Motorcycle Toy Run 2017, a roaring success

2017-12-06 06:00
Bikers arrive in Amanzimtoti at the annual toy run.

Bikers arrive in Amanzimtoti at the annual toy run.

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ON Sunday, November 26 an estimated 250 000 bikers participated in National Motorcycle Toy Run, countrywide.

According to organiser Lesley Boes, locally 4 000 to 5 000 bikes participated in the parade.

Supported by Sapphire Coast Tourism, the event ended a hugely successful toy drive for underprivileged children. An estimated 15 000 visitors were recorded and 7 000 toys were donated to local children for Christmas.

“We had a great day and the weather was equally great,” organiser said Boes.

Boes said Toy Run was initiated nationally, 35 years ago when four bikers in Cape Town had nothing to do for Christmas and dropped off toys at a hospital. They were told by fellow bikers they would have joined in had they known, and the following year, the drive ended up bigger,” she said.

The Durban Toy Run used to end at Clairwood Racecourse, but eventually died out.

Boes and husband Les resurrected the Durban Toy Run 20 years ago.

“For our first try 300 bikes attended and plenty of toys were donated,” Lesley said.

She said at a meeting after this year’s toy run, the possibility of not having a mass ride next year was discussed.

“We would possibly ask clubs to rather donate and choose a representative for the parade,” Lesley said.

This discussion looked at issues such as the parade being a problem for motorists, who are in a hurry to get to their destinations, even if the date is published and motorists are made aware. The day also requires huge logistics and Metro and police assistance on the day. “Amanzimtoti bikers also first have to get to Westville, where the run begins, to join the parade, so we discussed the possibility of clubs deciding on their own start venue or going directly to the end venue.

“We will possibly lose participation from non-club members, but local clubs can tell them where to meet,” Lesley said.

So much more than just a toy run, they also host a presidents’ auction on the day, where club presidents are “auctioned off”, and the president that gets the most money chooses which charity the money will go to.

“This year it was neck on neck between two presidents, so we decided to benefit two charities, Bobbi Bear and the white squatter camp in Toti. Over R5 000 was collected for Bobbi Bear,” Lesley said.

They also held a second auction.

“None of the stalls paid to be at the end venue, they only had to sponsor a biker related prize or donate R250. The big sponsors donated jackets, and expensive helmuts, among other items that were donated and then auctioned, raising more money,” Lesley said.

Entertainers on the day donate their time for free and so did Lords and Legends, the main sponsor, sponsoring the marquee and venue.

“They have been our big sponsor for many years, and the event also brings plenty of revenue for them as there are no food vendors,” Lesley said. She said at one toy run they had a young band entertaining - a 10-year-old boy and his older sister.

“They were then called ‘Not fragile’, they did two gigs and ended up going to America, all from the exposure they got from toy run.

“We bring in these bands and if they are good enough to entertain, we give them exposure to a 15 000 to 20 000 people audience,” she said.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, says Lesley, because bikers donate R2 million a year to charity and the toy run is a culmination of that.

Now they are saving money for their own families, but come January, the year begins with a stationery drive for the underpriviledged.

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