Harrogate cyclist Mike Hall killed on trans-Australia race after warning of ‘danger cars’

Mike Hall with his pedometer at Greenwich Royal Observatory in south-east London after he won a round-the-world bike race in 2012
Mike Hall with his pedometer at Greenwich Royal Observatory in south-east London after he won a round-the-world bike race in 2012
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A YORKSHIRE cycling champion killed after he was struck by a car during a race across Australia had warned other riders days before about the dangers of fast moving vehicles, it emerged today.

His death this morning came after he had used social media to warn other competitors in the 3,400-mile race.

As he passed through the Allansford area of Victoria on March 26, he posted a message on Twitter warning other cyclists about a white saloon which had “just tucked his front wing under my right knee”. He added the hashtag “#intimidation”.

Responding to concerned replies, he added: “I’m fine, thanks to those asking, you can add about half a dozen close fast passes since last night though unfortunately”

He continued: “Riders will want to be alert when entering this area, don’t hug the shoulder, give yourself somewhere to bail to.”

About 70 riders were taking part in the race, which was abandoned after Mr Hall’s death. All were believed to be travelling without backup or support teams.

Mike Hall with his mother, Pat, after he won a round-the-world bike race in 2012

Mike Hall with his mother, Pat, after he won a round-the-world bike race in 2012

Mr Hall was in second place in the race when the crash happened on the Monaro Highway, near Williamsdale, close to the border of New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory, at about 6.30am local time yesterday.

Police Sergeant Chris Meagher said: “I can suggest, given the nature of the collision, an investigation into the circumstances would suggest the rider of the push bike died at the scene.

“(The driver) will be spoken to later by our crash investigation reconstruction team. It’s early in the morning, it’s dark; there was no fog at the time.”

The race began on March 18 in Fremantle, Western Australia, and was due to finish at the Sydney Opera House today.

Mike Hall in 2012 at the start at the Greenwich Meridian at the Royal Observatory in south-east London.

Mike Hall in 2012 at the start at the Greenwich Meridian at the Royal Observatory in south-east London.

A statement issued by race organisers said: “Our deepest sympathies go to Mike’s family and to all those who knew him. Mike will be sorely missed.”

It said: “Mike revelled in the spirit and adventure of ultra-endurance cycling events. Mike’s efforts in both raising money and the spirit of others were tremendous and he leaves an incredible legacy.

“The tragedy is a great loss to the global cycling community.”

Mr Hall, who had been living in Monmouthshire, South Wales, became the fastest person to circumnavigate the globe by bicycle in 2012, taking just 92 days and beating the previous record holder by nearly two weeks.

Seen as a pioneering ultra-distance rider, he was twice winner of the Tour Divide and also won the Trans Am Bike Race in 2014.

Back in Harrogate, a friend remembered a “massively respected” competitor.

Cycling coach David Burns said: “He was just an absolute machine. We would go up a hill and he wouldn’t even get out of the saddle or change gear once.

“In the world of cycling he was huge, and massively respected, and he used to talk about it all like it was nothing. He’d broken the world record and then he was on to the next thing.

Mr Burns added: “He was a mad fool, but you have to be to do the things he did on the bike. He was an absolutely phenomenal athlete.”

An online funding site, set up to help Hall’s mother, Patricia, and partner, Anna, quickly filled with tributes and, within hours, the fund had reached nearly £30,000 with donations from more than 1,100 people across the world.

Organiser James Hayden said: “Mike will be remembered by us all for his kindness, good heart and bravery. Mike was a shining light in many of our lives, enabling us to find the best of ourselves.”

Hall’s bike supplier, Kinesis UK, said on Instagram: “Mike was more than a rider, he was a friend and inspiration to us.”

It said: “This is not the time for more questions. Ride your bikes, hold your loved ones tight and remember to enjoy the gift of life. Mike was taken too soon, but doing something he loved.”

Ultra-triathlete Sean Conway said on Twitter: “Today is a very, very sad day. Cycling has lost a legend.

“Ride in Peace Mike Hall. We’ll miss you so much.”

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said: “What a terrible tragedy.

“Cyclists who have crossed the continent as part of the Indian Pacific Wheel Race are due to arrive in Sydney tonight but it won’t be in celebration - it will be in mourning.”