A local biker took part in a mammoth motorcycle challenge over the weekend of summer solstice, the longest day of the year, to raise money for Cancer Research.
Charles Miller attempted The Longest Day Up Challenge 2019, a ride which begins at sunrise (4:00am) in Land’s End in Cornwall, the most extreme southwestward point of England, and finishes at John o’ Groats, the most extreme northerly point of mainland Scotland by sunset (11:30 pm).
Charles, the only island resident to take part in the challenge out of 27 entrants, rode in memory of his good friend Robert Robinson of Ramsey who completed the event in 2018 and was tragically killed just one month later in a motorcycle collision at Ballacrye, leaving his wife and two young children.
Charles attempted the grueling 1021-mile ride on the bike that Robert used in The Longest Day Up Challenge 2018.
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company offered its support by providing travel assistance for Charles and his motorbike as he travelled to and from the UK.
Charles said: ‘Robert was an old friend and I, along with others, was devastated to hear the tragic news of his death. He was a keen motorcyclist from a young age and attempting the ride in aid of charity was very much the mark of the man.
‘It was a bucket list item of his to take part in The Longest Day Up Challenge and he was over the moon to tick if off, so it made perfect sense for me to do it this year in his memory and on his beloved bike.’
After 23 hours of riding across 900 miles, stopping only for petrol and pit stop check-ins, Charles retired north of Fort William at 3am and completed the rest of the journey in the back of the rescue vehicle provided by the organisers.
He added: ‘I was disappointed not to have made the full trip by some 150 miles but my body was telling me enough was enough. I rode down from John o’Groats to Inverness the next morning so only really missed out on 40 miles or so.
‘I’ve raised more than £1,700 which is amazing, I’m now just waiting on the final few donations before I can announce my final total. Cancer Research conducts incredible research into the disease and I’ve requested my sponsorship money to go towards the research of prostate cancer specifically, as my father sadly died of that in 2016.
‘I’d like to say a huge thank you to the Steam Packet Company for supporting this trip, it really means a lot to me. Thanks also go out to local musician Dickie Kelly for playing four concerts at the Whitehouse Hotel in the lead up to the ride and passing round a collection bucket each time, raising £750 of my total, and to my good friend Seamus McDevitt for preparing the bike.’
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We were pleased to support Charles as he rode from the lowest point of England to the highest tip of Scotland on this charity ride. It’s a lovely token of his friendship to attempt the challenge in memory of his friend.’