The caricature above (painted by Richard Jnr’s partner, Kay) could be said to quite accurately represent Richard Buckwell’s cycling career, as he’s had quite a few falls and collisions over the years. On Lower Mount Duneed Rd he was wiped out by a little old lady’s side mirror; at the APCO service station near Kardinia Park, he was taken out by a car turning into the service station, and in High St, Belmont, he was hit from behind by a car travelling at 70km. But his most spectacular crash was in 1989, when, whilst racing on the Staughton Vale/Maude Road, he collided with a hay bale that had just fallen from a passing truck. The hay bale was still moving and with a combined speed of 100ks, Richard suffered severe ligament damage to his right shoulder which required major reconstruction. In a subsequent racing crash at the Ballarat Open, Richard dislocated his left shoulder and this still remains out of the socket. And another crash that is talked in much mirth within the family is when he crashed into a parked police car undertaking speed camera duties, apparently the car just happened out of nowhere.
However, Richard’s cycling career should not be seen merely in terms of these mishaps for he has been a successful racer, a respected State referee, a very able Club administrator, and a highly successful organiser of cycling events.
Richard started cycling with work colleagues from PMG in 1957. He joined the Ballarat Amateur Cycling Club in 1958 and as a customer of the Super Elliott Bike shop in Ballarat, he became acquainted with Brian Long, one of the bike mechanics at the store. He alternated between playing football in winter and cycling in summer. He was a very handy utility player in strong country leagues with Rushworth, Mildura and Ballarat. Ballarat were premiers in 1962 and were runners up in 1963. In the same year, Richard married Rosslyn who, coincidently, is Brian Long’s second cousin.
Richard was a competitive cyclist racing off scratch in track races around Ballarat. These were generally held in association with gymkhanas staged about once a month. On other weekends he competed in club races. After about five years of track racing his road racing became more predominant and when he shifted to Geelong in 1969, he joined the Geelong Amateur Cycling Club.
As a member of the Ballarat Cycling Club, Richard had been a delegate at State meetings in Melbourne, so at Geelong, he became actively involved in the administration of the Club. He was club president for three years and was handicapper for eight years. It was during his time as president that he became instrumental in convincing the newly formed Geelong Veterans Cycling Club to race at Paraparap. The Geelong Amateur Club was racing at Paraparap on Saturdays whilst the Veterans, under President Reg Marriner, were racing out of Fyansford on the Hamilton Road, under conditions which could not be considered ideal. Richard convinced the Vets to move out to Paraparap where there was less traffic and the circuit was more protected from prevailing winds.
Richard joined the Veterans in 1982 and for some years was racing twice on weekends – on Saturday with the Amateurs and on Sunday with the Vets where he was often the lone scratch rider. He enjoyed considerable success in age group championships and combines with the amateurs and one of the highlights was winning the Victorian Amateur Country Championship at Leongatha. Here he relied a little on the support of colleague and second-cousin-by-marriage, Brian Long, who came to the front, slowed the leading bunch down, and allowed Richard to take off for the win. Richard has won the Warrnambool Veterans Club Open race and has had fastest time in the Southern Vets Open in Leongatha. Another highlight was being selected, via a series of qualifying races, for the Australian Amateur Road Cycling Championships in Perth in 1980. Riding with the likes of ex Olympian, John Hine, he acquitted himself very well.
However, it is as an administrator, referee and race organiser that Richard has made his mark on cycling in the Geelong area. He was vice president of the Geelong Veterans Cycling Club for eight years, president for five years from 2009-2013, delegate to the VVCC for 15 years and a State referee for ten years. For outstanding service to the GVCC he was made a life member in 2010.
Among his many notable achievements are the following:
- Co-ordinating two Australian Veterans Championship at Paraparap
- Negotiating with the Surfcoast Council to construct the ladies’ toilets and change rooms at the Club
- Negotiating a 25-year lease on the club site at a peppercorn rent
- Active involvement in securing the establishment of the criterium track at Belmont
Richard saw a marked increase in club membership during his period of administration, spent considerable time in maintaining the club environs, and has had considerable influence in ensuring that the club has operated harmoniously and effectively.
Rosslyn and Richard have three sons – Richard Jnr. (Rick), Brett, and Anthony, plus seven grandchildren.
Article from PMG staff newsletter