A group of motorcyclists is riding the entire length of the UK to raise money for charity – but their hopes of roaring into the history books have been dashed by Guinness World Records.
Members of the Zetland Motorcycle Club (ZMCC) will take five days to travel the 1,160 miles from Skaw in Unst to Lizard Point in Cornwall, a route starting on the UK’s most northerly public road and ending on its most southerly.
The trip, which has been dubbed the “Road Tax Run”, seeks to raise £5,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support Shetland and the Armed Forces Bikers charity.
But organisers have been left disappointed after Guinness World Records rejected their world record application for the “largest group of motorcycles to ride the full length of Britain”.
ZMCC member Dwayne Davies from Brae said: “I pleaded that Shetland was part of the UK, using my house address, but it didn’t seem to be enough to sway their minds.
“All they could offer was to hand it over to the underwriters to look into, which personally I thought was a pretty poor excuse.”
However, in an email to The Shetland Times, Guinness World Records explained its position.
The records authority said only journeys which are “significant internationally” or which are the “subject of much international competition” qualify for recognition.
It said the route plotted for the Road Tax Run does not fall into either category and would not be considered for a world record.
The organisation added: “To explain this exact scenario, we use Land’s End to John O’Groats as a current format. We wouldn’t monitor the Shetlands as it is an island and therefore cannot be accessed by bike due to the sea.”
Nevertheless, 13 bikes and 16 riders will leave Unst on Sunday 6th August with their sights set on Lizard Point. They aim to clock up 250-300 miles each day, calculated so there will be a chance to do some sightseeing along the way.
The idea for the Road Tax Run was born after fuel tanker driver Mark Crowley shared his personal ambitions with fellow ZMCC members.
Mr Crowley, 47, from Bakkasetter near Quendale, said: “Originally it was just a run for me and the missus to go on but then it snowballed from there.
“Somebody came up with the idea ‘let’s give to charity’ and I thought ‘if we are going to go all that way then why not?’”
But the marathon ride has a deeper layer of significance for the ZMCC riders as they will be following in the tyre treads of one of the group’s founding fathers.
In the 1930s, Joe Gray Snr, a garage owner on Commercial Road, rode from John O’Groats to Land’s End. Strapped to the front of his bike was a miniature ZMCC flag, now considered to be the group’s first piece of merchandise.
The tax disc held by Mr Gray on his momentous trip was the inspiration behind the name of next month’s epic charity ride, which has notched up around £4,000 in donations so far – £1,000 short of the target figure.
Donations can be made through the bikers’ Just Giving page (ZMCC Road Tax Run), ZMCC members or by cheque made payable to: ZMCC Road Tax Run, c/o Mark Crowley, Strathayre, Bakkasetter, Quendale, ZE2 9JD. ST 06