Over 500 riders and pillions participated in the 2024 Grampians Ride to Remember on Sunday, February 4. The annual event raises funds for the Victorian Police Blue Ribbon Foundation, with this year's ride raising $40,000.
The hot weather forecast did not deter motorcycle enthusiasts from across Victoria and the wider community.
Riders left Ararat earlier in the day from the Ararat RSL carpark.
This year's event was one of the largest ever held and was supported by Victoria Police, two Police Solos, an Ambulance Victoria, and 18 volunteer Marshalls with vehicle and medical support.
Acting Superintendent Joanne Janes led the Safety Briefing, two Police Solos, an Ambulance, Victoria, and 18 volunteer Marshalls with vigilance, especially as the day would build up with hot conditions predicted around lunchtime when the Ride arrived back in Ararat.
Patron Paul Margetts then invited everyone to join him in the minute's silence to remember the 175 Victoria police officers killed in the line of duty, which the important safety brief by safety officer Simon Clayfield followed.
The Ride was waved off at 9am sharp up Barkly St, then left into Vincent St on its journey via the rural countryside to Pomonal, where the local community served morning tea for everyone plus also had volunteers on hand helping out to raise extra dollars that will go toward the upgrade of the Pomonal Tennis Courts.
After leaving Pomonal, the Ride travelled around both Lake Fyans and Lake Lonsdale, then headed to Halls Gap and up to Lake Bellfield before returning back down through Halls Gap, where riders were able to see the procession of half the bikes going the other way, which several riders have reported back that this was one of the highlights of the Ride.
On the return through Pomonal, Moyston, and Ararat, riders were greeted at Alexandra Gardens by volunteers with complimentary bottled water and the Ararat Lions Club luncheon packs.
The Show N Shine attracted good entries, and Judge David Coone handled his tasks professionally, as always.
Ride Chairman Dean Pinniger, who was also the MC for the day, then pushed proceedings along, knowing many would have to get back on their bikes for their journey home, as the afternoon would be hot before the expected cool change.
Dean acknowledged: "Today has been a big day all around, from warm conditions this morning to hot and windy conditions here now at Alexandra Gardens.
"We are indebted to Victoria Police, led by Sgt Shaun Allen, who was the Forward Command, and his team for a great effort not only today but with all the preplanning required beforehand, the assistance of the police solos and ambulance solo, to Deb Francis who did her first stint as the Chief Marshall together with her band of Marshalls and the Support Crews, both vehicle and medical who are essential to us having a safe and enjoyable ride.
"In addition, this Ride just doesn't happen; it takes an inclusive community including great support from major sponsors together with great assistance from our Ride Sub Committee, the Ararat Rural City, and in particular their outdoor staff, Ararat RSL, Ararat Lions Club, AME Systems, Ararat Motorcycle Club, East Grampians Health Service, the Blue Ribbon Foundation, Ararat Branch members and partners and the many community volunteers who help us each year to bring together such a great event for the Ararat & District Community."
"Ararat Branch President Dianne Radford, in presenting a cheque to East Grampians Health Services Board Vice Chairman and CEO Nick Bush, said: "The Ararat Branch of the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation is incredibly proud to present this second donation of $40,000 towards our current project, the $135,000 General Ultrasound which is now operating in the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation Wing.
"This has only been possible through your support of last year's Ride, and from this year's event, we should be able to hand over the final donation in the next month or so.
"Thank you to everyone here today and those who attended the successful Welcoming Dinner on Saturday night for participating and showing your generosity to us and the Pomonal community," he said..
Photos by - Dave Nicholson