The idea of leaving rainy England to travel to the other side of the world and embark on an epic Australian motorcycle journey across the red centre seems a dream out of most people’s reach.
But not for Paul and Andy of the UK who are flying out for the annual Great Australian Ride from August 6, 2016.
Paul had been following GAR’s development and rides over the past four years and worked with Andy in the Police force.
Obviously there are not many deserts in the United Kingdom so the guys considered taking their KTM1190 and Tiger 800 down to Morocco to gain some good sand skills.
However, after Skyping GAR founder Stuart Ball they decided some local beach riding would be good enough.
“On GAR’s previous beach assaults we have found that each and every rider lifts their game and gets into the groove of sand riding fairly quick,” says Stuart.
“There are a few key points for sand work to remember; having the right bike and equipment is number one, fitness and patience.
“We find that most riders have a healthy fear of deep sand, especially dunes and on GAR we have a day’s play on both Little Red and Big Red on the edge of the Simpson Desert. By the end of the day everyone has mastered the technique and smiling from ear to ear.”
The UK boys have decided to hire GS700 BMWs instead of shipping over their bikes for the 21-day crossing.
As part of their fundraising, they have been involved with UK-based Lullaby Trust, a charity that is similar to the Australian SIDS and Kids which GAR has been supporting for five years.
Tragically Andy and his partner lost their daughter, Gemma, aged three weeks in November 2006 so there is great personal feeling attached to the charity ride.
Working with Lullaby both Paul and Andy have been involved with school visits with their adv bikes, raffles and various other events, fundraising and promoting their upcoming adventure. Their idea is to raise 2000 pounds for UK based Lullaby and also $2000 for SIDS and Kids. They are well and truly on their way with 75% of their fundraising complete.
Stuart says most of the GAR riders come from Australia but they have also included Kiwis, Swedes, Austrians and even Estonians.
“It’s always a mixed bag, and that’s what makes GAR,” says Stuart. “This isn’t about bikes; it’s about people and there has been many amazing people involved over the years.
“I’m sure by the time the team have crossed the first desert there’ll be plenty of Pommie jokes coming out.
“Usually after day four passing Cameron Corner, everyone settles into a groove. I think after leaving the bright east coast lights the riders draw upon each other and the state/international barriers fade away leaving us all as fellow adv bikers.
“By the time we reach Steep Point (WA) we all know each other very well indeed and have a much deeper understanding of this great country, its people and ourselves. Oh, and how to ride in sand.”
You can join the ride from as little as a $35 donation to SIDS for the send-off, or ride to various points along the way for various amounts or take the entire trip. Click here for all the details, but be quick as only 12 positions are available for the full ride.
Stuart founded The Great Australian Ride in 2011 when he rode his KTM990 Adventure motorcycle solo 6000km across Australia raising $5200 for the Children’s Health Foundation.
The 2016 Team has so far raised $9500 of their $50,000 target. If you would like to donate and help SIDS and Kids continue to provide bereavement and support services to families and anyone that has been affected by the sudden and unexpected death of a baby from pregnancy to early childhood click here.