On the weekend of 15th and 16th September, 2018, three events were held, to mark the anniversary of the death of Russell Mockridge, who was killed while competing in the Tour of Gippsland, on 13th September, 1958.
Saturday, 15th September, 9am, Balyang Sanctuary Car Park, Newtown, Geelong
Mockridge Tour – a cycle ride around points of significance in and around Geelong.
Doug Merritt, of Cycling Geelong, led about 20 riders from Balyang in terrible conditions – rain, cold and wind – for a tour of Geelong visiting places about the city which connected to the life of Russell. The were participants from Cycling Geelong, Life Activities Geelong, Geelong Touring Cyclists, Geelong Cycling Club and visitors from out of town. Also in attendance were Johne Hine, a local Olympian and Russell Mockridge’s nephew, Robert Mockridge.
The riders assemble at Balyang Sanctuary
John Hine, Olympian enjoys a pre-ride chat
From Balyang, the tour took the river path to the steep zig-zag to Pakington Street. All but an agile and fit few, including GTC’s John Hagan, walked the zig-zag.
The cyclists set off from Balyang Sanctuary
Barwon River Path
Thanks to Ray Bowles (The Cycling Scrapbook) for the two photographs above.
The first stopping place was The Geelong College, where participants were treated to a tour of the old school, including the hall of famous ex-students, where Russell’s photo features. From there, a detour to near St Joseph’s showed participants the type of hills Russell could have used for training in Geelong.
Doug talks to the group at Geelong College
Geelong College Hall of Fame
Next the tour wended it’s way to Russell’s family home in Roebuck Street, before cycling part of the proposed east-west cycling corridor, along Villamanta Street, and to the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre over the cycle bridge over the railway line on Little Malop Street.
Outside the Mockridge family home in Newtown (Photo: Ray Bowles)
Thanks to Ray Bowles (The Cycling Scrapbook) for the photograph above.
Here, the participants had the opportunity to view a historic display about Russell at the Heritage Centre, and take a refreshment break at the newly opened Cafe Public.
The new bike racks at the library are finally full…
As the tour wound its way back to Geelong West, the clouds that had been hovering all morning, became black and angry.
Clouds gathering before the storm
The wind intensified as the group entered the Geelong West Football ground, to cycle the velodrome and hear more about Russell’s racing in and around Geelong. The storm broke with a tree-bending south-westerly gale, and icy horizontal rain. Shelter in the grandstand was more than welcome.
Waiting our the storm at Geelong West Velodrome
Doug tells more of the story
With these conditions, it was decided to ‘call it a day’. The tour was truncated, with a plan to complete the ride in the next month or so. (Keep an eye on the Cycling Geelong Ride Calendar to find out the date and time.)
Thanks to John Hagan for photographs.
Russell Mockridge with the winner’s trophy, Sun Tour, 1957