Betty Curtis (Knight)

Sports Hall of Fame Inductee

Category: Sports Hall of Fame

Sport: Cyslist

The Shepparton Ladies Amateur Cycling Club was formed in 1948 with a group of young ladies who were keen to partake in the outdoor sport. Early in the clubs racing events it was obvious that one particular girl, Betty Knight could ride very well and she was soon handicapped to ride off scratch. She remained on the scratch mark for the six years she road for the club. Betty was the daughter of English migrants who were dairy farmers at Congupna.

When Betty left school she firstly worked on the farm and following her cycling success, gained employment selling Malvern Star cycles in Shepparton. The cycle shop also provided a racing bike for her to compete on. Betty rode her bike six miles to and from work every day. It wasn’t long before she was taking out the club championships in all the events held at the Shepparton Club on the road and on the Deakin Reserve track. From 1952 to 1957 she held every Shepparton Club title and was named Shepparton Cycling Club “Cyclist of the century”.

Life was busy for Betty as she had to travel to Melbourne for some of the major events and she was soon winning Victorian titles as well as competing at bike clubs around the state. She was captain of the Shepparton Club at the state titles. Her success brought her into competition at a national level and by 1950 she was competing in the Australian championships. She represented Victoria twice in Queensland which gave her good experience. By 1952 Betty had been competing for 4 years and was in top form. In January of that year she had the highlight of her bike racing career when before her home crowd in Shepparton she won the Australian 2 mile event on the Deakin Reserve track at the national titles.

Betty was also successful on the road and won the Victorian 10 mile and 5 mile road races.

 

A sports article in the Shepparton News in 1951 stated – She’s blonde, her eyes are cornflower blue and direct, her skin is flawless and she’s a champion. She’s Betty Knight Victoria’s women’s road racing champion. She has three ambitions: (a) to keep on selling bicycles, (b) to win more road races and see her club prosper, (c) to travel overseas.

Betty didn’t have a long cycling career as love intervened and she became Mrs Curtis and moved to Echuca. There she led a full life and was highly involved with community activities. However at 89 years of age she can look back on that day in 1952 when she became the Australian champion ladies 2 mile rider.