Young cyclist rides in memory of Woody

Kirkstall cyclist Simon Burchell has the Graham Woodrup Memorial high on his list of ambitions.

Kirkstall cyclist Simon Burchell has the Graham Woodrup Memorial high on his list of ambitions.

SIMON Burchell never met Graham Woodrup. He wasn’t even born when Woodrup was tragically killed while on a training ride near Tower Hill in 1992. But the reverence of the name isn’t lost on him.

“You hear stories about him around the club, about the distances he used to ride and the things he did for cycling in the area and for the community itself,” Burchell said. “He’s very well respected.” 

The Port Fairy Cycling Club member said with members of Woodrup’s family, including wife Hester, daughter Kate Winnen, brother-in-law Jeff McLean and sister-in-law Jenny McLean still heavily involved in the club, there was a strong connection and permanent reminder of his legacy. 

Tomorrow Burchell will be hoping to add his name to the honour roll of the race named in Woodrup’s honour. “It’s the one that everyone at the Port Fairy club wants to win,” Burchell said of the Graham Woodrup Memorial road race. 

Tomorrow’s 75-kilometre race is one of the most sought-after titles on the South West Road Series calendar and Burchell hopes he can continue the good form of the past couple of weeks. 

The 18-year-old is only in his second season of racing and notched up solid performances at a Cycling Victoria event in Creswick last Saturday, followed by a ninth place in the Casterton 40 on Sunday. 

He also notched up the fastest time in the Doug Pettingill Memorial Hamilton to Port Fairy race in April. 

“It’s been different this year. Last year being my first season I was riding off some of the earlier handicaps,” he said. 

“This year I’ve been off some of the later handicaps, which has been a good challenge. It’s been good riding with some of the older and more experienced riders and learning off them.”

Burchell will also compete in the Warrnambool Cycling Club’s Glen Cook Memorial today. 

He said he would love to take his cycling further, flagging a possibly entry in the National Road Series event, the Tour of The Great South Coast in August and possibly a start in the Melbourne to Warrnambool in October. 

“I’d love to ride for a team and do a few National Road Series races and I’d love to head overseas and race one day as well,” he said. “I plan on doing the rest of the South west Series races this year and will just see how I’m feeling before I decide on entering the Melbourne to Warrnambool.” 

Port Fairy Cycling Club secretary Cynthia McLaren said entries were strong for tomorrow’s race. The race starts and finishes at the Toolong school, with two juniors races starting at 10am,  with seniors beginning at 11.30am. 

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