Introducing the ‘Johnny Waddell Beacon Award’
The Cape to Cape is a 4 day mountain bike (MTB) stage event, this year held from the 15-18th October starting at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and finishing at Cape Naturalist 222 kilometres away. The inaugural Cape to Cape event held in 2008 provided organizers with plenty of feedback from participants and supporters which meant an improved, more exciting and enjoyable experience for 2009. Participants ranged from the MTB enthusiast (Weekend Warrior) to the Elite racer. In the Elite category we didn’t necessarily have our race face on as we were all just having a good time in an awesome place with old friends and newly made friends.
Every evening a function is held for officials, participants, supporters and volunteers who come together to have dinner and talk about the tall tales of the day’s trails. Officials also describe what is in stall for us in the upcoming stages. At this function everyone is told about the event’s awards including the ‘Johnny Waddell Beacon Award’. https://www.capetocapemtb.com/en/Ride+Information/Prizes/Prizes.htm Nominations are announced each evening then the award is presented to the recipient after the final stage is completed. Each night I spoke about my nominees and the stories behind each nomination.
Thursday the 15th of October was the start of stage one. Participants came together at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and set off behind a lead vehicle which kept us together for two kilometres before taking off, leaving us to battle it out for the lead between each other. Stage one consisted of fast open track via cattle farms, tough technical climbs and the infamous long beach straight with Rohin Adams crossing the line first.
Stage two found lots of people rather battered and worn from pushing themselves on the initial stage. Putting our pain aside we dug deep to push ourselves for 50 kilometres and the duration of stage two. Having the chance to take on the course a full speed through the Cape Leeuwin Winery was a highlight as spectators sat on the winery’s veranda enjoying morning tea. James Williamson found some traction in the soft dirt to bridge a gap between the other riders and me and take it to the line, winning the stage. Later that evening everyone gathered at Colonial Brewery for a delicious dinner, a few well earned drinks and the nightly formalities.
Saturday stage three, the Margaret River special stage was a picturesque loop that sent us through the wine growing region of Margaret River. Every rider in this stage supported the Zaidee foundation by wearing rainbow shoelaces to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation. This stage was unbelievable as we were able to ride some tight single track through pine plantation and other dense forest. Throughout this stage I happily sat back and rode with my equally tough girlfriend Joy, who was enjoying her first mountain bike event from the saddle instead of the sidelines. I also rode with a helmet camera and conducted interviews with social riders having as much fun as anyone out there.
Stage three nightly function, the event organizers had contacted news reporter Tim Gossage to cover and give updates on the happenings including a pictorial spot on that evening’s news. Tim and I had brief conversation which he wanted to find out some of my background but…. he called me up on stage and firstly asked me to go back to that day in 2003 and give an abbreviated version of what happened in the horrific accident at a World Cup DH Race at Mt St Anne. My first response was “Tim you say you want the abbreviated version, I’m sorry I don’t roll like that. Anyone out there who knows me knows that I will make any short story into a novel”. With that said I did give him and everyone else a small run down of my background and that day’s nominees for the JW Beacon Award.
Sunday, fourth and final stage, personally feeling stronger than ever after having a taste of the speed on the first two stages and having a nice easy day on the third day. As per the previous stages the five of us lead riders were out in front putting the power down as we took turns in drafting each other. We were all close making sure we all worked together, we were travelling 45- 50km/hr on a dirt access track across a cow paddock when I decided to pass the other competitor that I was drafting. As I was passing the other competitor moved over as he didn’t know I was there and we locked handlebars sending me into the ground at 50km/hr. Hyped on adrenalin I picked up my bike, straightened the handlebars and got ready to go when my mates stopped me as blood was dripping out of my right elbow, so deep that you could see the bone. Not to let this deter me I rushed into the nearest hospital to get stitched up then had to discharge myself to get back to the event so that I could present the Beacon Award.
The Johnny Waddell Beacon Award goes to Bruno Wicki, the most determined, dedicated, shining light of the Cape to Cape in 2009. Bruno carried the spirit of event and was approachable to anyone. I personally feel he was the most deserving not to mention most recognisable person out on the course always smiling and having a great time.
As always thank you to all of my loyal and wonderful sponsors:
Santa Cruz Bicycles
Santa Cruz Syndicate
Red Bull Energy
Nite Rider Lighting
Jet Black products
source: Johnny Waddell