The official charity of MotoGP, and an example of motorcycles making the world a better place, Riders for Health is an organization Asphalt & Rubber truly enjoys supporting. For those still not familiar with the work being done by Riders for Health, the charity was founded by Andrea & Barry Coleman, along with some guy named Randy Mamola. Providing motorcycles to health workers in Africa, Riders for Health has helped bring vital and reliable (this point being key) medical care to remote locations in DRC, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Being here in Silverstone for MotoGP’s British GP has meant the unique opportunity to participate in the Day of Champions, the trackside Thursday event that helps raise money for Riders for Health. The event is perhaps most well known for its rider auction, which has forever been immortalized with the antics of then teammates Cal Cructhlow and Colin Edwards.
For an added bonus this year, the British government has graciously agreed to match any funds raised by Rider for Health at the Day of Champions, which means yesterday’s event helped raise in total £254,989 for the organization. British readers, if you want to help support Riders (and get a gold star in our book), you can donate 3 by texting the letters “RFH” to 70303 (your donation will also be doubled by the Crown). US readers, you can go to Riders.org to make a donation (I’m told the text message donation system doesn’t work abroad).
Despite Friday’s fairly miserable conditions for FP1 and FP2, Thursday had, by English standards, glorious weather, which boded well for the plethora of British fans who got a chance to do a few laps around the Silverstone circuit. Attendees also got the opportunity to mill around in the rider paddock, and mob whichever rider they could find for an autograph/photograph/hug. Of course, the rider auction was the crowning jewel of the day, despite the drizzle that began to come down.
Raising £60,000 at the auction alone, a bevy of nice items from the riders and teams in the paddock went to the highest bidder. Maybe 30%-40% of the money raised was done so by Valentino Rossi, showing that even in a down season, the Italian rider’s charisma has no problems emptying the wallets of his many, many adoring fans. With the Rossi prices orbiting in a stratosphere, and well outside a blogger’s budget, I regrettably did not go home with the Ruben Xaus crashed WSBK-spec Öhlins forks that had been machined into a penholder, nor did I win the first pair of Cal Crutchlow “Honey Badger” race leathers. But, my loss meant someone else’s gain, which in the end means more money raised for Riders for Health. Huzzah.
American readers, if this sounds like your cup of tea, then you are in luck. Riders for Health operates a similar opportunity at the Red Bull US GP at Laguna Seca, called the Day of Stars, and the Indianapolis GP also has a rider’s auction where proceeds go to Riders for Health. For more information on those events, and how to get involved with Riders for Health, all you need to do is visit Riders.org.
Video: Riders for Health