James was born on June 1st 1983. He lived in the Southern Highlands and attended St Paul’s School, Moss Vale, and Chevalier College. As a child, James spent many hours on bikes. His life was transformed when, at the age of 17, he completed a three-week bike ride with his uncle, from Adelaide to Berrima. James loved it. On his return, he joined the local bike club, and never looked back. James excelled in mountain biking and regularly competed in many races held all over Australia.
James won the Sydney Solo 12 Hour race in 2002 at just 19 years of age. James went on to win many eight and twelve-hour races, before attempting his first solo 24 hour Race in 2005. One year later, he became the 2006 Australian Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike Champion. In 2008 he took out the World Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championship in Canada. He was 24 years old.
After leaving school, James completed a Degree in Communication and Public Relations at Canberra University. He wrote extensively about the events and the people involved in the sport and in 2007 James became editor of Enduro magazine. Enduro magazine is published five times each year, and covers all aspects of mountain biking with a focus on endurance riding. The editorship role enabled James to communicate his love of mountain biking to a wider audience. His editorials were particularly memorable as they effortlessly captured the spirit of mountain biking in a profound and unforgettable way.
In 2010 James realized his dream to race the Cape Epic, a seven-stage mountain bike race in South Africa. He completed Stages 1 and 2 with his friend and riding partner Shaun Lewis. Early in the morning of March 23 2010, before the start of stage 3, James died in his sleep (from an previously undiagnosed heart condition).
James Williamson will be remembered for the huge impact he had on the mountain bike world, both on and off the bike, in such a short period of time. His enthusiasm and passion or the sport, and his engaging personality endeared him to many. Although he was a world champion, he never let this alter his love and enjoyment for riding, and his continual encouragement for all riders, at all levels. The James Williamson Enduro Challenge and James Williamson Fund aim to support this spirit of encouragement and passion for mountain biking, in everything that they do.
Stromlo Forest Park Totem
A totem has been erected at Stromlo Forest Park in Canberra in memory of James. The totem was opened by the ACT Government Minister for Sport in October 2010, and is the first totem to commemorate a mountain bike rider at Mt Stromlo. It stands as a permanent dedication to James and marks the start of a new trail at Stromlo Forest Park called the “Willo Link” – named after James Williamson. Thanks to Anton Scott-Cameron (Swell Designs) whose tireless energy and direction was responsible for bringing the Willo Trail and the Totem to Stromlo Forest Park as a permanent tribute to James.