The Lesotho branch of Riders for Health operates in some of the most rugged terrain in Africa. (Image: Riders for Health) MEDIA CONTACTS • Matthew HannCommunications, Riders for Health+44 1604 889 570RELATED ARTICLES • Garden of Hope for HIV/Aids• Bold new HIV/Aids plan for SA • Lennox sings for HIV/Aids • Ridding Africa of HIV in ten yearsJanine ErasmusRiders for Health, the motorbike-based charity arm of the MotoGP racing championship, is inviting its supporters to take part in an inspirational ride through Lesotho, where they will help raise funds for the organisation and experience its work first-hand.Experience Africa is touted as “an adventure for the heart and mind”. It was launched at the International Motorcycle and Scooter Show in November 2009 by Riders co-founder and multiple MotoGP champion Randy Mamola, and takes to the road in October 2010.The eight-day trip can accommodate a limited number of riders. Details are expected imminently, and interested off-road biking fanatics are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure they don’t miss out on any announcements.Mamola has already ridden the route, which encompasses some of the famous Roof of Africa rally’s roads, and confessed to being overwhelmed by the experience.“I have had the most incredible 10 days riding in the wonderful country of Lesotho,” he said at the launch. “The Riders for Health Experience Africa ride is sure to be a life-changing experience.”The NGO’s country director Mahali Hlasa, the Riders’ first female trainer, will chaperone the adventuresome group.Experience Africa participants, who pay £5 000 (R58 819) upfront, are assured that £2 000 (R23 525) of that sum will go directly to the Riders initiative. Flights, accommodation, motorbikes, meals, and mechanical and medical support are covered by the remainder. A valid motorbike licence is a prerequisite.They will ride through the mountainous country to raise funds and awareness of the organisation’s ongoing work, and will also be able to get a personal glimpse into the outreach projects already underway.They can expect to interact with health workers in the country, riding with them to isolated areas and experiencing how reliable transport has transformed their jobs. They will also visit clinics and communities and see how the treatment of HIV/Aids and tuberculosis is accelerating because of increased accessibility to medicines and education.Riding to save livesRiders for Health is the official charity of the Grand Prix motorbike championship, or MotoGP. The organisation operates in Gambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Lesotho, with projects completed in Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Its patron is HRH The Princess Royal.Lesotho is in particularly dire need of the Riders’ assistance. The tiny kingdom lies among the soaring peaks of the Drakensberg and Maluti mountains, and this harsh terrain is often difficult to navigate with conventional vehicles. Even those with four-wheel drives can struggle.Lesotho is the only country on earth whose entire altitude lies over 1 000m above sea level. Its lowest point is at the junction of the Orange and Makhaleng Rivers at 1 400m, and its highest is the Thabana Ntlenyana peak at 3 482m. More than 80% of the country lies higher than 1 800m.The kingdom has been hard hit by the global HIV/Aids epidemic. About 25% of the adult population is thought to be HIV-positive, according to international Aids charity Avert.This is where the Riders’ work is so crucial. People living in more remote areas have to make their own way to reach basic facilities such as shops and clinics – sometimes trudging for hours and in freezing temperatures.Using motorbikes to navigate tricky terrain, Riders for Health brings care to communities that otherwise might have no help at all. Working hand in hand with the Ministry of Health and related bodies, the organisation enables health workers to easily reach their patients, and also transports medical samples to laboratories for testing and diagnosis.Mobilising the biker communityThe organisation was born out of the concern and interest of a group of people working on the MotoGP circuit in the 1980s. Some of them, including Mamola, visited Lesotho in the late 1980s and were dismayed to see the many broken-down cars that could not be fixed because of lack of expertise.The group decided to take action by developing innovative ways of managing vehicles in difficult conditions, and at the same time began mobilising support for a new transport initiative that would minimise the toll taken by rough terrain on less hardy vehicles.The international motorbike community responded enthusiastically and continues to give prominence to the scheme at events such as the British Grand Prix and the annual Riders/MotoGP Day of Champions.The first national programme was run in Lesotho in 1991, followed three years later by another in Zimbabwe. The organisation is based in the UK but has branches in a number of European countries as well.
Soon after a Delhi court Wednesday granted bail to businessman Abhishek Verma and his Romanian wife in a graft case, the CBI arrested them afresh over a forgery complaint filed by Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Ajay Maken.Following their fresh arrest, the court sent them to judicial custody for a day.”The arrest has been effected by Inspector Vipin Kumar in the court itself and identity of the investigating officer is not in dispute at all. I do not find any substance in the opposition of the defence counsel in any manner. Keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case, both the accused are remanded in judicial custody till tomorrow,” the court said.Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Sanjeev Jain earlier granted bail to Verma and his wife Anca Maria Neacsu in a corruption case as the CBI failed to file the charge sheet against them within the stipulated 60 days from arrest.The court granted bail to them on a personal bond of Rs.10 lakh each and two sureties each of the same amount.Verma, also an accused in the 2006 naval war room leak case, and his wife were arrested June 8 for allegedly receiving money from a Swiss arms company to stall the blacklisting proceedings against it by the Indian government.The Enforcement Directorate (ED) also filed an application seeking permission to arrest the couple in a money laundering case registered against them. The court allowed the ED to interrogate the two in Tihar Jail.advertisement
One year is a long time in any sport and staying away from the track for the same period doesn’t bode well for anyone who hopes to make it big in the world of motor racing.But confidence can make anything possible and it is exactly the reason why Akhil Khushlani ended up on the podium in the 10th round of the JK Racing Asia Series at Silverstone last weekend.After a long lay-off, Khushlani arrived at the British track with little practice but after not-so-impressive performances in practice and qualifying, the US Formula Project driver stunned everyone with a second-place finish.”I was completely off track for close to one year. But when I arrived in Silverstone, I was pretty confident as I had done testing on simulators at home,” Khushlani told Mail Today.”The only thing I was nervous about was the track as this was the first time I was racing at the Silverstone circuit. I planned my whole race differently and wanted to put my car amongst the top 3 in practice and qualifying, which didn’t happen. But I did well to finish second in the race,” the 22-year-old added.The next round of events for the JK Racing Asia series are at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in Greater Noida in October.For Khushlani, taking up motorsports wasn’t a difficult choice as his father was a bike racer.Khushlani was introduced to karting at the age of nine and the results started coming soon. In 2005, he became the first Asian to finish in the top five at the World Karting Championships.After seven years of karting, Khushlani graduated to the Formula BMW series and drove with distinction for Team Euorasia before he began racing in the JK Racing Asia series.Khushlani, an Ayrton Seena fan, hopes to take further strides in his motor racing career but understands that a lot depends on the sponsorship he can garner for himself.”JK Tyre has been supporting me for quite some time. I plan to move ahead in my motor racing career and for now, I am taking everything step by step.”Getting ahead from here – it all depends on the budget. I’ll wait for this season to get over and may be after November, take a call on my career.”advertisement