Harness Racing Victoria was saddened to hear of the weekend passing of Bill Hanson.
Bill was an immensely popular harness racing man, whose enthusiasm and affability was infectious to all he met.
Bill was a life member of Harness Breeders Victoria and he and wife Margaret were principals of Homevale Stud at Fern Hill.
The stud stood many stallions and in 1990 purchased the legendary Maori’s Idol for stud duties, where he stayed until his death in 2006.
Bill was an inaugural inductee into the VHRMA Hall of Fame in 2009.
Officials from Bendigo and Mildura harness racing clubs spoke glowingly of Bill and his association with the sport.
Mildura Club Manager Mark Kemp said Bill and Margaret would never miss a Mildura Cup Carnival.
“They’d roll into town on the Monday and catch up with friends and they’d stay the whole week. Then they’d go home after the cup night on the Sunday,” Kemp said.
“They formed very strong bonds with many up here in Mildura over the years.”
Bill and Margaret would sponsor the Mildura Trotters’ Cup for several years and in 2013 the race was named in their honour.
Mildura HRC will honour Bill at next Tuesday night’s Mildura meeting by naming a race after him.
Bill also had a long and loyal association with the Bendigo Harness Racing Club, where he was a life member.
Bendigo harness racing stalwart Des Rothacker, a long-time friend of Bill, said he would be missed.
“He was very committed,” Rothacker said.
“He requested Maori’s Idol be buried at the track. Just as you go into the club you can see a placard on the fence there about Maori’s Idol. That was at Bill’s request and the club was only too pleased to do it.
“He had a lot of friends here. He donated a free service to one of his stallions for many years.
“He enjoyed life and was a very good bloke and very good friend.”
HRV CEO John Anderson said: “The industry is saddened to hear of Bill Hanson’s passing. He was a great friend of harness racing in Victoria and will be sorely missed. HRV sends its condolences to Margaret and family.”
The funeral service for Bill will be held at the Thomas J. Scott Memorial Chapel in Piper St, Kyneton, on Friday, July 11, at 2.30pm. A burial at the Tylden Cemetery will follow.
by Cody Winnell
Harness Racing Victoria