THIS great run originated with the boys at a local Newcastle pub way back in 1978. There were about 20 bikers who did a charity run for the well-known Bernardo’s Boys Home at Wallsend. However, after three years, Bernardo’s relocated to Sydney. The fourth year (1981) was then carried out for the Salvation Army and has remained so until this day.
Sandgate Regional Produce Markets was the venue for assembly. At 9 am the parking area was a sea of bikes; lots of bikes and the riders were dressed in the spirit of Christmas.
The Lord Mayor of Newcastle led the bikes off at 9.30 am precisely for the 20 km ride to the Newcastle foreshore with full police escorts and green lights all the way.
Along the route, the streets were lined with on-lookers waving and cheering as up to 5000 motorbikes roared their way into town. ‘Thunder’ describes the noise that preceded the bikes, heard some half a km ahead of the run.
The ride culminated at Newcastle foreshore; Santa leading the way of course. The area seemed to be covered by a sea of bikes and people. There were stalls for bikers’ gear, food and refreshments, a jumping castle for the kids and a band for entertainment, all bathed in brilliant sunshine.
After formalities on stage, all donations, whether toys or cash were handed over to the Salvation Army for distribution to some 500 families. Families, throughout Newcastle, Hunter Valley and Lake Macquarie will have had a more enjoyable Christmas this year because of these donations.
The Kawasaki Girls roamed the crowd, taking donations and the Salvation Army girls were out selling badges. Young and old came together for this most important cause.
The organisers for the Bikers for Kids and the Salvation Army said, “$52,000 in cash and toys to the value of $25,000 was raised for this great cause, on a great day by a whole bunch of great people who participated in this great ride. Great outcome!”
By John Wrightson