Cyclist Junior Hefferman, 23, killed while competing in Severn Bridge Road Race
A YOUNG cyclist was killed near Olveston while competing in the Severn Bridge Road Race on Sunday.
Junior Heffernan, 23, from Yelverton in Devon, collided with a car on the third lap of the 66-mile event.
The member of the Herbalife-Leisure Lakes team died as a result of his injuries.
The ten-lap race was abandoned following the crash.
Bristol Road Club, which runs the annual event, sent his family and friends their condolences in a statement.
”Junior, based in Devon, was an elite racing cyclist and a member of the Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes.com racing team,” members said.
“The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Bristol Road Club go out to Junior’s family and friends at this very sad time.
“Bristol Road Club would also like to thank the Medibike paramedic and doctor who were immediately at the scene, the South Western Ambulance Service, Avon and Somerset Constabulary and British Cycling who have assisted during this tragic accident.
“Rider and spectator safety is paramount with a race planning process backed up on the day by experienced NEG motorcycle marshals and teams of static marshals and signage all around the circuit.”
Mr Heffernan was cycling down the B4461 Vattingstone Lane, at the Mumbleys junction in Elberton, towards the left-hand bend when he collided with a car coming in the opposite direction.
The road was closed for a detailed examination of the scene by police collision investigators.
Mr Heffernan - known as "The Heff" – had shared his excitement about competing in the sporting event on his blog the previous Friday.
"This will be my first race alongside members of my new team, Team Herbalife-Leisurelakesbikes.com, proper racing!" he wrote.
Aust Parish Council chairman Mike Hawkins, who lives near the scene of the accident, said the first he heard of the incident was when police shut the road.
He said: “They shut the road just below us, below Taylor’s Farm. I would guess it was from 1.30pm on,” he said. “It didn’t reopen until quite late. My wife saw an ambulance depart.”
British Cycling president Brian Cookson said: "This is a tragedy which will profoundly sadden everyone associated with cycling in this country."
For the first time in the event’s history, organisers had launched a second ‘amateur’ race on the day, which took place in the morning. The regular competition was held in the afternoon.
Police have launched an appeal for witnesses following the tragic death.
A spokesman said: "We are seeking witnesses following a fatal road traffic collision in South Gloucestershire, in which a cyclist died. Despite being given treatment the cyclist was later declared dead at the scene.
"We would like to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time of the incident who may have information to help our enquiries."
Officers are also calling on people who may have filmed the race to contact them immediately.
Anyone with information should contact the collision investigation unit on the force number 101 or online via www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/contact/crime_reporting