Jeremy Mahot wanted to raise awareness of the link between concussion and depression, and pay tribute to his former housemate Liam Treadwell, who died aged 34 in June last year.
Jeremy, 39, a retired jockey, raised £7,385 for Headway before closing his GoFundMe page on Sunday, saying ‘I’ve been overwhelmed by the support’.
The seven-day BIKE Transalp Race is reputedly the toughest amateur mountain bike race in Europe, starting in Nauders in Austria and crossing the Austrian and Swiss Alps before finishing in Riva Del Garda in Italy.
It was a personal challenge for Jeremy, completed in memory of Liam, who was a student at The Angmering School before leaving in 2002 to pursue his career as a jockey.
Always a keen sportsman, Liam had won the school’s Sportsman of the Year Award for five years in succession.
Jeremy said: “Concussion is an occupational hazard for jockeys and Liam, who was personally affected, was passionate about increasing awareness and understanding of the issue, talking frankly about his personal experiences in a JETS (Jockeys Education and Training Scheme) Jockeys Matters video in 2017.
“I had my own personal battles with mental health at the start of the Covid pandemic and a friend suggested mountain biking. Liam, who had talked about his struggles after a severe head injury put him out of racing for six months, had read my posts about how this was helping my mental health.
“In early June, he contacted me and we arranged to ride together at Cannock Chase. Sadly, that ride never happened, Liam was found dead at his home on June 23, 2020.
“I knew then that I wanted to do something to raise more awareness about the link between concussion and depression, particularly within the racing industry.”
Liam made his racing debut as a teenager and was an apprentice on the flat before switching to jump racing and going on to ride Mon Mome to win the 2009 Grand National at 100/1.
A regular in races at Fontwell Park, he learned how to ride at Castle Stables in Arundel where parents Mark and Lorraine had worked for John Dunlop.
Liam was found dead at his home in Shropshire and at the inquest, the serious head injury he sustained in a nasty fall at Bangor in 2016 was highlighted by the coroner.
He was unconscious for four minutes and it left him with headaches, short-term memory loss and problems with concentration.
Findon-based trainer Nick Gifford, who had known Liam for nearly 20 years, made a plea last summer that his death should not be in vain and urged all in racing to take heed of people’s mental health problems.