HA NOI (VNS) — Eighteen riders from Australia, England, New Zealand and the US have taken off on the third edition of Rally Indochina, an exclusive group of committed bikers riding for charity purposes.
The rally which started yesterday in Ha Noi, headed south, following the fabled Ho Chi Minh Trail as far as UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An.
Rally drivers exclusively use a fleet of fully restored Soviet-era 650cc Ural motorcycles. The bikes, all belonging to Ha Noi-based Explore Indochina, form the largest fleet of restored vintage Urals in the world.
Joining the first day of the rally will be the international TV star and celebrity biker Charley Boorman, who became a household name when he and best mate Ewan McGregor rode around the world.
This time, Boorman has saddled up for his new TV series entitled Freedom Riders Asia.
After Viet Nam, Boorman will pair up with bikers from each country and explore Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, and Thailand.
"I'm having a brilliant time shooting Freedom Riders Asia across the region and having the opportunity to be involved with Rally Indochina, even in a small way," said Boorman.
"It's a great thing to do as part of the Viet Nam leg of the series production as Freedom Riders Asia is about motorcycles and the unique culture that surrounds them in this part of the world. Seeing all these guys get together on bikes for such a worthy cause is fantastic."
The two previous rallies, in April 2011 and 2012, saw a total of 45 motorcyclists raise more than US$100,000 for the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, which works with children in need throughout Viet Nam.
"The funds raised by the previous rallies are being used to rescue trafficked children and to provide essential relief to their families and communities. The third rally will help meet the goal of ending child trafficking from Hue by 2016," said Blue Dragon founder, Michael Brosowski.
The rally is the brainchild of Digby Greenhalgh, an Australian who has spent the last 20 years living in Ha Noi. He founded Explore Indochina, the region's premier motorcycle tour operator. — VNS