Monday 4 March 2013
The tragic death of Junior Heffernan at the Severn Bridge Road Race has shocked us all in the cycling community. Gregg Shrosbree pays tribute to one of his best friends.......
“I first met Junior while at school together down in Devon. At the time I was on the National development swim team and Junior was in the triathlon squad. We used to train together on a regular basis and our relationship developed through our passion for sport. He always had a smile on his face and a positive outlook on life.
As time went on and I moved back home to Dorset, me and Junior remained in contact and I would always see him popping up in the results at big tri races, both at home and abroad. Our paths then crossed again a few years later at the Horton road race, I had just started racing on the road and Junior had also decided to switch from Triathlon to Cycling. It was nice for both of us to have someone in the peloton we knew and could talk to before and after races.
Junior quickly moved up the ranks and gained his 1st cat license in his first season, showing he had the talent and racing brain required to be a top level rider.
Our closest moments however, were when we both had the opportunity to race for the season in France. When I found out I would be living and racing on the same team as Junior, it helped me deal with moving away from home and being in a foreign country. We both found ourselves dealing with our own demons out there after numerous bad crashes and a lack of support. We only had each other and without Junior, I would have fallen to pieces much sooner.
Junior had a burning desire to prove he had what it took to be the best and with the support of a great UK team for 2013 I knew he would have done something special.
My thoughts go out to Junior’s parents Bernard and Denise. I can’t begin to imagine how they’re feeling at this moment in time. They only wanted the best for their son and I know he really wanted to show them what he could this year, they were so proud watching their son pursuing his dream of becoming a professional cyclist.
Finally I hope this incident at the weekend gives the organisers at British Cycling the wakeup call which has been waiting to happen for a long time. Racing on open roads has always been dangerous and why we have not followed the likes of Belgium, France and many other countries by closing the roads or allowing a 5 minute rules for cars up the road to wait for the race to pass I don’t know. It’s just a shame that someone had to lose a Son, Brother, Cousin and Friend for these changes to be addressed.
You will always be in my Thoughts J “
Gregg Shrosbree rides for VC Meudon,was a recent finisher at the Perfs Pedal race and was looking forward to a good season on the road.Gregg found it hard to put these words down on paper but wanted to honour his best friend and cycling buddy.