Cycling for Simone team arrives in Darwin

Family and friends of jockey Simone Montgomerie, who died after a fall in a Darwin Cup Day race, have crossed the finish line of their 3000km fundraising bike ride from South Australia to the Top End to celebrate her life.

The 26-year-old mother and premier rider in Darwin suffered fatal chest injuries when she was thrown from her mount Riahgrand during the August 2013 race at Fannie Bay.

In the lead-up to the third anniversary of Montgomerie’s death a group of cyclists, including her father Peter and sister Brooke, embarked on a 26-day journey from her home town of Streaky Bay up to Darwin.

Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne joined the team for the last leg as the team cycled into the Darwin Turf Club at about 1pm on Friday.

Former star apprentice jockey Scott Leckey, whose career was cut short after he suffered brain damage in a 2007 fall at the same track where Montgomerie fell, rode the final two days of the journey.

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“It is amazing to think we have completed this massive journey – something which started as an idea and has well delivered the most incredible experiences,” Peter Montgomerie said.

“All of those involved on the trip will never forget the experiences and it was great to see so many people in Darwin to cheer us to the finish.”

All funds raised from the Cycling for Simone ride will go to the National Jockeys Trust which supports seriously injured riders and their families.

Her family said it wanted to give back to the Trust which had assisted them in the time after Simone’s death.

“On behalf of the National Jockeys Trust and scores of injured riders and those riders we have lost, we thank you for you commitment and inspiration that you have shown in completing this extraordinary ride,” manager Des O’Keeffe said.

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