A long standing hallmark of being Australian is that of mateship. As Aussies we are known to stand side by side each other in difficult times such as wars, droughts, fires and floods, activating the spirit that we know and love that makes us a great Nation. When the crises are not happening we tend to show our mateship in a more parochial manner creating satirical humour to take a rise out of our mates with pointed banter and raw barter. To those who live by this code and accept that it is at time a back handed form of affirmation of being a “fair dinkum true blue Aussie”.Mateship none the less has a history in wrought untold fortunes taken from the seed of thought and tonnes of goodwill to build community spirit.
Some months ago two very prominent business men were in conversation where the banter and barter was flowing, reference was made about sojourning to watch an Icon of Australian Motor Sport at Mount Panorama “Bathurst” for V8 racing. Without too much detail of the to and fro, or the vintage and colour of the liquid fuel powering this light hearted art of conversation, an offer to be flown there was turned down with what would have normally been a throwaway line “I would rather ride my bike than risk a flight with you!”
The challenge was thrown out without realising the endeavours of the soon to be newly aero licensed mate to put his money where his mouth was to call this to order with a very generous amount of money laid on the table “Ride your bike then” was the retort. This is now almost history with St Lukes becoming the chosen charity for a concerted effort of numerous notable business getting behind the challenge and fund raising called “The ride for Youth Bendigo to Bathurst.
Mateship is central to community, and what has transpired has and will give continue to bless our community where words have had commitment into persistence and have gained power and momentum to make a difference. The story of the two mates is far from ended, with what started out to be major sacrifices which are now becoming benefits that may not have happened without the Aussie Spirit of “Have a go you mug and get real about it”.
Matt Leonard is the bike rider who is a very busy Director of Tweed Sutherland Real Estate with his encouraging mate Adam Poyser of the Poyser car dynasty. Adam seizing the opportunity did not let Matt rest on his laurels of being able to fund raise with charity auctions but turned attention to Matt being able to fulfil the original deal of riding from Bendigo to Bathurst to keep the true spirit of the bargain.
Matt was at this time an occasional smoker for many years and had tried nearly all methods to kick the habit and laughs now about previous attempts being fruitless without the right support and motivation. This time Matt so far has been somewhat successful so far (we hope and pray to continue) in giving the cigarettes away with sheer determination and a lot of encouragement ribbing teasing and even tempting by Adam to stay nicotine free. The real test will be at the celebration time when mission is accomplished.
Food had been another vice of Matt’s being on the move meals were irregular not to mention the question of nutritional value. To get a base fitness a training schedule was set by Zak Dempster who has kept weekly contact to assess Matt’s progress. At the other end of the scale Adam maintaining his zeal keeping Matt focus on fitness to back up five days on end with his tongue in cheek approach that has worked wonders so far.
All good plans need many mates to get things happening and Matt has done just this seeking advice from some of the best know cycling heads of Australia such as Sydney 2000 Olympic Gold Medallist close friend Scott McGrory and has even gained support from Aussie Rules with Justin Cordy and Matthew Kreuzer from Carlton FC joining the team. A new bike, weight lose, breathing easier after giving away the cigarettes and the focus set; look out Bathurst in two weeks time the rubber will hit the road for 14 mates all out to assist Matt to show Adam “I am fair dinkum!”
Want to help the cause? Donations can still be made by sponsoring the riders at any Bendigo Bank or visit www.rideforyouth.org.au
Looking forward to sharing the road with Matt God willing