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Brave bikers gear up for challenge

Update: April, 22/2013 - 09:21
Rebels with a cause: The Great Honda 67 Ride Vietnam team pose for a photo after visiting Dong Ha Stadium in the central province of Quang Tri.—VNS Photo Phuoc Buu by Phuoc Buu

by Phuoc Buu 

QUANG TRI (VNS)— A group of 10 foreigners are riding Honda 67 bikes from Ha Noi to HCM City, following the former Ho Chi Minh Trail, to raise funds for improvements in healthcare for childbearing women and premature babies in the central region.

"The trip is so much fun and we have lot of laughs," said David Seton, leader of the group.

All riders showed their excitement after six days on the trail. They parked in Quang Tri last Tuesday for socialising activities on the country's heroic land.

"Almost every Vietnamese family had one Honda 67 [in the past], thus we chose it for the trip to show our commitment [to the country]," Seton said, even though the Honda 67 bikes were too small for some of his teammates.

Some of the men are nearly 2m-tall while the Honda 67, first produced in 1967 by Japanese Honda Motorcycle Company, was fit for Indochinese commuters.

But the trip, which was named The Great Honda 67 Ride Vietnam, is not only for fun. It is raising funds for charity.

The trip is to raise funds for maternity women and premature new-borns in rural areas of the central region, according to Seton, who is the executive chairman of Besra Group.

The group is running two mining companies in central Quang Nam Province. "My family has been in Viet Nam for 25 years in the mining industry and I was thinking of giving something back to the country," Seton said.

Seton and his brothers initiated the trip and they bought the old Honda 67 bikes from HCM City, Ha Noi, and Da Nang and then rebuilt them. Three of his brothers and his daughter rode bikes on the trip.

Other riders are employees in the Besra Group, including those are not working in Viet Nam.

"Most of my teammates are older than the 45-year-old Honda 67," Seton said.

James Hamilton, 60, who is in charge of investor relations in Besra Canada, came to Viet Nam for the trip.

Hamilton said he was in the country several times on business but this time was for riding across the country to view nature and talk to people, as well as to to do something for charity.

"The country has fantastic nature and people," Hamilton said.

Started in Ha Noi on April 10, the group paid visits to several sites at localities along the current Ho Chi Minh Highway, part of the former Ho Chi Minh Trail.

On the seventh day of their trip, they lit incense at a national cemetery in Quang Tri Province, showing respect to Vietnamese national heroes who died during the anti-American War.

They also had time to witness local disabled people competing in a sports event.

Future destinations are Hue and two districts in Quang Nam Province, where the Besra Group has mining sites. The riders hope to get to HCM City on May 1 after passing by other localities on their route.

By the seventh day of the Great Honda 67 Ride Vietnam, donations reached US$200,000. Donations can be made on

All donations will be transferred to the East meets West Foundation, which runs a neonatal healthcare programme across the country for maternity and newborn healthcare clinics in the centre.

The foundation's Regional Development and Communications manager, Van Ly, said the donations would be used in training medical workers in obstetric care, amongst other things. — VNS

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