Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.
Well-known Melbourne amateur racer Damion Drapac has died after being hit by a car in Mount Waverley on Thursday.
Drapac, son of long-time cycling supporter Michael Drapac, was riding to the Anzac Day Classic road race at Sandown Raceway when he was struck by a car on Blackburn Rd just after 12:30pm.
Local media outlets reported the death of a cyclist on Thursday but did not disclose the rider’s identity. The Cannondale-Drapac Continental team revealed Damion’s identity on Saturday.
“It is with immense sadness that we confirm the news that Damion Drapac, son of team owner, Michael Drapac, passed away on Thursday the 25th of April from injuries sustained in a collision with a vehicle, whilst riding his bike,” the statement read. “We cannot explain the heartache felt by both the Drapac family and the wider cycling community.”
CyclingTips understands Drapac was riding alone when he was hit front-on by a driver travelling in the opposite direction. The male driver of the car stopped and is understood to be assisting police with their inquiries. Drapac died at the scene.
Drapac, 30, raced at the Continental level in the late 2000s with the Drapac-Porsche team. He raced on and off in recent years while completing a medical degree, then made a more serious return to racing in late 2018. Since then he was a fixture on the Melbourne racing scene, notching up several victories and podium finishes at local club criteriums and road races. Earlier this month he was second in A grade in the Jack McDonough Memorial road race, a part of the Northern Combine race series.
Drapac had ridden with the Brunswick Cycling Club since he was eight years old. On Saturday the club posted a tribute to the man its members knew as “Duda”.
“Whilst cycling is dear to all our hearts, we remember Damion above all as a genuine human being, a valuable member of society who led a worthy life contributing to the sport, his club and to making the world a better place,” the statement read. “He also had a deep sense of justice, was fiercely loyal and generous.
“Duda was working as a Doctor at the Austin and had set his sights on specialising in gastroenterology … by all accounts he was a gifted, committed and deeply compassionate clinician. He also ran a successful side business/hobby of buying and selling vintage bikes and parts. He touched many people through his true passion for life, his tenacity and commitment to self-improvement.”
In a heartfelt statement accompanying the Brunswick Cycling Club post, Michael Drapac shared his grief and paid tribute to his late son.
“He was my son. He was an extraordinary brother,” wrote Drapac. “He was a devoted partner. He was to be a father. He loved his family. We can never forget this extraordinary man. I loved him with all my heart.”
CyclingTips offers its sincere condolences to Damion Drapac’s family, friends and all who knew him within the cycling scene and beyond.