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mattjware

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Posts by mattjware

Disabled petrolheads make epic John O Groats to Lands End journey

Petrolheads Dave Burdus and Carl Brunning have made history by becoming the first pair to ride from John O’Groats to Lands End on high-performance…wheelchairs.

The intrepid duo, both paralysed following separate accidents more than 30 years ago, completed the 2,200-mile road trip in 10 days aboard specially adapted wheelchair trikes capable of hitting 125mph.

The weather wasn't always kind...

The weather wasn’t always kind…

Bikesure backed the pair’s bid with free motorcycle insurance for the trip, which aimed to raise awareness of the government’s Disability Confident campaign and raise funds for the Percy Hedley Foundation’s Splash Appeal – a £1m appeal for a hydrotherapy pool for disabled children.

On September 1, the pair set off from Newcastle’s Quayside on their Mad Max-style, 1150cc three-wheelers – with BMW R1150R front ends and modified rears – to prove that anything able-bodied motorcyclists could do, so could they.

Time to get going

Time to get going

The John O’Groats to Lands End section itself took six days, starting on September 4, calling in at Inverness, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Hull and London along the way before arriving at Land’s End on September 9 to a glorious Cornish sunset.

Scottish-Border

And during the epic journey, Dave and Carl found time to stop off at Number 10 Downing Street to meet with Minister of State for Disabled People Mark Harper.

“We were able to give Mark an update on our journey,” said Dave, “and use his status at the famous Downing Street to raise the profile of the disability confident campaign.”

Mr Harper said: “They are sending a very positive message to employers that they should give disabled people an opportunity to go and work in their businesses. I think they are a very good example of people who, when they put their minds to it, there is nothing they cannot do.”

Meeting with Mark Harper

Meeting with Mark Harper

“The Downing Street stop off certainly grabbed attention,” said Carl, “which allows us to push out our message to employers that disabled people are skilled and motivated, and with the right equipment and support are equally dependable and capable as non-disabled employees.”

Dave added: “Our disability confident road trip is a perfect example of disabled people’s potential. And our planning, determination and staying power is readily transferable to the workplace.”

The two adventurers struck up a friendship when they were left paralysed through spinal injuries and found themselves in neighbouring beds in Hexham Spinal Injuries Unit in 1983.

Carl, 50, fell 150ft when mountaineering with two friends in the Lake District and Dave, 53, had a motorcycle crash at Spennymoor.

Carl said: “When we talked about doing it in hospital it was just a pipe dream – but now our plans have come to fruition.”

We made it!

We made it!

Time for reflection...

Time for reflection…

...and time to sleep.

…and time to sleep.

The trikes have built-in electric tail ramps and locking mechanisms for securely fastening the wheelchairs in place, while the gear change is made by pressing a button with the thumb on the left hand.

“The trikes are a bit Batmen meets Judge Dredd,” said David. “When we approach, all heads turn. People are totally impressed and most don’t suspect that we are driving from wheelchairs until we drop out of the back or drive past. You can see it really challenges pre-conceptions of disability. All the questions are about the trikes and none about our impairment or wheelchairs, which is very refreshing.”

Carl added: “At the end of the day people are recognising what we are doing isn’t superhuman, it’s just everyday normal! We are just two guys doing what we love – riding motorbikes!”

Bikesure can provide competitive insurance for all sorts of motorcycle and trike, whether standard or adapted for disabled riders.

Huge crash leaves Fincham battered but unbowed

King’s Lynn racer Mark Fincham walked away from a horrific 120mph crash at Donnington Park at the weekend and vowed: “I can’t wait for the next meeting.”

Riding his fully rebuilt main bike for the first time this year, Mark – sponsored by East Winch-based Bikesure – was looking forward to a successful weekend in the MRO Clubman series after qualifying in second place.

The fearless racer, who lost a leg in a motorcycling accident in 2007, was fighting for second place in the opening race when front brake problems ended his challenge.

“I took the inside line to pass the guy in front and the brake grabbed on the disc and tucked the front and my race was over,” he said.

“I was absolutely furious as I knew I wasn’t pushing for pace and could’ve ridden much faster.”

After stripping, cleaning and rebuilding the front brake overnight, Mark started near the back of the grid after failing to complete the first race, but was soon on the charge.

Smashing his best ever time at the track by two seconds, Mark finished second in class, earning the Rider of the Day award and setting himself up for the final race.

Starting just off the front row, Mark made a great start and was closing in on the leader when disaster struck.

The moment when Mark and his bike parted company at 120mph

The moment when Mark and his bike parted company at 120mph

“I was working out where I wanted to pass when, on the approach to the very last corner of the lap, my front brake failed totally,” he said.

At 120mph and with a hairpin bend approaching fast, Mark had to think quickly.

“There was no way I could get round. I saw the tyre wall coming up fast and instantly knew I had to avoid it as an impact at that speed would’ve killed me,” added Mark.

“I ran the bike into the gravel and had a full on 120mph crash. After being thrown from the bike and tumbling over and over I came to a stop. The race was cancelled so the medics could clear me up and take me to the medical centre. Fortunately I had nothing broken, just lots of bruising and pain.

“But I can’t wait for the next meeting at Cadwell Park, my favourite track.”

The bike, needless to say, is in line for another rebuild…

Meet living legend Carl Fogarty at the BMF Show this Saturday

Visitors to this Saturday’s British Motorcyclists Federation Show at Peterborough will get the chance to meet Superbike legend Carl Fogarty, thanks to specialist broker Bikesure.

Foggy, who won seven world titles between 1988 and 1999, clocking up an unsurpassed 59 World Superbike victories, will be at the three-day show at the Peterborough Arena from 9.30am on Saturday.

He will sign autographs and chat to visitors for two, one-hour sessions on the Bikesure stand (R3-2) and spend an hour doing the same on the BMF stand (R3-1).

Carl Fogarty in action

Carl Fogarty in action

Foggy will then take to the stage in the Northampton Suite in front of the main arena for two question and answer sessions with Steve Berry from 10.15am to 11am and again from 2.30pm to 3.30pm.

The show, one of Europe’s largest outdoor motorcycle shows, has been running for more than 37 years and features something for every motorcycle fan, from classics to modern bikes, plus live entertainment, stunt shows and the ACU 1000cc sidecar championships.

Between 42,000 and 45,000 visitors are expected over the three days of the show.

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