Grampians “Ride to Remember” 2016 – massive turnout!

A massive turnout of over 460 motorcycle riders and pillions took part in yesterday’ (Sunday, 7th) Grampians “Ride to Remember” at Ararat.

With over 100 extra registrations than normal on the day the numbers passed all expectations for the organisers and collectively with Victoria Police, volunteer marshalls and support vehicles a large contingent of over 500 left Ararat in a huge convoy on the 174km ride that took in the region and through the Grampians National Park.

Prior to yesterday the organizing committee knew they would get good numbers with 260 pre-booking online, many taking the opportunity to come to the area for the weekend. Another bonus was the predicted favourable weather which saw a large group of local riders from Ararat and District, Stawell, St Arnaud and Horsham areas get their bikes out of the shed and turn up on the day to register.

The Ride took off at 9am from the Ararat Performing Arts Centre precinct following the safety message presented by Victoria Police, Assistant Commissioner for Road Traffic Doug Fryer and the safety briefing for the Ride route by Safety Officer, Jenni Papsts.

With the traditional wave of the Victoria Police checked flags by Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation Chief Executive Neil Soullier, Ararat Rural City Mayor, Cr Paul Hooper, East Grampians Health Service Board Chairman Matt Wood, Victoria Police – Wimmera Region Superintendent Paul Margetts together with Michael and Lindy Bond (parents of Jason Bond) the long trail of riders led by the Assistant Commissioner (and also the Ride Patron) and Senior Constable Brad Bond (Jason Bond’s brother) headed out of Ararat via a scenic route through to Halls Gap for morning tea. Here they were greeted by the Halls Gap Cricket Club who had the job of catering for the hoards and did a great job of catering and raising valuable funds for their club.

The Ride continued on through the Grampians National Park and then via Yarram Rd to Willaura before regrouping at Moyston for the journey back into Ararat. On arrival volunteers handed out showbags which included a 2016 commemorative badge plus complimentary bottled water.

Having made good time across the ride route the Ride contingent arrived back in Ararat a little earlier than expected to the Alexandra Gardens however as always the Ararat Lions Club were ready to feed the masses in good time with many compliments. In addition the Liquid Indulgence coffee van did a brisk trade.

The free ‘Show N Shine’ again proved popular with many taking the opportunity to show off their bikes in addition to vying for prizes and trophies made available by Shannon’s Insurance, Wimmera Motorcycle Co of Horsham and Ord’s Motorcycles of Ararat.

In addressing the crowd, Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation – Ararat Branches Vice President, Shaun Allen acknowledged all involved in the event and in particular the registered riders and pillion for the way in which they participated to make it such a safe and enjoyable ride. This certainly made the job of Victoria Police, Marshalls and Support Teams easy on the day and everyone needs to be congratulated on the way the Ride was conducted. A big thank you was also expressed to all the sponsors who had contributed to the success of the event.

Importantly, the Ararat Branch is indebted to outstanding support of Victoria Police and particular the Northern Grampians Region, the Sub Committee who took on to organise the event again this year, the volunteer marshalls, support teams and the many, many volunteers and organisations who come together to make this a signature event for not only Ararat but across the region. With everyone participating and working together this fundraising effort will contribute to our current project to raise $150,000 for the Jason Bond Perioperative Unit Project at East Grampians Health Service”.

A major highlight at the gardens activities was the presentation by Neil Soullier, Chief Executive Officer of the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation of a cheque for $30,000 to East Grampians Health Service towards the Jason Bond Perioperative Unit Project which will add to the $60,000 already donated by the Ararat since July last year.

In accepting the cheque on behalf of East Grampians Health Service, Board President Matt Wood said: “The wonderful facilities at East Grampians Health Service such as the helipad, medical imaging equipment and refurbishment, CT Imaging machine, theatre equipment and the fitting out of the Emergency Department, would not have been possible without the remarkable support of the Blue Ribbon Foundation. Over $800,000 has been donated to East Grampians Health Service by the Foundation and the Ararat Branch since 2002 and this has certainly placed us as one of the best equipped rural Health Services in Victoria.

This generous donation today, together what the Ararat Branch has already donated towards the stage one redevelopment of the Perioperative Unit has enabled us to already commence the project. It includes the redesign and refurbishment of the Theatre Recovery and Day Procedure areas and will very much improve workflow for the increasing number of day stay patients.”

Overall this year’s Grampians “Ride to Remember” is expected to raise over $10,000 for the Ararat Branch and will assist the Jason Bond Perioperative Unit fundraising project.

Following a debriefing of the Sub Committee and the Ararat Branch, planning will start for the next Ride to be held on the first Sunday in 2017.

*Released February 8th, 2016

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