A former Doncaster Panthers basketball star proved a winner by motorbiking to Asia for charity.
One-time sports star Rick Blakemore crossed countries and continents aboard his Suzuki motorbike all the way from Jersey to Mongolia – clocking up 7,000 miles and raising thousands of pounds for teenage cancer victims.
And the former Doncaster firefighter says his once-in-a-lifetime trip was an amazing experience from start to finish.
The 53-year-old said: “It was absolutely brilliant.
“I would do it again - but not for a while, I don’t think.”
Rick took off on his 35-day trek from the Channel Islands to Mongolian capital Ulan Bator in July – crossing France, Germany, Eastern Europe and Russia – in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.
And despite battling along rutted dust tracks in far-flung countries such as Ukraine and Kazakhstan, his biggest drama actually came on a German motorway.
He said: “The further I got, the worse the roads got.
“They were just dirt tracks and there were no signs.
“I had a few punctures and I fell off a few times.
“But I think the scariest moment was when I was on a German autobahn where there is no upper speed limit.
“All these cars and lorries were hurtling past me as I went along at about 45 miles an hour.”
Mongolia was chosen as a destination as it rhymes with his current home, Jersey village Hautlieu – pronounced Hautlier – where he has lived with wife Lynne for the past 13 years and now works as a teacher.
Rick said: “One of the children in class was diagnosed with leukaemia and that set me thinking that I should try and do something to raise money.”
So out came the maps and his trusty two-wheel Suzuki steed.
There unfolded more than five weeks of language difficulties, occasionally sleeping rough and strange gastronomic delights – as well as meeting bikers from across the globe on his pilgrimage.
Rick said: “I wore the same biking gear for 35 days flat.
“It walked on its own at the end when I took it off.
“I was glad to get back. It was good to see the family again.”
From Jersey to Ulan Bator – a two-wheeled marathon
Rick Blakemore set off on his journey from his home in Hautlieu, Jersey, on Saturday, July 13, and arrived in Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, 35 days later.
His route, aboard a Suzuki 125cc bike, took in Paris, where he rode with a Harley Davidson chapter, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan before his last port of call, Mongolia.
The bike was left behind in the Mongolian city following the journey and his biking odyssey helped raise more than £3,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust which helps aid teenage cancer victims.
To support Rick’s fundraising efforts, visit Hautlieu Mongolia