A GROUP of Formula 1 fans from Stafford set off on the journey of a lifetime next Thursday, August 28 by embarking on a charity cycle ride from Silverstone to Monza in time for the Italian Grand Prix.
Covering an incredible 800 miles in just nine days, the trip will take the 23-strong crew from their British starting point through France, Switzerland and Italy arriving at Milan's legendary Autodromo di Monza on Friday September 5.
The sponsored Ride2Monza trip in aid of a range of charities has been organised by Rich Tindale, a keen cyclist and Formula One, who is head of design for the Stafford-based Francesco Group of hair salons.
The latest cycle adventure follows 2012's highly successful Ride2Spa organised by Mr Tindale, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis since 2007.
“In 2011 I was recovering from a relapse that affected my vision quite badly,! he said. “I love cycling, but at the time I couldn't even think about getting on a bike.
“So I told myself that when I was back in action I'd arrange a charity ride to an F1 race in support of the MS Trust. It's a great way to combine two things I love while raising funds and awareness for a charity that's very close to my heart.”
The four-day trip saw Mr Tindale and a group of pals journey to the iconic Belgian Grand Prix venue, where they watched Jenson Button secure victory from pole position, and raised more than £23,000 for their chosen charities.
But this year's ride is about more than just raising money, Mr Tindale said.
“While we were organising Ride2Spa my best friend Simon Campbell's new-born boy Jasper was diagnosed with leukaemia, so we decided to support charities which had helped the family during a very difficult time,” he explained.
“Jasper received a bone marrow transplant at Birmingham Children's Hospital in March 2012, and when we rode to Spa he was in remission and looking really well. However, his leukaemia returned in August 2013, and tragically Jasper lost his battle in October.
“This put a hold on all things Ride2Monza and really made us think about whether it should take place.
“But after some thought Simon has decided he wants to go ahead. He'll be cycling the 800 miles in memory of his little boy.”
With this in mind the group, who are funding all the expenses of the trip themselves, have redoubled their fund-raising efforts.
The money they raise will be divided between the Anthony Nolan Trust, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Cancer Research UK, Mind and the Multiple Sclerosis Trust.
Further derails on how to donate are available at www.ride2monza.com. Team members will also be tweeting on their progress via @ride2monza