TWO men from Hampshire have smashed an endurance record first set almost half a century ago.

Alresford-based Dominic Irvine and Ovington's Charlie Mitchell cycled in tandem non-stop from Land's End to John O'Groats in a staggering 45 hours, 11 minutes and two seconds.

The die-hard cyclists beat the first record, set in 1966, by five hours.

Formally known as the end-to-end record, Mr Irvine and Mr Mitchell said it was an honour and a privilege to have beaten the 1966 result.

Mr Irvine, of South Close, said: “It's such a long distance. There are moments when you wonder whether you're really going to do it.

"That was the motivation of breaking the record. This is my third attempt and we were just absolutely focused on doing it.

"We have a support crew who we could just call whenever we were hungry or needed something for the bike - at every moment they were there. There's two of us cycling but this isn't just us - it's them too.”

The 47-year-old, who works in management development, added: “It's one of the longest standing records. It was an incredible achievement to do it in 1966 so for us to be lucky enough to break it is a real privilege and a real honour.

"Their record was phenomenal. It's our job as good sports people to move things on. We've sacrificed a lot of personal time to do this, whether it's training on weekends or whenever we could around work.”

He and fellow amateur cyclist Mr Mitchell, a 36-year-old horse vet, said it wasn't all plain sailing and almost came a cropper when cycling downhill at 50mph in Bristol when a lorry pulled out across them.

Despite the snow in Scotland and the gale-force winds the duo, who have been training together for six years, said the feeling hadn't yet quite sunk in.

“We have had an amazing response on social media and I can't quite believe how far and wide it's been broadcast,” Mr Mitchell said.

“The record was becoming more difficult to break the longer it went on which increased the attraction of it. To knock-off such a large slice off a long-standing record like this is just the icing on the cake.”