Late IndyCar ace's wish to be fulfilled in a charity team led by wife and brother.
The late Justin Wilson will be honored by his wife and brother at The Dempsey Challenge charity bike ride next month in Maine.
The event raises funds for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing, and was a cause Wilson took up two years ago. He raced in IndyCar’s 2013 Baltimore Grand Prix with the Dempsey Challenge logo on the side of his Dale Coyne Racing car and had also gotten to know Dempsey through his regular forays into sports car racing. The 2013 Baltimore GP was also the one in which Justin’s brother Stefan made his IndyCar debut, as they teamed together at Coyne.
A charity Justin felt very strongly about
Now Julia Wilson, who was going to compete in the 50-mile version of the Dempsey Challenge alongside Justin, has decided to stick to her plan. She has called up Stefan to team with herself, family friend and former RuSPORT driver coach Barry Waddell, and Dempsey Racing’s Jim Jordan, together competing under the #riding4JWill banner.
I am going to do it, just for you, Justin, because I know what it meant to you.
“It was a charity Justin felt very strongly about,” Julia Wilson told Motorsport.com, a month to the day after her husband died of head injuries incurred from flying debris at Pocono Raceway. “He’d done the 100-mile version of the Dempsey Challenge before. Then one day I think I was moaning to him that we never did an active recreation together. I told him I couldn’t do mountain-biking, like he loved to do, and he said he wouldn’t do jogging, which I do. So we had compromised and started road biking together this year and I said, ‘Let’s do the Dempsey Challenge, but I can’t do the 100-mile one.’ So Justin agreed to do the 50-miler and we’d cross the line side by side.
“Well, after the accident, I didn’t want to do it. I just wanted to cancel everything, you know? But then I woke up one morning and said in my head, ‘No, I am going to do it, just for you, Justin, because I know what it meant to you.’ Then Barry volunteered to join me, Stef agreed to join me, and Jim – who was going to do the ride anyway has joined our team. In fact, he helped make the arrangements because I honestly didn’t know how far along Justin was with organizing it, and I don’t know all his passwords for his computer and so on. Jim’s been really, really helpful.
“So suddenly I have a bit of an entourage!” chuckled Julia. “But 50 miles? My backside’s going to be sore, that’s for sure. And apparently there are a couple of really big hills, one of which is right at the end. But I think Stef is going to find it a challenge, too: Justin had just got him into biking, he’d bought a new bike, and Stef said to me, ‘Lately I haven’t felt the inclination,’ so I told him to get his butt in gear and I think he’s managed 30 so far. He’ll have it a bit easier because of the length of his legs and size of his bike, but by the end of the race, I think we’ll be about the same speed.
“So wish us luck. The Dempsey Challenge is a really good cause and if things had been the other way around, Justin would still have done it without me – we all know that. That’s what he was like.
“He wasn’t just my husband; he was my hero.”
Those who wish to donate to the four-strong #riding4JWill team on The Dempsey Challenge should go HERE. One hundred percent of your donation directly benefits the Dempsey Center, which provides free support, education and integrative medicine to anyone impacted by cancer.