THEY are pulling on helmets and zipping up leathers over some big hearts. This September, local motorbike riders are taking to the road for the fifth annual Scrapheap Challenge, with all funds raised donated to Down Syndrome, NSW.
Down Syndrome NSW gives families support and resources for families who love and live with a child with the syndrome.
Col Meacham is one of the local organiser and rider. He said anybody is eligible to ride in the Challenge, but there are a few rules to follow.
“If they want to accept the challenge, the get yourself a bike for under $1000, spend what ever you wish to spend on it to get it up roadworthy, reliable, and you ride it from your home to the destination of the rally and it changes each year,” Col said. “This year is Nymboida (NSW). What they encourage you to do is set yourself a challenging route to get there.”
Perry ‘Pezz’ Gilensen of Sydney is the father of a Down Syndrome child and the Challenge founder. He lost both legs in an accident years ago, and adapted a motorbike that he has now piloted over 500,000 kilometres to raise awareness and money for Down Syndrome.
Inverell riders have participated in the Challenge since 2011. Col, Mick O’Brien and Phil Kimber were the first three to take the trip, and since then, the riding ranks have swelled to 14, and more are welcome to join the effort.
Local pharmacist Brendon Campbell is riding for the first year in support of the program. His daughter Emi has Down Syndrome, and Brendon has just achieved his P plates and bought a motorbike to join the local Scrapheapers.
He’s been giving Emi rides around the paddock on his bike, and Emi said had fun on the bike with her dad.
“It’s a really good ride,” she said.
“She hangs on with her thumb on the horn if I go too fast,” Brendon laughed. “I don’t know what our neighbours think!”
Money will be raised through a raffle and charity ride.
The prize this year of a $1000 travel voucher from Windsong Travel was donated by the Campbells and tickets are available through Campbell and Freebairn Chemists for $5.
The charity ride on August 30 will add to the kitty. Anybody who would like a day on the bike Tickets are $40 each, tax deductable and includes a barbecue lunch.
The Scrapheap Challenge riders will depart Inverell on September 18 from the Oxford Hotel. Donors to the cause can also find the riders on Facebook: ‘teaminverellscrapheapadventureride’ or to learn more about the foundation go to www.downsyndromnsw.org,au.
To learn about joining the ride you can phone Col on 0458 255 557, Mick on 0447 522 357 or Phil on 0419 956 270.