It’s amazing where a few beers at the bar will take you.
In 2010 about 10 mates decided they would take a journey to regional NSW and raise money for Down Syndrome NSW. The catch was each of them had to do it on a motorcycle built from spare parts for less than $1000.
Now, thanks to word-of-mouth publicity, the Scrapheap Adventure Ride has grown to a national event.
Mudgee man Bill Wilkin takes up the challenge held annually over the Easter Weekend.
“Initially we thought if we all donated $1000 each that would be $10,000 towards Down Syndrome NSW,” he said.
“In our first year we raised $12,000. In the second year we grew and raised $65,000 and to-date I believe we have again raised $65,000.”
Mr Wilkin said the ride was started by a mate of his, Perry Gilsenan, who lost his legs in a train accident when young and then had a car crash several years later. Perry’s daughter Grace has Down Syndrome.
“Let me tell you, with his mechanical legs Perry can ride a motorbike far better than me,” Bill said.
This year riders travelled to McPhersons Plains Alpine Retreat at Mount Kosciuszko and last year they ventured to Cameron Corner, the border of NSW, South Australia and Queensland.
Mr Wilkin, a former Cobar resident, said he didn’t ride to Mt Kosciuszko this year because he could not build a bike in time mainly because of work commitments. However he did make the trip as part of a support crew.
“I’ve got a bike ready for next year though, a Yamaha Tenere 660 which I bought off a friend in Cowra. The challenge will be to get it registered by next Easter,” Bill said.
“In 2011 my bike blew up and I had to sell it off and start again.”
CEO of Down Syndrome NSW, Stephen Clarke, said the small organisation received little government support and it was fantastic to see the funds raised by the “Scrappers”.
“Donations of this kind allow us to continue supporting people with Down Syndrome and their families, particularly now in regional areas where people are isolated and find support harder to access,” Mr Clarke said.
Mr Wilkin said he encouraged local people to join in on next year’s ride or donate spare parts needed to build bikes.
For more information log on to www.scrapheapadventureride.com.au