Vintage moped fans gear-up to ride from Land’s End to Spooner Row

Last year they conquered the 750-mile stretch from John O'Groats to Norfolk on their first ever 50cc mopeds and raised more than �6,000 for charity.

Now a group of nine friends are preparing to push their vintage bikes to the limits once again as they embark on a six-day tour from Land's End to Spooner Row, near Wymondham.

The bikers, all in their 40s, will set off for the country's most western point on Saturday ready to begin their latest adventure on Sunday.

The 720-mile ride, dubbed the Wrong Way Down with the slogan 'Nine Middle-aged Guys, Nine Vintage Mopeds, One Mid-Life Crisis', will take them through St Austell, Torquay, Poole, Hastings and Southend sleeping in campsites and pub car parks.

They hope to arrive back at The Boar pub in Spooner Row on August 5, with the aim of netting thousands of pounds in sponsorship for Marie Curie Cancer Care. Their previous trip raised more than �6,000 for Wymondham-based cancer charity Star Throwers.


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James Jones, from Black Carr, who is undertaking the ride on a 1969 Puch MS50, said the group were hoping to turn their mammoth road challenges into an annual charity event.

He added that buying the bikes they all formerly rode as teenagers had become 'contagious' and brought back fond memories.

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'We've been riding our mopeds all year - we've fallen in love with them. We've all got bikes, Hondas, BMWs and the like but we've not been out on them. On Thursday nights we meet up and either fix them (mopeds) or ride out,' he said.

'We walk into pubs with our helmets and leathers - the full kit - and when people look outside and see what we've got it's funny.'

The love affair began last summer when, inspired by the antics of Jeremy Clarkson and his Top Gear sidekicks, eight friends decided to challenge themselves to ride from John O'Groats on the first 50cc mopeds they owned as youngsters.

They scoured collectors' websites, eBay and even scrapyards to find the correct models and spent weeks making them roadworthy again.

Despite a handful of breakdowns coupled with an average speed of about 20mph, they completed the epic journey in five days. Now most of the gang are rolling out their seasoned bikes for a second time and more people are joining in.

Newcomer Ian Limmer, from Wymondham, bought his 1974 Puch MV50 off eBay which needed just two new tyres before it was ready for a spin.

'I'm joining in because I'm 50 this year and I have not raised money for charity before. I love motorbikes and it's something close to all our hearts,' he said.

The rest of the team includes Markus Munford, Richard Rackham, David Nickalls, Stuart Pearson, Richard Allen, Doug Evens, all from Spooner Row, and Lee Howe, from Wymondham. David Abbs, from Cromer, will be driving a back-up vehicle full of spare parts and tools.

For more information or to sponsor the riders, visit www.wrongwaydown.biz

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