Massive response from motorcycle community
Monday, 6 April 2009
In a resounding show of support for the Victorian bushfire victims, motorcycle riders raised over $40,000 in the Ride for the Hills (RFTH) charity event on Sunday, April 6.
The strength of numbers was irresistible, as a massive column of riders rode from Beaconsfield Parade in the heart of St Kilda to Whittlesea, close to Kinglake, one of the worst affected areas in the devastation of February 7.
Around 3000 bikes participated in RFTH and, with an escort from the Victorian police, the column was kept intact for the entire journey, stretching as far as 15km at one stage. There were also eight 'feeder' runs which terminated in Whittlesea.
Police support for RFTH also extended to the Assistant Commissioner of Traffic, Ken Lay, joining the ride on the back of MRA president John Karmouche's Harley-Davidson.
Pre-registration prizes were drawn at the final destination, followed by an auction of products and services donated by individuals and businesses, which helped swell the total to the 40K mark.
The spokesman for RFTH, Phil Cassap, was blown away by the success of the event.
"The spirit of the ride was overwhelming and has been praised by everyone - the police, the authorities and riders themselves," said Cassap. "Everyone should be proud of their efforts, and the most pleasurable aspect of it was that everyone put their needs aside to make it happen.
"There was a spirit of willingness across the board, and that's why it was such a great success. And the event was also incident-free, which was very pleasing."
Cassap revealed the Victorian police have already asked him about running it again.
"If there is support, we will definitely look at running it again at a more appropriate time," he continued. "The council in St Kilda has already offered to close Beaconsfield Parade, but that's something we will look at in coming months."
All proceeds from RFTH will go to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal Fund. The Victorian bushfires, which killed 173 people, razed a number of townships in the heart of motorcycle-riding playgrounds, including Kinglake, Marysville and Narbethong.