Bikers gear up for 43rd Bikers Charity Ride at new venue Optus Stadium

Dave Ferguson, rear left, Fred Meli, Ralph Lovell as Santa and Bandit.  Chewi, front left, and Salvation Army Ambassador Samantha Jade. The annual Perth Bikers' Charity Ride will leave from Optus Stadium. Picture: David Baylis.
Dave Ferguson, rear left, Fred Meli, Ralph Lovell as Santa and Bandit. Chewi, front left, and Salvation Army Ambassador Samantha Jade. The annual Perth Bikers' Charity Ride will leave from Optus Stadium. Picture: David Baylis.

EXPECT a sea of red Santa suits, thousands of roaring engines and smoke flashing by on the freeway from Burswood to Joondalup next month.

The 43rd annual Perth Bikers’ Charity Ride will start at Optus Stadium and ends at HBF stadium in Joondalup at 9am on Sunday, December 2.

Thousands of bikers will bring a donated toy or present to fill up the trucks at HBF stadium for the Salvation Army to distribute during Christmas.

Gingin biker and event organiser Colin ‘Bandit’ Scott said this year’s ride would include a record attempt, a new starting venue and an endorsement from singer Samantha Jade.

“What we’re trying to do this year is to set a record of the most Santas on motorcycles,” he said.

“We’re hoping that with a new venue and such an icon in Perth now that people will go, ‘Oh wow, I want to go to Optus Stadium’.”

Salvation Army Christmas Appeal national ambassador Samantha Jade praised the idea of the charity ride, despite her limited contact with a motorbike.

Dave Ferguson, rear left, Fred Meli and Ralph Lovell as Santa and Bandit. Chewi, front left, and Salvation Army Ambassador Samantha Jade. Picture: David Baylis.

“I haven’t had many bike experiences, I have to be honest, that’s probably my first experience on a bike,” she said.

“I guess I’ll have to get my bikers’ skills together so maybe I’ll start some lessons now!”

After being involved with the Bikers’ Charity Ride since 1991, Bandit said the goal every year was simply to get as many people involved.

“We never know, we don’t register people, we don’t run some website or charge people any money,” he said.

“Normally we would range from 1300 to 2500 bikes.

“We just say to people, the only requirement is that you turn up on a motorcycle, licensed, and you have a gift for the Salvos.”

Salvation Army spokesman Warren Palmer said the event had raised more than $2 million in donations since it started in 1975.

“Over the years, they have given us enormous capacity to do so much for so many people and it provides us the opportunity to do the work we do,” he said.

“We’re just really proud to be involved in an event that has been running for 43 years and is a benefit to the community.”

Main Roads will close off sections of the freeway for the Bikers’ Charity Ride and any motorcyclists wanting to participate must arrive at Optus Stadium before 8.30am on Sunday, December 2.