Tribute ride for athlete killed in Severn Bridge road race

Junior Heffernan Memorial Appeal launched

More than 100 people have signed up to a fundraising memorial ride for Junior Heffernan, the rider killed in a collision with a car during the Severn Bridge road race earlier this month.

The memorial ride will take place on Sunday 17 March and has been organised by Heffernan’s parents, Denise and Bernard, and his former triathlon training partner, Steve Ferguson.

23-year-old Heffernan died in the 41st Severn Bridge road race, riding for Team Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes, on 3 March. He was an elite level rider and had represented Ireland as a junior triathlete before a hip injury meant he focused on cycling.

Proceeds from the Junior Heffernan Memorial Appeal will go to the Kelly Pool Project, a programme set up by his former school to create a performance swimming centre and 50m pool in Tavistock, Devon. 

Robin Brew, a former Olympian swimmer and director of swimming at Kelly College, paid tribute to Heffernan, saying on the charity website: “Junior was a young man with an extraordinary gift and capacity for hard work. He was extremely kind hearted and his willingness to be generous with both his time and support to others is a true testament to his wonderful character.”

The Plymouth Report have said that Sunday’s ride will be open to the public and begin at 10am at the Yelverton roundabout car park, incorporating at least one lap of the nearby Burrator Reservoir.

Ian Drake, British Cycling’s chief executive, said the whole cycling community had been profoundly saddened by the incident and that the federation’s efforts were focused on supporting Heffernan’s family, his team and Bristol Road Club, which organised the race.

He said: “At this difficult time it is worth remembering incidents of this kind are very rare in road racing and this is the first death in decades and in tens of thousands of races.”   

Heffernan’s funeral will take place on 20 March. Avon and Somerset Police have said their enquiries into the collision are ongoing.

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