Twenty Two riders and the support vehicles arrived in York on Sunday 1st March at 2.00pm after leaving Perth's Forest Place at 9.00am. Former cricket player Justin Langer was to join the first leg of the race to York, but unfortunately had a knee injury that prevented him participating.

The aim is to raise a million dollars in five years. This years total is already over $250,000. The Red Sky Ride promotes "Ordinary People-Achieving the extraordinary". Each rider does 6000km in training in the six months prior the ride, giving up weekend and several weeknights and seeking as much sponsorship as possible. The ride is 800km in 8 days, after York is Narrogin, then Kojonup, Bridgetown, Bunbury, Mandurah then Perth on Sunday 8th March.

York FM’s Sandra Dee and Mark Lloyd from the Chamber of Commerce showed support by organising some music at Avon Park and invited people to either ride with them along Avon Terrace or meet them at the park. Pat Hooper Shire President presented a donation and thanked the group for all their efforts, as cancer touches us all in some way.

This is the second year of the red sky ride which was founded by Kim Gilbert and Deb Young both riding themselves. The goal is to raise funds for Solaris Care, an organisation that was founded by Dr David Joske in 2001 to provide cancer patients with complimentary therapies such as yoga, and pranic healing to fit alongside the traditional western medicine model.

"It was quite controversial , we received a lot of flak to start with" Dr Joske said, who is also a rider. He felt most people receiving treatment often need other support "more TLC". One patient in the program told him "If I was a cat I’d purr"!

Solaris Care, based at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital andSt John of God provide free therapy for cancer patients and their support people. Anne Young a volunteer with the riders who does reflexology said there was nothing that conflicts with the western model and the therapies can help fill in the gaps. "They are all about wellness rather than sickness". She will be supplying massages to the riders!

The riders said they were full of nervous energy before the start as everyone has been waiting for it for weeks. Fortunately the first leg was incident free. Last year one rider had a serious accident after going over the handlebars and damaging a kidney which put him in hospital for days, but he was back again this year for more! One rider Glen Roberts was celebrating his 50th birthday. Spirits were high, all being glad to have started and completed the first leg. Anyone wishing to donate can do so via their website

By Sue Lloyd