Category: Local Legend
Year Inducted: 2012
"A middle-aged Wagga cyclist has left the young guns in his dust, taking out the local track series. At 50, Billy Robertson may not be at the height of his fitness, but he's certainly not over the hill." The Daily Advertiser, 22 March 2016
Bill was born in Wagga Wagga on 20 February 1966, and attended Wagga Wagga Public and Wagga Wagga High schools, before becoming a student at TAFE.
Athletic throughout his school years, with an interest in track and field, Bill had a dream of going to the Olympics as an athlete. As a result, he spent many hours sprint training on the Wagga Wagga Cricket Grounds. Whilst watching the cycling on the track alongside where he ran, one of the cyclists invited Bill to have a go, and the rest is history.
In his inaugural year Bill came 2nd in his first race and by his second year, was representing NSW in cycling.
Having now competed in cycling for over 30 years Bill has a very long and impressive list of achievements. He has been selected to represent NSW at U17, U23, Elite and Masters levels. He has finished on the podium at the Australian Track Championships on nine occasions. He is a three time champion and place-getter on another four occasions at the Australian Masters Championships. He has dominated the prestigious Wagga Wheel Race over the years, being a four-time winner and has competed with distinction at many other events across the country, including the NSW Road Championships, NSW Track Championships, NSW Masters Championships and various Wheel Races.
Bill has also been responsible for training the next generation of cycling champions, having been Track Cycling Coach at the Riverina Academy of Sport and Southern Sports Academy from 2001 to 2009. Bill was Vice-President and President at the Wagga Wagga Cycle Club and was awarded Life Membership in 2008 for his outstanding contribution to cycling in Wagga Wagga.
In his sporting career, Bill's parents were his biggest inspiration, even when he was in his forties they would still come to races and watch him compete. In 1982 Bill's parents bought him a tailor-made bicycle by Jim Bundy of Sydney. Bill remembers visiting Jim a few times to have the bike tailor fitted. They drove him everywhere for his sport, as far away as Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland. They were always there for him.
Most cyclists know that cycling can at times be a very lonely sport; everything is done by you. Bill has had to put sport in front of his career. An average week for Bill at the peak of his career would be:
Wake at 5am and go for a 2 – 3 hour ride
Home to shower and off to work
Afternoon – off to the bike track or gym
Bill calculated that he worked 40 hours a week and trained 18-20 hours a week. In one year he rode 25,000kms on his bike and 5,000kms in his car!
Bill said in his day they were allowed to eat anything – there was no dietary emphasis like today's athletes experience. But as an Academy of Sport coach he taught differently.
When Bill was asked did he think that growing up in Wagga Wagga contributed in any way towards him being inducted into the Sporting Hall of Fame Local Legends Bill answered an emphatic yes and adding "Cycling facilities particularly, are good and it is so much easier to go around the roads of Wagga Wagga than living in an metropolitan area". He believes we have such a good sporting culture and such good facilities, making it a great place to train and ride in the fresh air.
Bill still lives in Wagga Wagga, and works for Regional Express Airlines (REX), where he is a Network Schedules Analyst, responsible for all of Rex's flight schedules within Australia.
Bill still cycles competitively at a local level. In March 2016, he took out the local track series, when he finished ahead of youngster Charlie Hamilton by one point to win the Frank Clear Award.
In his cycling career, Bill has won this trophy four times, the first time in 1988. Winning it once again 28 years later, Bill said 'I'm far from super fit, but I'm experienced enough and fit enough to know what to do and where to be… in my first race back, I was older than the parents of the guy I was racing against!'