Bruce Ross will be stepping down as race director of the SBS Bank Tour of Southland after the 2019 edition of one of New Zealand’s most iconic events.  Ross has had a 50 year attachment to the great race, from being a judge through to directing the event.

Over the last five decades Bruce Ross has been the SBS Bank Tour of Southland’s great constant.  As riders have come and gone, Ross’ presence as a tour judge back in 1970 through to being race director from 1985 onwards has seen him preside over the success of some of New Zealand’s great names.  As judge he saw Stephen Cox take back-to-back triumphs.  His first year of being race director saw him preside over the first of six consecutive triumphs for Brian Fowler, he’s seen each of Gordon McCauley’s 23 outings at Southland including overall glory in 1996 and 2005, and the hat trick of Hayden Roulston from 2006-2008; with an extra title in 2010 for good measure.

As reported by Southland Sport, Ross is very proud to have aided the evolution of the event that has become iconic on our shores and become a draw card for riders who have become some of the best internationally.  “I have seen many changes throughout my involvement with the event, having seen the tour evolve initially from a three-day event through to its present day standing as a seven-day race.  Throughout this time, the tour has seen the development of many outstanding champions, with current international riders such as George Bennett, Dion Smith and Jack Bauer, plus many others, all having learnt their trade at the Tour of Southland.”

While 2019 will be Ross’ last round as race director, he won’t be sailing into the sunset just yet, as he plans to continue supporting the race as a volunteer.

“I believe that the community is extremely proud of this iconic event and want it to continue to be successful.  The fact that I’m finishing as race director does not mean the Tour of Southland will lose any of its lustre or professionalism – new personnel can being new ideas and I would certainly welcome and encourage that.”

Nicola Wills and the team at Cycling Southland will announce the new race director in the coming weeks, with Wills saying, “Cycling Southland is currently finalising the succession plan for the Race Director role and will be announcing very shortly the details of that process.”

Photo: James Jubb/Studio Jubb


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