Meet John Halford

Posted by mtba, September 25, 2017

My name is John Halford, I live in Mandurah, Western Australia. 

I am a race member of MTBA 134962 and a member of Perth Mountain Bike Club.

Prior to taking up mountain bike riding I previously had a background in motorsport riding in Observed Motorcycle Trials and then Go Kart racing.  I purchased a mountain bike and did some casual riding around Dwellingup from around 2009. 

In 2012 I became aware of the Dwellingup 100 MTB Classic.  I signed up for the coaching clinic and met the owners Mark and Jenny Wardle and a number of great coaches including Peter Millard and Jason Tassel.  The coaching clinic was an excellent initiative and prepared me for my first mountain bike event that was the 2012 Dwellingup 14 km which at that time was a big challenge. 

In 2013 I decided to work on my fitness with the goal of entering the Dwellingup 40.  Just prior to the event I participated in a reconnaissance ride conducted by “Rock and Roll Mountain Biking” so once again bumped into Mark and Jenny Wardle, Peter Millard and Jason Tassel. 

During the reconnaissance ride Peter and Jason asked if I was interested in riding in other mountain bike events such as cross-country.  I indicated that I thought I would get in the way and they both explained how the events were run with “waves” and categories to suit all levels of rider.  They let me know that everybody started at some stage and experienced riders understood the situation and not to be put off coming along to an event.

At the end of 2013 family history caught up with me and I required a couple of stents inserting due to blocked coronary arteries.  Leading up to this I used to ride around 40 kms of isolated trails around the Dwellingup hills but afterwards my wife Kerry wasn’t too keen on me riding alone.  

During the lead up to the Dwellingup 40 in 2014 I came across an article by Tony Tucknott relating to Muscular Dystrophy Western Australia and the “Ride for Someone Who Can’t”.  At this point in time I didn’t know who Tony was but his article touched me enough to register to ride as part of the MDWA “Ride for Someone Who Can’t “ team. 

In 2015 I decided to participate in more mountain bike events and joined MTBA and Perth Mountain Bike Club.  This was the first year the Dwellingup 60 was introduced so I registered but this ended up a bit short lived as in August I had more tests and a decision was made for me to have open heart bypass surgery. 

The operation was performed on the Thursday prior to the Dwellingup 100 and I was still in intensive care on the Saturday of the event.  After the operation I needed to take it easy for a few months and didn’t have a mountain bike ride until the end of January 2016. 

Having met a lot of people around the mountain bike trails I created a Facebook group called “Peel MTB Group” to allow people to arrange social rides and provide information relating to events.  While out on social rides I often stop to talk to other people about the group and offer encouragement.  I am now affectionately called “Mr Havachat” by a lot of the people I ride with as I they know I am always chatting. 

The group now has over 130 members and there are several who have “had a go” at XCO and XCM events that are now members of MTBA and loving the events.  I enjoy taking out groups of beginners and sharing some basic skills with them as I take them on guided tours around the various trails.   I also like to participate in rides with a “Mountain Biking for Mental Health” group that is an initiative by friends Liz and Steve Gunther. 

During 2016 I participated in all the XCO and XCM events and registered for the Dwellingup 60 event.  This year I successfully completed the 60 km distance which was my longest race to date.  Then to cap off a great year I registered and completed the Cape to Cape which was my first multi day MTB event. 

2017 has been my biggest year to date.  I have ridden in the WAMBA XCO State Series as well as the XCM events.  I rode and finished the Karri Cup 100 km which was my biggest distance ever ridden in one day. 

As the Dwellingup 100 approached a riding buddy Graham Walker suggested that we ride together in the full Dwellingup 100 km. We achieved our goal of finishing the 100 km and were happy to have achieved a time of 6:26. 

At the event there is an “Kyle Conor Spirit of the Ride” award in honour of two gentleman with muscular dystrophy who sadly passed away during a power outage during a storm.  I was honoured to be nominated for the award by Tony Tucknott and proud to be chosen as the 2017 recipient of the award.  It was a bit of an emotional moment when I was called up to receive the award during presentations and for a change I was unable to speak. 

I’d like to acknowledge my wife Kerry as she promotes mountain biking by taking photos at all the events and making them available free of charge to everybody. 

A lot of people have offered to make payment for photos but Kerry suggests should they want to do something then make a donation to a charity of their choosing.

I have been involved in mountain biking for a few years know numerous people that do so much for the sport and feel privileged to be involved. 

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