An annual Day of Champions event at Silverstone raised an impressive six-figure sum for a Pitsford charity’s lifesaving work in Africa.
The event at Silverstone yesterday raised £216,249 for Riders for Health, with £77,090 coming from an auction of items donated by stars of the MotoGP championship.
MotoGP is racing at Silverstone this weekend, and Riders for Health is its official charity.
Racing icon Valentino Rossi’s nine lots raised £13,250, while items donated by rising star Marc Marquez raised £10,825.
The auction lot which raised the most amount of money was a Bridgestone tyre, mounted and signed by all of the MotoGP riders, which raised £4,600.
As well as the auction, entertainment included on-stage quizzes with motorcycle racers, question-and-answer sessions with MotoGP and support race riders, and live music.
Andrea Coleman, CEO and co-founder of Riders for Health, said: “We sold out of the paddock passes in the first week in April, and for the first time ever we have sold out the entertainment zone as well.
“It is brilliant. It’s a good time to have it, as the weather is factor, and the championship is at a critical point.
“Northamptonshire is just such an amazing place, and a great place to have an event.
“People know more about Riders as time goes on, and they want to support it. People come year after year, but we also get new faces as well.
“I think they feel part of the Riders family. We are not an organisation where people are not sure what we do.
“This event is absolutely key. It is a cornerstone of our fund-raising.”
Chris Simmons, who travelled from Derby to attend the event, said: “I have been coming for about 10 years. It is a good cause and a good day.
“I follow the charity on Facebook and Twitter. It is about getting out to the small villages. Without doubt it changes people’s lives.
“MotoGP is the biggest event on the motorcycling calendar. I love the noise.”
One of the highlights of the day was a mass ride-in of motorcycles, led by British MotoGP rider Bradley Smith.
All the bikes gathered at the Super Sausage cafe, on the A5 near Towcester, for pre-ride breakfast baps and coffees.
Chris Murray, who runs the cafe with his wife Gail, said: “I reckon there was about 150 of them. We got to ride round the track twice. It was brilliant.”
Riders for Health mobilises health workers in Africa with motorcycles so they can reach remote rural communities with health care on a regular basis. Health workers are trained to ride safely over the rugged terrain and to do daily checks on their motorcycle so that it doesn’t break down, leaving vulnerable families isolated.