Destination Dubai 2012 was established to raise money for Help for Heroes. Its key aim is to raise £25,000 to sponsor a purpose-built bedroom for wounded soldiers at the flagship H4H recovery centre Tedworth House.
We have undertaken a number of activities to raise funds and our total for 2012 was £15,300. Our main challenge was to ride Triumph Tiger 800 XCs 6,300 miles through 18 countries in just 14 days. We did this in September, riding through Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia and Turkey, doing a complete loop of the Black Sea before heading back through the Balkans.
Three hairy bikers – Geoff, Colin, and Chris – all ex soldiers were supported by Bron, Mick and Karl who travelled in a Land Rover Discovery G4 loaned by Stratstone Triumph. The Sun was our media sponsor and provided significant coverage before and during the challenge.
Our original plan was to depart on 22 September 2012 and ride through Europe and then across Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia before finishing at the foot of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
But Violence in the Middle East provoked by the publication on YouTube of a film that mocked the Prophet Muhammad meant that we had just days to come up with an alternative plan. Giving up was not an option.
The film’s publication, which led to the attacks on the American consulate in Libya in which eight Libyans and four Americans, including the US Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, were killed sparked anti-western protests across the region.
The geographical location of Dubai, and the current tensions in surrounding countries, made it impossible to reach Dubai by land.
We’ve looked at maps until we are cross-eyed, and exhausted every possibility. We talked with the US Air Force at Incirlik in Turkey to see if they could help. They were amazing and turned every stone, but time was against us.
So, in true military fashion, we swallowed our disappointment and looked at what we could do.
Our alternative plan was not the same. But it was tough, it was grueling, and, we hope, worthy of your support.
As for our sponsors, particularly The Sun, Triumph Motorcycles, and Stratstone, thank you hardly seems enough. They know how hard we worked and pledged to stand by us “no matter what”. So did Help for Heroes.
In a year that’s celebrated British grit and determination, we could not and did not give up.
Times are tough, and the fact that we have raised more than £15,000 in this economic climate is truly humbling. We want to try to reach our target by continuing with fundraising events in 2013. Plans are in the pipeline, and we will update you through our blog and our social media sites. Please continue to support us. At the heart of DD2012 is a genuine desire to help our service men and women – and their families – to make a full recovery after suffering life changing injuries in the line of duty.