Organisers of the Indian-Pacific Wheel Race, the inaugural edition of which was curtailed by the death in March of British ultracyling legend Mike Hall, have confirmed that the event will return in 2018.
Hall had been chasing his friend and race leader Kristoff Allegaert when he lost his life after he was hit by a driver near Canberra.
As a tribute to him, next year’s edition of the 5,500-kilometre race from Fremantle to Sydney will start on 17 March 2018 at 06.22am, the time the tracker on Hall’s bike stopped moving.
In a video posted to the event’s Facebook page, one of the race’s organisers, Jesse Carlsson, said: “We’re really running this event because of Mike, we want to continue his work, we want to continue the inspiration that he started.
“He downed tools at 6.22 that morning and so we’re going to pick up the tools and continue on from where he left off.”
He added: “We’ve also been urged by Mike’s mum [Patricia Hall] to continue the race and she sent this beautiful message:
I can only thank you for keeping the race going in what can only be such difficult circumstances.
Without such dedication from all involved Mike’s legacy would diminish but you have kept his memory shining like a beacon and for this I am so grateful.
Besides solo riders undertaking the full route, the second edition of the unsupported race will include a new relay category, with the first member of the team riding from Fremantle to Adelaide, a distance of 2,800 kilometres.
The second rider will go from Adelaide to Melbourne, a third will continue for 1,110 kilometres through hilly terrain to Canberra, while the fourth and final member completing the remaining 500 kilometres to Sydney.
70 places will be available plus 10 invitational places, with a more rigorous application procedure than last year. Registration is open now and will close on 11 November.
Carlsson revealed that the 2018 race would have “some pretty strict visibility restrictions in place,” saying that “one of the goals of next year’s event is to get all the riders across Australia safely.
“I know that really shouldn’t be an issue,” he added.
Organisers will be holding a Facebook Live question and answer session on their page on the social network at 7.30pm Melbourne time tomorrow, Wednesday 4 October, which is 9.30am UK time.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.