Burry forever remembered

2014-01-04 00:00

THE memory of mountain biking legend Burry Stander will be immortalised today when a bike park bearing his name on the South Coast will be officially opened.

Stander, who was killed on January 3, 2013 when he was struck by a vehicle while training, has become a rallying point for cyclists across the country to lobby for greater legislation to protect cyclists with several memorial rides planned across the country and abroad.

Mountain biker Stander was the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup under-23 men’s cross-country 2009 world champion and competed in cross-country mountain bike races at both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Summer Olympics, finishing 15th and fifth respectively.

In a statement the Department of Sport and Recreation, threw its support behind cycling development in the South Coast.

“The minister of sport and recreation Fikile Mbalula is expected to unveil the park while the provincial department will be supporting the establishment of a cycling development programme in the Burry Stander Park for young people in the Ugu District, as well as provide mountain bikes for the programme,” said the department.

Downhill world champion Greg Minnaar and local cyclist Hayley Smit will also be on hand to conduct demonstration clinics for local youths.

As part of the weekend memorial events, an official memorial ride and service was held yesterday afternoon in Shelly Beach with further rides planned for today in the vicinity of Umtentweni.

The Burry Stander Memorial Ride in Cape Town took place last night, starting at the Cape Town Stadium and ended at Greenmarket Square.

Organiser Andrew Wheeldon said he has been a cyclist for over 30 years and said it was important to mark Stander’s death in the Mother City.

“I run an organisation in Cape Town that promotes the usage of bicycles as modes of transport and I thought it important that this city commemorates Stander’s life.”

In California, events will be hosted throughout the weekend to mark the memorial weekend with a road ride being hosted by Moto GP champ Nicky Hayden and a mountain bike ride by Motocross legend Johnny O’Mara.

On Sunday in Klerksdorp, North West province, the 2014 Stander Memorial Ride will take place with an estimated 200 cyclists expected to attend.

Organiser Romke de Jongh said, “We held a memorial ride for Stander last year, and like last year we will hand over a letter to the town council traffic department stating we will ensure that we keep to the rules of the road, ride in single file and obey traffic signals while we ask them to play their part.”

Burgwheelers Cycle Club in Pietermaritzburg will honour Stander today wearing red ribbons on the sleeves of their club kit on all their rides.

The Burry Stander Facebook page was swamped with messages marking the one-year anniversary of Stander’s death.

Heather Potgieter said, “Burry it is so hard to believe it is a year later but YOUR light still shines in our life. Our hero still lives in our hearts. RIP peace our African Mtbkid”, while Lily Wendelen said, “The MTB scene is so sad! We still miss a great Champ!”

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