OBITUARY: From the Rome Olympics to a Newcastle oil rig – the life and times of cyclist Ron Baenschphotos

Adventure-filled ride of Hunter Olympian MEMORIES: Adamstown’s Ron Baensch, who died on Thursday, as part of the Olympic torch relay in 2000.
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TweetFacebook Ron BaenschPictures from Fairfax Digital CollectionThe Olympics, World Championship medals,six-day events, European truck driving and Newcastle oil rigs were all part of Ron Baensch’s “adventure-filled life”.

Long-time Adamstown-based cyclistBaensch, who finished fourth in the 1000-metre sprint at the 1960Games, died on Thursday after a short battle with illness.He was 78.

“He’s had an adventure-filled life,” Baensch’s younger brother Kevin said.

Making the n squad for Rome 57 years ago was a special moment for Baensch’s family and a personalturning point.

“That was a great moment for us and a turning point in his life too,” Kevin said.

“It put him on the international scene of cycling and that’s where he spent the rest of his career in Europe.”

For the next decade Baensch raced overseason two wheels andcollectedfour World Championship medals –bronze in the 1961 amateur and three, including two silver, in the professional ranks from 1964 to 1966.

To make money while away he contestedvarious competitions, including six-day events that featured some 18-hour riding days.

Once retired from the sport Baenschpicked up a job truck driving in Sweden that took him from the Arctic Cricle down to Greece and across to Portugal.

Upon his return Down Under in 1974 he gained employment on a Newcastleoil rigand settled in the region.

Baenschwas part of the old Newcastle League Cycle Club and won his last local race in 1980. Heis remembered fondly byCessnockveteran Clyde Marshall.

“He came up to me and said do this son,” Marshall said.“He was a great rider, but always treated you with that respect.”

Baenschhelped mentor Novocastrian Anthony Peden, who now coaches the New Zealand national team.

Up until very recently he continued to ride socially at Merewether’s Townson Oval twice a week.

Baensch, who was the eldest of four Melbourne-born brothers,is survived by long-time partner Janelle andtwo stepchildren–Kristen and Grant.

His funeral service will be held at Lake Macquarie Memorial Park in Ryhope from noonon Friday.

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