Tragic loss of fa­ther on a ride

Multisport Mecca - - News - Grant Ed­wards Grant.Ed­wards@news.com.au

THERE was noth­ing ac­ci­den­tal about the death of cy­clist and fa­ther Stephen Small.

His for­mer part­ner Yolanda Brady be­lieves he was run down in a cold-blooded hour of ter­ror at Doo­nan last March 14.

Nathan Craig MacDon­ald pleaded guilty this week to dan­ger­ous driv­ing caus­ing Mr Small’s death, ad­mit­ting to be­ing in­tox­i­cated at the time and leav­ing the scene be­fore po­lice ar­rived.

Hav­ing at­tended ev­ery hear­ing lead­ing up to Mon­day, Ms Brady was in shock at MacDon­ald’s early plea at Ma­roochy­dore District Court af­ter a year-long wait.

MacDon­ald ap­peared in court via vide­olink from prison.

He sat qui­etly be­hind a ta­ble, hands in his lap, shoul­ders slumped as he pleaded guilty to the charges.

Noosav­ille man Rod Wil­cox was tar­geted by MacDon­ald and the ve­hi­cle’s pas­sen­ger, Corey Michael Sinclair, just be­fore Mr Small was run down.

Sinclair pleaded guilty to com­mon as­sault while ad­versely af­fected by a sub­stance and was fined $450 and re­ceived 60 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice.

MacDon­ald’s sen­tenc­ing has been de­layed un­til May so a psy­chol­o­gist’s re­port can be pre­pared.

Ms Brady had lob­bied po­lice and the pros­e­cu­tion to up­grade the charges to mur­der.

“Ac­ci­dents hap­pen, but there was noth­ing ac­ci­den­tal about this,” Ms Brady said.

Tragedy struck Mr Small while he was on a train­ing ride on his way home from work.

On the bike he was a nat­u­ral. One of the truly tal­ented.

Hav­ing lived in Noosa for more than a decade, he loved noth­ing more than to get out and ride – al­though work had taken prece­dence in re­cent years for the 42-year-old.

An elec­tri­cian by trade, his Com­merce Court shed was his base, but he lived on the rolling hills of Doo­nan.

Stephen loved the area, re­mind­ing him of the UK where he grew up.

Fam­ily and work com­mit­ments had re­duced his rid­ing time in re­cent years, and af­ter be­ing ribbed by his mates for “get­ting a bit chubby”, it was a re­turn home to his fa­ther’s fu­neral in De­cem­ber 2015 that reignited his de­ter­mi­na­tion to race.

“Steve was al­ways a pas­sion­ate cy­clist,” Ms Brady said.

“He had been us­ing his cy­cling to travel to and from work to try and get in a bit of ex­tra mileage and to al­le­vi­ate stress on the road, it just made sense.

“To watch him on a bike, to even just see him ma­noeu­vre amongst the group in a race, he was one of the best cy­clists you had seen.

“He was very strong and could ride all day.”

One of Stephen’s close friends, Ian Cuth­bert­son, now lives at Noosa but had also grown up cy­cling and raced against him as a ju­nior.

While still com­ing to terms with the loss of his close mate, he re­mem­bers a strong and qual­ity ath­lete.

“He ac­tu­ally rode in An Post Rás, which is a tour of Ire­land and one of the hard­est am­a­teur stage races you can do,” he said.

“He was a re­ally handy cy­clist. More of a do­mes­tique rider, su­per pow­er­ful, you could sit be­hind him drag­ging you along all day.

“Steve would just go and go all day long, but just didn’t have the sprint to bring home the wins. He quite en­joyed work­ing for other peo­ple.”

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

Doo­nan's Stephen Small (pic­tured with his son Os­car) had lived in the Noosa area for more than a decade, but pre­vi­ously had an im­pres­sive cy­cling ca­reer in the UK.

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