JUDE Bentley (Guyana), former member of domestic cycling club, Heatwave, was killed is his homeland on Saturday by a vehicle driven by ex-Guyana Defence Force chief of staff, retired rear admiral Gary Best, on the Rupert Craig Highway.
According to Guyanese news agency Demerara Waves, Bentley, 41, was riding along the roadway on his way to an early morning training session before he was struck down.
He died at the scene. Upon receipt of the tragic news, TT club manager Guy Costa, was disheartened. He revealed Bentley rode for Heatwave through 2003 to 2009 and played an integral role in elevating road circuit racing in TT. Bentley participated in multiple criterium races and also took part in the Tobago International Cycling Classic.
Costa said the Guyanese cyclist spent several years competing in local events alongside a diverse cast of other club members from Australia, Barbados and TT. Bentley stopped riding competitively for a while but due to a recent resurgence of cycling in Guyana, a lot of older riders were returning to the circuit and training together. He was scheduled to make a return to competition on Sunday.
“Jude was a key member of Heatwave. They took road racing to a new level in Trinidad. The club displayed a teamwork in road racing that never really existed here. We spent up to 30 hours plus per week training and racing.
The team had an almost telepathic understanding of what they were going to do during races. He was a racer who would understand and read the race as it was unfolding, when and when not to make a move,” Costa reflected.
Costa, who was recently involved in a crash at the Beacon Cycling on the Avenue event last year, took this opportunity to raise awareness to motorists on the presence of cyclists along TT’s roadways.
Although he believes there has been a rise in concerted efforts by local citizens to be more mindful of riders, Costa reiterated cyclists also had rights to use the road.
“Cyclists in Trinidad still do not feel we are given the room, space and respect as road users. We’re trying to make the roads safer and yet there are still people out there think it’s a big joke to fly past a group of cyclists, two inches away, and blast their horns and think that’s fun. A bicycle is a vehicle and entitled to be on the road by law,” he added.