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 and the ACT took part in the four and seven hour competitions. The seven hour race was stopped immediately when a severe medical incident occurred shortly after 2pm. Sadly, local racer Kevin Simpson from Bowral passed away at the scene with race crews, fellow racers and emergency services by his side. Since then the mountain biking community has been offering condolences and memories of a passionate mountain biker and trail advocate to his family and team mates.
As mountain bike race organisers we have been training and managing incidents and every emergency call is attended to immediately and with the utmost vigilance. Saturday’s call for assistance for Kevin Simpson happened within seconds of the four hour winners’ ceremony and immediately the Rocky Trail crew assembled and the first aid crew was deployed. It was apparent right away that the incident was severe and Race Director Martin Wisata stopped the competition and officials directed the athletes off the race track to make way for emergency services.
We are so thankful to all our riders, crew and the emergency services for responding to this medical emergency so professionally, fast and courageously. The mountain biking community truly stood by each other on Saturday and we will never forget that.Juliane Wisata, Rocky Trail Event Director
Unfortunately despite the courageous efforts of all immediate respondents, including fellow racers, first aid personnel, race organisers and emergency services Kevin Simpson died on course of unconfirmed causes. We can report that the incident happened on a slow section of the race track and that organisers have been in contact with Kevin’s family since Saturday, offering our most heartfelt condolences and messages of support from the entire Rocky Trail and mountain biking community. Kevin leaves behind his wife and two sons and we were also able to pass on photos of Kevin during his race to the family, which was very important to them.
We would like to share the message by Meg Patey, one of Kevin’s local friends who rode with him and fellow mountain bikers at the Mittagong ‘Welby’ trails regularly:
We are all shocked by Kevin’s passing. He was a guy who was so alive and so present. And it was great to catch up with Kevin [at the race] at Wingello.Meg Patey, Willo event founder
Kevin was the “King” of Welby… he was not a club “member” as such, but in his own way, has been “looking after” the Welby trails for the past few years.
A group of riders would meet, twice a week…Kevin was the leader. They would ride for a few laps, then go to the Eden Brewery, or a cafe in Mittagong, like clockwork, same time, same place, every week. Kevin would always bring cheese and biscuits for the men to have with their beers. That was the sort of person Kevin was.
He began organising a few working bees, to look after the trails. And because it was Kevin, there were always lots of helpers! Kevin was not part of club racing at Welby (thought he did participate every year in the Willo) – he just did things his way and he got a lot done.
That was what he was like.
Kevin will be missed hugely by the mountain bike community in the Southern Highlands and Welby Mountain Bike Trails wont be the same without him.
Official condolence online portal
Rocky Trail has put together an online portal for our racers to leave their condolences and messages of support and we encourage you to also post stories about Kevin if you knew him and of the race day at Wingello. We will pass on the messages to the family within the next week or two.
A podium dream comes true
Kevin’s son 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.
Race Director Martin Wisata today published the seven-hour results,
With the Shimano-MTB GP 7 having been stopped early we have decided the following: we chose 13:39:22 as the finish time for the race as this was the time Kevin started his final lap making his team mate the last rider across the line. We want this to be a tribute to our fellow Rocky Trail Racer. Also the race was still in full progress as a race at this point. The results are updated to reflect this and we will have a quick podium ceremony at the next GP.Martin Wisata, Rocky Trail Race Director
It is with a very heavy heart and full of pride that we may confirm that Kevin and his team mates Bruce and Michael made his dream come true: with their “Single Track Minds” team they came in third in the overall team of three classification.
Gwynn McLeod and Jason English claim solo seven hour
As per the adjusted finish time of the seven hour event, Gwynn McLeod from Canberra is the female solo Wingello winner ahead of Catherine Wood from the Blue Mountains, both with seven laps completed. Rachel Cook came in third on 6 laps. Gwynn also takes Shimano MTB GP series lead, as does Jason English from Newcastle who is the male solo general classification (GC) winner with 10 laps completed ahead of Michael Sherwood and Mark Astley, both on 9 laps.
Craig Gordon and Owen Gordon take out the seven-hour line-honours with 10 laps also.
Natalie Anderson and Mitch Lozinski take 4-hour series lead
With Georgina van Marburg from Canberra taking the win in the solo women’s GC with 7 laps in 3:58:35, Natalie Anderson from Sydney came in second (4:01:08) and takes the four-hour series lead. Em Viotto also from Canberra was third (6 laps in 3:05:17).
Outright line honours go to the men’s solo GC winner Jon Odams from Sydney with 10 laps in 4:18:54 ahead of Central Coast’s Mitch Lozinski (9 laps in 4:01:00) and Ben Fillingham (9 laps in 4:02:24).
Grief counselling and emotional support
May we pass on the following phone number given to us by the local emergency service officers – should you or anyone who know be affected by the tragic incident at the event on 18 May 2019, please don’t hesitate to call 02 4869 7899.
Please, also never hesitate to contact us: Martin Wisata, Race Director 0403 090 952 or Juliane Wisata, Event Director 0416 737 972