On Sunday May 22nd, local motorcyclists rode in the name of men’s health and raised a bumper $164,032 – impressively smashing the city’s previous record of $155,225.
In 2022, the world-wide event held in more than 100 countries amassed over $5.8M USD for charity partner, Movember. The local ride, hosted by Jane and Tim from City Coast Motorcycles, has become a fixture on the calendar of classic and vintage motorcycling enthusiasts.
For two years running, the South Coast city has placed in the the global ten. Efforts by Wollongong participants has not gone unnoticed, with some special guests joining them this year. A 225 strong crowd greeted DGR Founder Mark Hawwa with applause and plenty of selfies ahead of Wollongong’s scenic route. Mark responded:
“I want to say a massive thanks for everyone that’s here today. This is one of our first rides out of COVID. I know that we did have a ride last year, but globally most of the world had still been shut down. It has been incredible to see everyone connect with the concept – everyone dressed up so fine. There’s so many guys and girls here as well and it is really special to our team to have you guys here and to be here,” Mark said.
Since 2018, DGR Wollongong has featured one of the world’s most successful teams – Four Cure – of which Phill Critcher and Ermond Morelli placed second and third individually in 2021 and received new Triumph Motorcycles as prizes.
In 2022, the local ride has had three fundraisers feature in the global top 20 as well as five in Australia’s top 20; namely Phill Critcher (1st), Ermond Morelli (2nd), John Volcanovski (4th), Ray Tubman (7th) and David Critcher (19th). Wollongong’s Madylan Hannah also ranked as the world’s 6th highest pillion fundraiser.
Movember Country Director Rachel Carr was excited to experience the magic of Wollongong for the first time after two years of social distancing, restrictions and isolation:
“I think more than ever we all truly value the power of connection and community and that really is what Movember and DGR is all about and why this is so special.
“This small coastal town, this amazing event in Wollongong continues to blow our socks off every single year. You are always right up there with one of the highest fundraising events, globally – it’s just incredible!”
“The money that we raise this year is going to go towards directly funding projects that will help improve social connectiveness, life satisfaction, mental health and wellbeing for motorcycle riders, and that is just so special to me.
“I feel really proud that we have been able to cultivate something that will directly support members of your community – people that you would hopefully know over the years and I really look forward to celebrating the impact of that work with you,” enthused Rachel.
Ride Host Jane Sim reflects on the success of Wollongong’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride:
“Every year, Tim and I are determined to create a special experience and we’re heartened by the support of the motorcycling community. We’ve seen families ride together, hope built and life-long mateships made. Above all, it is a great feeling to unite for such an important cause and help make a difference.
“This is a team effort. When Tim and I put the call out local riders, businesses and media care enough to get behind the event. We’d like to extend our gratitude to all volunteers, the Illawarra Mercury, ABC Illawarra, Wollongong City Council, Lake Illawarra Area Command and the generosity of our sponsors,” said Jane.
Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) hosts Tim and Jane Sim from City Coast Motorcycles were privileged to award a pair of new Triumphs to global top fundraisers, Phill Critcher and Ermond Morelli.
Given the event took place in over nine hundred cities and two of the three prize winners hailed from the same location – Wollongong, Australia – it was a double celebration, marked by the presence of Founder Mark Hawwa along with Ramsey Sayed and Mikey Stojcevski from DGR HQ.
“What a fantastic day down here in Wollongong with City Coast Motorcycles giving away two new Triumphs – a Bobber and a Bonneville T120 – to Phill and Ermond for being the two highest fundraisers in Australia and two of the three highest fundraisers, globally,” said Mark.
“It shows just how well Wollongong punches above its weight in regard to the riding community, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride and people helping other men in need.”
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is a niche event uniting classic and vintage style motorcycle riders all over the world. Participants raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention programs on behalf of charity partner, The Movember Foundation.
Phill and Ermond have participated since 2018 when they established their team of four, The FC’s (Four Cure). It has grown to seven-strong and in 2021 it ranked the third highest fundraising team worldwide.
2021 marked the fifth year our family-owned Triumph dealership has presented DGR – Wollongong. In that time the local ride has amassed some $350,000 (AUD) for men’s health. Dealer Principal Tim is humbled by the result:
“It’s been an honour having Mark, Ramsey and Mikey from DGR join us in delivering these magnificent Triumphs, today,” said Tim.
“Jane and I couldn’t be prouder of our local event which gets so much love and support from the Wollongong region.”
Phill Critcher who placed second globally said DGR 2021 was a terrific day for all:
“This time we started at Stanwall Park and finishing at the Mt Kembla hotel really topped it off. The venue and afternoon of good music, drinks and plenty of conversation with fellow riders was great. All I spoke to were impressed with the day.
“Firstly, thank you to our hosts Tim and Jane from City Coast Motorcycles and congratulations on the successful effort they put in to organising this day.
“A big congratulations to the Wollongong participants that put in, yet again, a great fundraising effort.
“To Mark and his team at Basecamp DGR, congratulations! I hope you guys are proud of the team you have, and the continual growing success of this fundraising event. The international attention this has created is phenomenal. An idea created by a ‘few guys in Sydney’, well done fellas!
“To all the sponsors that support this event, thank you. You are a big part of the success of this totally admiral charity event that I’m sure touches most in society today in some way.
“Finally, to our team “Four Cure” – warm up your engine boys for 2022; we’re off again. I would like to thank the members that didn’t turn up to the presentation at City Coast Motorcycles last Thursday. Our team donation to start the fundraiser, commences at $4,000. Your generosity should be acknowledged.
“Anyone that would like to have a great little ride in good company with some vintage and classic bikes to look at, come and join us all on the 22nd of May and support prostate cancer research and men’s mental health.
Phill could not wait to take in our beautiful coastal scenery on his new Bobber and reported back within the hour:
“Just got to Kiama and it honestly feels great,” said Phill.
“The only road bikes I’ve ever ridden are the Z900 and Harleys. This is beautiful, I really am so happy with the bike!
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride 2022 will be held on Sunday May 22nd. Registrations will open on March 28th atgentlemansride.com
With fundraising due to close on Sunday June 6th, The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride – Wollongong has passed the incredible milestone of $150,000! Meanwhile, it has been in a tight contest with London for 2nd position out of over 700 cities worldwide.
Participants Phill Critcher and Ermond Morelli are on track to come 2nd and 3rd globally out of over 65,000 riders, while their team – The FC’s – is also ranking 3rd. Since City Coast Motorcycles introduced the ride to Wollongong in 2017, almost $350K has been raised to support Movember. This is an outstanding achievement and we could not be prouder of our riding community who have wholeheartedly embraced this niche event for classic and vintage motorcycles.
Below are some images we captured on the day – click on the thumbnail to open the gallery. We are happy for you to share them on social media; please give ride hosts City Coast Motorcycles a nod if you do so.
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) have partnered with Movember for a new community program aimed at better connecting male motorcyclists. We chat with Mark Hawwa – the Founder of DGR, Throttle Roll and Ride Sunday – about this special initiative.
I had just come back from a trip to Japan and fell in love with their mix of a classic and custom motorcycling scene. When I got back, I was determined to get a bike that could bring that style back here to Australia, but none of my mates rode that kind of bike, so I started the Sydney Cafe Racers. As the custom style caught on, I started seeing people from around the world get into these groups and we connected over a joint love of custom motorcycles. Then the idea for DGR hit me when I saw a poster of Mad Men’s Don Draper sitting on a Matchless motorcycle in his beautifully tailored suit and thought it was a really interesting way to show a motorcyclist. At the time in Australia, we had a lot of issues with public perception of “bikies”, so it motivated me to spread the word throughout these groups and get everyone riding on the same day on their classic and vintage style bikes to dress dapper and ride together to break down that negative stereotype. That was 3,000 riders in 64 cities, and now we’re connecting 116,000 riders in 678 cities, so quite a lot has changed!
DGR has a special relationship with its global charity partner the Movember Foundation. How did the idea of the DGR Social Connections Challenge come about?
The relationship with Movember formed in 2016. We were working with various Prostate Cancer Foundations around the world to localise people’s donations and provide them with tax deductibility, but it was a tough job. We connected with Movember and everything just moved forward naturally. We have really similar goals in how to provide support for men and are actively funding a wide range of prostate cancer research and mental health programs to connect men in motorcycling.
The DGR Social Connections Challenge came about with us knowing how dedicated our community through DGR was in fundraising and in changing the way men communicate, so we thought it was finally time to help bring specific programs targeted at all riders to make a difference to them directly. This program isn’t just for people in DGR, but for every single male motorcyclist. We’ve never done anything like this before and Movember was really excited to build out a program that helps us better connect with riders as a part of their “going to where men are” approach to mental health. It really is a world-first and we’re honoured to be able to bring this to the global riding community.
What countries are involved?
Currently, we are accepting pilot programs in Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, and Canada as these are the areas that we can directly offer funding and support. Once the pilot programs go through the Challenge, there is definitely an opportunity for them to scale further and operate in more areas.
Are the grants open to groups as well as individuals?
Absolutely anyone is welcome to submit an application. Groups or individuals. We’d also recommend you have a mate or two helping out as this is potentially a 15-month program if you get through to Phase 2, so having a bit of friendly support wouldn’t be a bad idea.
How will the Challenge be carried out?
The Challenge will be carried out in two key phases at this stage. It’ll be broken down as Phase 1.1, Phase 1.2, Phase 2, and Phase 3. A maximum of 25 grants valued at up to AUD $7,500 will be awarded internationally under Phase 1 of this opportunity.
Step 1 asks applicants to submit an Inspiration Statement. The applicants with the most creative and innovative ideas will be invited to pitch their idea. Successful pitches will be considered upon receipt of a signed, short-form Movember funding agreement which will lead them into Step 2.
In Step 2, development funds will be provided to assist in research, engage with the targeted group, design and create an initiative plan over a 9-week period that has the potential to be piloted. This is the core period where we can really give attention to people’s ideas and see if they can work.
From here, the best candidates will be invited into Phase 2, where we really get into the nitty-gritty of the program. A maximum of ten pilot project grants valued at up to AUD $75,000 will be awarded internationally under Phase 2 to carry out implementation of pilot project plans over a 12-month period. This is where programs will really scale up and take serious shape to test out the ideas and try to bring riders together in the process.
Continued investment may be forthcoming in Phase 3 for those projects that show the greatest promise for ‘scaling up’ at the end of the pilot period. This is an extended piloting phase, so the continuation is really dependant after Phase 2.
The great thing about this is event programs that are not invited into Phase 3 will be in a position to keep working at their ideas. The support that we’re looking to provide over the course of the next 15 months will give our applicants a huge level of insight into how they can scale and succeed their ideas.
How will the grant applications be judged – what are you looking for?
We definitely have a few things we’re looking out for in this. If the name is any indicator to you, we’re looking for ideas that help connect riders socially, outside of the DGR community. This is a really wide-net to men in motorcycling, so it should be something that connects all men, and especially, those guys that may be a little harder to reach when it comes to connecting. With the focus on connections, we are also looking at programs that strength peer-to-peer support and can allow us to provide positive role models and mentors to all riders, and improve everyone’s knowledge about mental health and suicide prevention.
What’s involved in submitting an idea?
All you need to do to get this off the ground is register online HERE and submit an Inspiration Statement by July 6th. From there, you may get invited into Phase 1.1 to pitch your concept with a few other pieces. You can find a more detailed breakdown of this at www.gentlemansride.com/blog/dgr-scc
How soon will the funds be allocated?
Funding will be provided within the Phase stages by Movember, so successful applicants will be able to allocate those funds to areas that will help them succeed best. The great thing here is Movember will be with them all the way to help identify where these funds might be best placed.
Is this something DGR and Movember plan to do on an annual basis?
Who knows?! This is a first-time for us, so once we get through it, we’ll absolutely be reviewing and seeing just how successful the concept is. In some way, I’d like to though. It’s really important that we’re funding programs where our riders need it most, so this will absolutely be a test of that.
Given that the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is a global event, what changes can we expect for 2020 with varying COVID-19 social restrictions worldwide?
Worldwide, we’re looking at a Solo Event for 2020, which will eliminate mass events and have riders taking to the streets on their own to raise funds for the event. It’s a tough one, because some are able to hit the road in groups or alone, and others may not be allowed to ride at all, so we need to find a way to engage everyone. To achieve this, riders around the world will be encouraged to dapper up and either hop on their bikes if they’re able to, or to snap a shot of themselves with their classic and vintage styled motorcycle and join us online. The focus for this year will be to connect riders from all around the world, despite their COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. We want riders to know that we may be socially distanced, but we can still be connected digitally.
We not only need to take people’s local lockdown restrictions into consideration, but we also needed to consider how riders and hosts have been financially affected in losing jobs and security, and how this may have impacted their lives. It’s a three-degrees of separation thing, some hosts either had COVID-19, or knew someone who did, and even have family members who lost their lives because of it. We wanted to be sensitive to those who spend countless hours volunteering to run their ride, who may not be able to get involved. The main thing we’d want people to be aware of here is that we know that some areas of the world might be opened up by the time DGR hits in 2020, but DGR isn’t only a local event – it’s a global movement – and when we have so many folks who are integral in running their rides who have been heavily impacted by this, we need to look out for them and each other.
Connect with the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride on Facebook Connect with Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride on Instagram Connect with Movember Australia on Facebook Connect with Movember on Instagram
City Coast Motorcycles proudly presented Wollongong’s third Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. This worldwide phenomenon is for vintage and classic styled motorcycles and supports The Movember Foundation.
Our local ride feature’s Australia’s top fundraisers and in 2019 it has already raised $93,000 for men’s health… and counting! Fundraising continues throughout October. If you wish to sponsor our ride or a participant please click HERE.
Below are some images we captured on the day – click on the thumbnail to open the gallery. We are happy for you to share them on social media; please give City Coast Motorcycles a nod if you do so.