Former jump jockey Jeremy Mahot will cross 355 miles over seven days as he takes on a gruelling cross-Alps bicycle race in memory of the late Liam Treadwell.
Mahot, 39, rode more than 70 winners before retiring in 2016 and now acts as head lad at the Oxfordshire yard of Noel Williams.
The Transalp Race will see him take to a different type of saddle as the challenge covers over 570 kilometres and includes uphill ascents that total more than 18,000 altitude metres.
Beginning on Sunday in Nauders in Austria and crossing both the Austrian and Swiss Alps, the race finishes in the Italian town of Riva del Garda and will be contested by more than 1,000 competitors.
Mahot set himself a fund-raising target of £5,000 for the feat, with this sum already exceeded as the racing community has come together to donate to brain injury charity Headway in memory of Treadwell.
Another aim of Mahot’s participation in the race is to raise awareness of the link between concussion and mental health issues, something cited as a possible cause for the struggles that led to Treadwell’s tragic death in June 2020.
“I had my own personal battles with mental health at the start of the Covid pandemic, and a friend suggested mountain biking,” Mahot explained.
“Liam, who had talked about his struggles after a severe head injury put him out of racing for six months, had read my posts about how this was helping my mental health.
“In early June, he contacted me and we arranged to ride together at Cannock Chase.
“Sadly that ride never happened, Liam was found dead at his home on the 23rd of June 2020.”
Treadwell, who famously won the Grand National aboard 100-1 shot Mon Mome in 2009, suffered a head injury following a fall at Bangor in 2016.
The incident was partially responsible for his retirement from race-riding and was described by the coroner at the inquest into his death as “a significant turning point” in the deterioration of his mental health.
“I knew then that I wanted to do something to raise more awareness about the link between concussion and depression, particularly within the racing industry – then I heard about Bike Transalp,” Mahot said.
“I’ve been training with the help of Oli Beckinsale (former Olympian mountain biker), and I arrived in France on Sunday to begin my Covid quarantine ahead of the race.
“I’ll be pushing myself to the absolute limit, I’m just an ordinary bloke taking on an extraordinary challenge.”