How long does it take the Red Arrows to get from Lands End to John O’Groats? That depends. In their usual Hawk jets, it’s just over an hour to cover the 1,000 miles. But this September it’ll take them four days, as they’re swapping supersonic planes for super-cool scooters.
The RAF display team are aiming to raise money for five charities by doing the marathon ride on 125cc Vespa scooters. Some of the pilots already ride motorcycles, others have taken their CBT specially so that all 14 of them can ride together.
The ride was organised by Flight Lieutenant Mike Ling, who says, "I have always wanted to ride a Vespa from Land's End to John O' Groats, so I decided to do it at the end of our display season. The other pilots wanted to get involved as it's such a great opportunity to raise money for good causes."
The charities they’ve chosen are the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, The Royal Air Forces Association, Help for Heroes, Whizz-kidz and Fly2Help. To donate go to www.raf.mod.uk/reds or text SCOOTER to 70099.
“The forces charities are close to all our hearts,” says Mike, “but I am keen to help organisations like Whizz-kidz and Fly2help - especially as I've spent time in a wheelchair myself and appreciate the great work these charities do to help people get around and fulfil their ambitions."
Supported by Get On and Piaggio UK, the Red Arrows plan to leave Lands End on September 30th and reach John O’Groats on October 3rd. You can see them practising formations on their new machines at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oK-5AMSB8A .
And remember, if you’re inspired to try a motorbike or scooter for yourself, you can book a free one hour session through Get On. Just register your details and a local training centre will be in touch to arrange your free ride. With over 160 centres around the country, you certainly won’t have to go 1,000 miles!