IT’S a thought that lingers in the back of the mind for all people who love the sport of cycling. The worst case scenario.
Sadly, that was the fate to befall Hans Battaerd, who was tragically killed after being hit by a motorist while on a ride at Ballina in November last year.
Battaerd had not-long relocated to the North Coast after many years in Wollongong in which he became a life member of both the Illawarra Triathlon Club and Illawarra Cycle Club.
ITC vice-president, and friend, Des Comer said Hans’ death whilst doing what he loved really hit home for friends who share his love of the sport.
“It’s something you’ve always got in the back of your mind when you ride,” Comer said.
“It certainly hits home. Sadly there’s been several people down here in similar situations.
“It doesn’t matter how careful you ride, things like this can always happen.
“Hans was a larger than life character down here, not only in the triathlon community but also in the cycling community.
“He was also really admired in his career as a fireman so he was almost like a superman in all those things he did.”
Having been a stalwart of both clubs, it was thought best they both come together to compete for the inaugural Hans Battaerd Memorial Trophy at Marshall Mount this Saturday.
“Hans’ brother got in contact with us and he wanted to do something to keep his memory alive,” Comer said.
“I knew he was tight with the cycle club so I thought we’d organise an event we could both compete in on equal ground.
“There’s an element of seriousness but it’s a fun event to keep his memory for alive.
“Given the crossover between the two sports, there’s always a bit of rivalry there but it’s just a matter of getting the clubs together.”
Pitched as a battle between triathletes and cyclists, the time trial event will cover a two-lap 37-kilometre return course along Avondale Road from Don’s Farm to Marshall Mount and back.
The times of each rider will be taken with the club with the best average time crowned the winners. The fastest male and female riders will also pick up awards.
While it’s sure to be in good spirit, ITC president Paul Knight said there’ll certainly be an element of friendly rivalry between the clubs.
”Hans was a member of both clubs and the family wanted something in recognition of his participation in both clubs,” Knight said.
“The triathlon club got very excited by the idea and we thought the best thing to do in memory of him was a cycling event that recognised his passion for riding.
“We’ve got plenty of our members who want to show that triathletes can actually cycle so there’s a bit of a competitive edge to it as well – we want to show the cyclist we can ride on their terms.
“There’s a number of members of the triathlon club who are members of the cycling club and their is that rivalry so it’s sure to be a good fun day.”