We’ll miss you, Jimi

James (left) with Lewie, Andy Blair and Adrian Jackson after riding more laps together than any other team at the Scott 24 Hour last year. Photo: Russ Baker.

The mountain biking community lost one of it’s greatest this week.  James Williamson, was competing with Shaun Lewis (Lewie) in the South Africa’s ABSA Cape Epic Stage Race when he didn’t wake up on Tuesday morning.  The news has rocked those who knew him pretty hard.  At 26 years old, fit, healthy, living a dream and as an approachable and genuine role model for riders everywhere, it’s strange to process how things like this happen, and how lucky we are to have the days we have.

Jimi, or Willo, was well-known on the bike for winning some tough endurance races including the Aussie and the World 24 Hour Solo MTB Champs (2006 and 2008).  Perhaps a greater achievement though is the impression he left on other riders, beaming positivity and genuinely proud of every person’s contribution to the sport.  He had a way of lapping people on the race track that actually made them feel happy.

I feel incredibly grateful for the chance to work with Jimi in his role as Editor of Enduro Magazine.  He taught me an enormous amount about the craft of writing, and I feel so glad this gave me the chance to tell him regularly how much I respect, appreciate and look up to what he does.

The thoughts of many are with his family, Lewie, his partner Niki and providing strength to each other as well, as we try to make sense of what has happened, what has been lost and the life we were so lucky to witness.

More info, and tributes to James are springing up on various news, bike news and bike forum sites.  I particularly like this one by Jim Trail for Canberra’s ABC Radio.