A TEAM from a North Wales rugby club are on course to raise a massive £25,000 on a 500-mile charity cycle ride.
The four riders from Ruthin Rugby Club will cycle from Murrayfield to the Principality Stadium in Cardiff for the Wales v Scotland Doddie Weir Cup match.
They will join rugby legends Shane Williams, Wales’s record try-scorer, England’s Mike Teague and Scotland’s Rob Wainwright as well as cycling stars Sir Chris Hoy and Mark Beaumont on the mission to deliver the match ball for the 2.15pm kick-off on Saturday, February 12.
The two-day, 50-hour relay ride is for popular former Scotland second row giant Doddie Weir’s campaign to raise funds for research into the motor neurone disease which affects him and so many others across the UK.
The cycling cavalcade will make a one-hour stop at Ruthin at about 7.30am on Friday morning and then head for Dolgellau with stop-offs at Ysgol Y Berwyn, Bala, and Ysgol O M Edwards, Llanwchllyn, on the way.
So far the rugby club team of Dr Matt Davies, former first teamers Steve Morgan and Rob Boyns and Wyn Jones, from Caernarfon, have raised a staggering £22,000-plus for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation which aims to rid the world of MND.
They are hoping local children will be there at Ruthin Rugby Club to welcome the riders and for autographs and that local cyclists will join them on the ride out towards Corwen.
Matt Davies, from Llanynys, near Ruthin, a GP at the Middle Lane Surgery in Denbigh, said: “The ride starts at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh and we’re being supported by a number of local businesses including Lock Stock Self Storage for what is going to be a pretty gruelling ride.
“It’s 500 miles through the cold and dark of February but it’s rugby and cycling, two of my favourite things so when Rob and Steve suggested it we decided to go for it and there’s no better example than Doddie Weir.
“We’ve been doing a lot of training, we’re out on our bikes a few times a week and we’ve had a fantastic response from our sponsors who have already committed over £11,000 to us.
“There are 22 teams leaving Murrayfield on Thursday morning, riding in relays, and we’re calling at rugby clubs along the way including at Ruthin for an hour which we expect to reach about 7.30 on Friday morning.
“It will be a hot pace to keep up – an average speed of about 15mph is pretty punchy in the winter but we’ve got a support team with us and Steve and Rob have done Iron Man events and I’ve done long distance rides.
“We’ve also got the incentive that the team that raises the most gets to go on the pitch before the big game and we’re also hoping that some of our friends at Ruthin Cycling Club will join us to ride a few miles on Friday.”
The team will backed up by a van driven by John Vaughn and Neil Colquhoun so they can rest between taking turns at riding and to carry food and drink, equipment and spares.
Lock Stock’s Lisa James said: “It’s a fantastic effort that Matt and his friends are making. They’ve raised a phenomenal amount of money and it would be great to see them out on the pitch at Cardiff before kick-off.
“We are delighted to be able to back them on what will be an amazing effort in aid of a fantastic charity and I’m sure they’ll get a great send-off that morning in Ruthin.”
Ruthin Team Leader Rob Boyns said: “We hoped to raise £1,000 but we’ve had an incredible response with over 100 people donating and we want to say a big thank you to all of them.
“It’s going to be a tough challenge with over 8,000 metres of climbs but we’re doing it in relays and really looking forward to it and to engaging with people along the way, especially locally which is why we’re stopping for an hour at the schools in Bala and Llanwchllyn.
“There will be some famous faces among the riders including one heavyweight team of ex-Welsh forwards Alix Popham, Colin Charvis, Tony Copsey and Ian Gough.”
Another is Dr Rob Wainwright, a back row forward for Scotland and the British Lions, who said: “We’ve all been inspired by Doddie and his fight against MND to cycle for two days along cold and dark winter roads to raise funds for his My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
“We’ll all be decked out in Doddie’s tartan, and are looking for support for our cause as we travel.
“All the money will go direct to MN5D Foundation which has ploughed £6.5m into MND research in the last 4 years and we hope that a breakthrough in treatment will be just round the corner, in time for Doddie and the countless future victims of MND.”
To donate to Matt, Rob, Steve and Wyn and for more information about their challenge go to http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/DoddieGog500