Mike Barrett had a very special reason for joining hundreds of fellow motorcyclists on a charity ride in aid of the Air Ambulance.
“I owe these guys so much”
Just three weeks earlier the father-of-three feared the worst as he cradled his 13-year-old daughter Erin in his arms as she lost consciousness following a fall from her horse.
“It was terrifying. As I drove her to the hospital she started asking where she was and why she’d been on a horse. Then suddenly she lost consciousness. I stopped in a car park, called the emergency services and just held her as I cried. I was wondering if this was the end,” he says.
“Then the Air Ambulance was there. They gave her oxygen, stabilised her and flew her to hospital where she had a brain scan and was nursed back to health. I dread to think what might have happened if the Air Ambulance hadn’t been on the scene so quickly.”
Erin is now in the saddle again and answering her parents back, to the relief of her Speed Triple RS owning dad, who adds: “I had to come and support this ride because I owe these guys so much, and let’s face it none of us know if or when we might need them.
“Statistically they attend more accidents involving horses than they do motorcycles, but it’s massively reassuring to know they’re there.”
Around 300 riders – not just Triumphs – toured the HQ’s Visitor Experience before braving the rain in a convoy from Triumph Motorcycles’ Hinckley home to the Brackley Festival of Motorcycling in Northamptonshire.
“No one sets out to have a bad day and we’re there if they do”
“We’re delighted that Triumph is so passionate about what we do and supports us. Events like this are vital in bringing the motorcycle community together to raise funds,” says Jo Payne, Air Ambulance National Partnership Manager.
The charity is entirely funded by donations, so Triumph’s ongoing support through sponsorship, collections and donations of branded products for auction is critical.
Jo adds: “The great thing about the motorcycle community is that they are all incredibly supportive of our work because of the fact that we can offer a rapid response and effectively bring the Accident and Emergency expertise to the scene.
“Motorcycling has grown increasingly safe over the years due to the work being done by manufacturers like Triumph. In fact, bike incidents are only a small percentage of our calls, but no one sets out to have a bad day and we’re there if they do.”
Triumph is the only manufacturer that sponsors the Air Ambulance covering a vast area around the UK’s heartland, and Jo added: “We’re attending between three and six calls a day offering definitive medical care at the scene. Hopefully no rider will ever need to see us, but events like this mean that if they do, they will.”
“I would not be here today”
Telecoms worker Les Buck was heading to meet a friend for a leisurely ride on a beautiful summer day when his life changed in an instant.
What he now jokingly refers to as an “involuntary dismount” left him with multiple injuries that have needed 13 medical procedures over the last three years.
“I went over the top of a car that swept out in front me and the next thing I knew I was in agony on the ground, surrounded by people and the emergency services,” he says.
“Almost instantly the Air Ambulance team was there giving me pain relief and stabilising me before flying me to hospital where I stayed for more than two months. But for them I would not be here today.”
Les, 52, who worked as a corporate services delivery manager, has dedicated his spare time to raising money for the charity ever since: “It’s marvellous that all riders, whether they’re on a Triumph or not, come together to help people like me. Every penny raised means the Air Ambulance can keep taking off.”