33, more than half of whom rode bikes with full teams behind them, Beryl came 22nd out of 25 finishers despite clutch trouble limiting her to 55mph for all of the 37.4-mile second lap of the course. She vowed to be back the next year on a better bike.
But she never competed again. The Federation revoked her licence and enforced a male-only rule. Even her protest was reported in a tone of sexism: “This wordy wife is hopping mad,” wrote the Mirror when her letter failed to overturn the ban for the 1963 TT. Thwarted, she retired from club racing and focused on her career with Sainsbury’s. She died in 2007.
It was not until 1978 that Hilary Musson become the second female TT racer.
Back in 1962, Pathe’s profile of Beryl ended with a voiceover that said: “Slowly and surely women, the weaker sex, are muscling in on man’s domain. Practically no sport is sacred.” She did not survive to see Carrasco triumph but, thankfully, she lived long enough to see all of Pathe’s “sacred cows” blown away.