It is Saturday, shortly after 2pm and it is a gloriously sunny day with blue skies and a gentle breeze. That’s exactly what it was like one year ago today at Wingello State Forest. A day, which will forever be in our minds and the people around us in our hearts. Today, we remember our #rockytrailracer Kevin Simpson, who passed away from an undiagnosed heart condition at the event on 18 May 2019, racing his bike with us.
As race organisers, Martin and I were in charge of the event that day. To have one of our riders not cross the finish line was an incredibly raw experience and we are so grateful to the many riders and supporters who stood by us and lended a helping hand that day.
As our riders lined up at the start we couldn’t know that the most challenging days and weeks for many of us were only a few hours away.
As our riders kept clocking in lap after lap with big smiles on their faces we couldn’t foresee that we would loose one of them.
As event organisers we had briefed our crew and prepared for such a severe medical incident. Every time we blow the start whistle, every time we send racers out on the track we are at the ready. And yet, nothing can prepare you how such an incident shakes you to your core. That day all our physical and mental strengths were put to the test and we are so thankful for our incredible crew and the many riders who tried to help Kevin so professionally, unconditionally, fast and above all, courageously.
Vale, King of Welby.
Kevin had raced with us for a while and was one of those friendly faces at the start line, someone who always had a smile at rego and was happy to have a chat. We received so many beautiful messages about him – an avid rider, skilled trail builder and passionate trail advocate in his local region of Bowral and at the Welby trails in particular.
We have been truly humbled by all the memories that friends and riding mates shared with us on our virtual Memory Board.
Kevin’s son Mitch told us how much he had been looking forward to this event and racing with his team mates – he had been talking about it for weeks and had said that it was his dream to stand on the podium together with them. We chose 13:39:22 as the finish time for the race as this was the time Kevin had started his final lap making his team mate the last rider across the line. We wanted this to be a tribute to our fellow Rocky Trail Racer. This finish time also resulted in a dream come true for Kevin and his team mates Bruce and Michael: with their “Single Track Minds” team they came in third in the overall team of three classification.
We were able to award the honorary podium race plate to Kevin’s beautiful family – his wife Dawn and his two sons Nick and Mitch – at a race in June in Glenrock.
We will never forget that day.
We will forever remember the courage and kindness by crew, fellow racers, emergency response teams and Kevin’s family & friends on that day. We will forever be thankful for this amazing mountain biking community we are all part of and help shape every day. With every ride. With every race. With every moment and every memory we treasure.
Kevin’s team mates Bruce and Michael and some of his riding buddies have since built a beautiful section of trail at Welby in his Honour.
May the road rise to meet you and the wind be always at your back… ride on, Kevin.
The second Shimano Mountain Bike Grand Prix for 2019 was held at Wingello State Forest on 18 May and more than 250 racers from all
The second Shimano Mountain Bike Grand Prix was held at Wingello State Forest on 18 May and more than 250 racers from all over NSW
Unfortunately today was a very sad day for all Rocky Trail Racers and our Crew with one of our racers passing away while racing. His