The “Riders Against Depression” campaign came into being when New South Wales dairy farmer Stephen Ralph lost a neighbour to suicide and decided to enter the Australian 4 Day Enduro on a vintage bike to raise awareness and support for the fight against depression.
His club, Heaven VMX came on board, and at the same time Colin Metcher of the Brisbane MCC felt this was a worthy endeavour and also got behind it.
Circumstances prevented Stephen from competing, but club mate Nathan Senior entered and completed the 4 Day on a classic Kawasaki, a fantastic effort.
The campaign initially featured the 4 Day, and the Pan Pacific Masters Games on the Gold Coast in November 2014. Heaven ran fundraisers at their Gloucester event and other NSW classic competitions, whilst Queensland kicked off with the Masters, and the Brisbane MCC started fundraising.
The next major event was the Queensland Classic/Post Classic Championship, a highlight of which was the entry of Will Harper from California, ex Maico factory rider who gives talks at venues such as The Mens Shed on his experiences with drug and alcohol fuelled depression.
Fortunately Will has overcome these issues and is using his experiences to help others. Will rode a borrowed Maico 490 in the Queensland titles, and a featured event was match races against Steve New, also Maico 490 mounted. It was USA v Australia and very entertaining. One round on the Maicos, and the return bout on 650 Triumph Metisses.
The next major event to feature the “Riders Against Depression” campaign will be the 40 Year Anniversary of the Mountain Man at Echo Valley, Toowoomba in November this year.
The clubs and riders involved recognise the gravity of this widespread issue of depression in our society and encourage all classic riders and supporters to get behind this endeavour.
All proceeds raised by Riders Against Depression go to BeyondBlue
Check out some posters from recent events Riders Against Depression were involved with below: