What is the Dambusters Charity Motorcycle Riders Group ( DMCR) all about?

We are a not-for-profit charity fundraising venture privately run by volunteer bikers for bikers. We aim to organise one main ride-out a year, have some fun, and raise some money for our two adopted charities. We also have members who take it upon themselves to show off their own part of the UK, by organising weekend rides.

Is this a fully organised tour holiday?

We are not a holiday company nor do we deliver a fully organised tour. We pose the challenge and hopefully some arrange memorable, perhaps unique elements within our charity rides but each individual charity rider decides how exactly to go about it.

Why is it called ‘Dambusters’?

Because when it was started back in 2012 the first ride retraced the route of 617 Sqdn Lancaster AJ-J to the Mohne Dam with the backing of the current 617 Sqdn, the ‘real’ Dambusters. This connection with 617 Sqdn has become stronger over the years (check out our 2013 ride to the Mohne Dam) as has our link with other parts of the Royal Air Force including with the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. This link with 617 Sqdn and the wider RAF is a salute to the RAF of today and the past and a tribute to all who died in the conflict, on all sides.

When was it started?

2012, and we have organised a big ride each year since then

Who started it and why?

Simon Dufton ( Call Sign ‘Red Leader’) started Dambusters Charity Rides in 2012 when he and three work colleagues set off the for the Mohne Dam to raise cash for UK armed services charity Help for Heroes. From then the ride has grown each year into what we have today.

What’s with the ‘Call Signs’?

It’s nothing more than a bit of fun along the way. What will your be???

How many members does it have?

We have a Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/DambustersCharityMotorcycleRides

It’s an open membership arrangement and we currently have around 60 active Group members.  Typically we get about 30-40 riders on our main event. What DMCR  Isn’t, is a group that in any way celebrates war or the campaigns carried out in them. We are non-political, non-religious, non-sexist. We are just a bunch of bikers from a variety of backgrounds, ages and ethnic groups. Simples! 

What does it cost me to be a member of the Dambusters Charity Rides Group?

To be a member of the Group; Nothing, zip, nihil, nahda, rien. This is about raising cash for charity and just having a good time. But we do expect everyone who comes on one of the annual charity rides to raise their minimum £250 in sponsorship four our two charities, the RAF Benevolent Fund and Motorcycle Outreach after which the receive a full briefing ‘Rider Pack’. Travel costs, petrol, insurance, European breakdown cover, accommodation and so on is down to you too. What we do is set up the challenge and provide lots of information … our aim is to raise charity cash, have a load of fun, and set up a great ride.

What does membership involve?

That’s an easy question, as it involves nothing more than stepping up, Joining in & riding out,

Where is it based?

Throughout the UK, we have members from Shetland to Cornwall, and overseas members are always very welcome and indeed have been part of our annual charity rides.

What sort of Bike do I need?

It’s entirely up to you, all we do is provide the framework of a ride-out based around an historical, usually airborne WWII orientated series of challenges. We have members on Trikes through to home-build specials. The more the merrier!!

Can I take a pillion?

Absolutely you may.

What are DMCR’s aims and objectives?

To ride safe, have fun, explore new riding territory, meet new biking friends, and learn something about the history of WWII …. And above all to raise a goodly amount of cash for our chosen charities.

What about the running costs? Who pays for them?

The organising team in full. On the charity rides everybody pays their own way, and travel expenses.

What have DMCR done so far?

Check out the previous rides on our website:

How much money have you raised?

Approaching £25,000 and counting.

How does Dambusters raise their charity cash?

Each registered Dambusters Charity Rider is asked to raise at least £250 and donate that on our dedicated VirginMoneyGiving site ahead of the ride itself. Once that cash has been donated then we send out the full and highly comprehensive ‘Rider Pack’ with potential routes, ideas on places to visit along the route, possible places to stay and so on! The more riders who raise money, the more cash for our two chosen charities!

How do I know all my donations go to the charities?

We ask our riders to make their donations direct onto a dedicated VirginMoneyGiving website. The split between our two charities and the distribution of the funds is done entirely by the VirginMoneyGiving site. The volunteer organisers of the Dambusters Charity Rides never see or touch your cash so we, and you, can have total confidence in the integrity of the financial process within Dambusters.

Where Do I Stay?

In four-star luxury or a one-man tent.  It is up to you.  We will suggest hotels and campsites along the way (watch out for this info over the next few weeks) but you’re free to book your own accommodation.

How is the route marked and how far is it?

Autobahn or back roads, again it’s entirely your choice.  However, from the ferry port at the Hook of Holland, to the Mohne Dam and then the route of the Grand Slam Challenge is about 830km in total. Our ‘Rider Pack’ will give detailed route suggestions for the challenge itself and also a time line to keep you on track during the day. After the challenge you are free to head off in any direction you feel like!

Who’s leading the ride and what happens if I get lost?

It’s not a convoy. Riders plot their own course based upon the detailed information in the rider pack or their own needs and wishes. What you will have is a number of fixed times to be at specific locations, e.g. the ‘Team Photo’ at the Mohne Dam,( the Grand Slam Challenge’ start point) and end location and that is it. The rest is up to you although there will be contact numbers for anyone needing to find the start and finish points or other basic info on the day!

What do I get out of it?

A lot of fun and an adventure to remember all your life.  New companions and novel experiences.  Paying tribute to the sacrifices of the past and putting something towards helping those who serve today when they fall into need. The Facebook post from Dambusters Rider Al Coates pretty much sums up what we look to deliver for you …

“You can’t make this stuff up….. Every trip something happens out of the blue that nails us all. Spire monument isn’t open yet but we had special treatment and had it opened to us this morning when out of nowhere this chap turns up with his family. Ex 617 and other squadrons. DFC and bar. Flt Lt Ken Trent. Couldn’t have been happier to chat with us and tell us stories. Then suddenly the BBMF Dakota which Ken has flown does a flyby dipping its wings and crew waving at low level. Money can’t buy this….”                                

FB post from Dambusters2016 rider Al Coates on 15th May 2016 

What about Insurance?

No different to the UK, each participant is responsible for their own Bike, Health and Travel Insurance. None of this is provided by the Dambusters Charity Ride.

What do I do now?

Easy, apply to join the Facebook group, view info about the ride on ‘The Ride’ page. We will email you more information, and you can decide if this is for you or not? Then if you plan to take part in the Charity Ride in 2018, complete the registration form.