Ben reveals full details of Industry Leader Challenge 2019 – the Epic Thames Waterbike Ride

  • Three automotive leaders to raise £300k by cycling waterbikes on the River Thames from source to sea
  • The trio will cycle 166 miles from Thames Head to parliament to raise funds for Ben
  • Cycling on water is the name of the game to support automotive industry colleagues going through tough times

Three UK automotive industry leaders will be literally cycling on water, on the River Thames from source to sea, in Ben’s Industry Leader Challenge 2019 (ILC) – the Epic Thames Waterbike Ride. This is a significant feat of endurance as they tackle the epic 166-mile route, with a fundraising target of £300,000 for Ben to support automotive industry colleagues going through tough times.

This unique challenge has been taken on by Jon Wakefield, Volvo Car UK’s Managing Director; Tim Tozer, CEO of Allianz Partners UK & Ireland and Darren Guiver, Managing Director of Group 1 Automotive. Forget walking on water – these three will be cycling on water alongside boats and through a total of 45 locks.

The trio took on the baton for ILC 2019 from Andy Bruce, CEO of Lookers, whose 2018 challenge (Lookers ‘Electric Charge’) raised £215,755 for Ben. In the true competitive nature of the challenge, the aim is for the 2019 challengers to beat the previous year’s fundraising total. No mean feat!

The Epic Thames Waterbike Ride requires serious pedal power, as the trio will cycle 166 miles on self-propelled Schiller waterbikes in just four days, from 4th to 7th July this year. This challenge, starting at Thames Head near Kemble, Gloucestershire, ending at the mouth of the North sea, will be an incredible test of physical and mental endurance, as well as stamina, from start to finish.

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Darren Guiver, Managing Director, Group 1 Automotive, said: “I am honoured and privileged to have been asked to represent Ben in the ILC initiative – such a worthy cause doing amazing work for industry colleagues across the country. I only hope that after nearly 170 miles in the saddle I can still smile.”

Jon Wakefield, Managing Director, Volvo Car UK, said: “The work Ben does to support those who need it across our hugely varied industry is invaluable, so I’m honoured to be joining Darren and Tim in the 2019 Industry Leader Challenge. Volvo is a company that cares about people, so while the prospect of riding a water bike for 166 miles fills me with no small amount of dread, the money we’ve challenged ourselves to raise will make the experience worthwhile.”

Tim Tozer, CEO of Allianz Partners UK and Ireland, said: “This will be a demanding, fun and real physical challenge that I am thrilled to be involved with alongside my two industry colleagues. Supporting Ben is fantastic as it gives those working in our industry phenomenal support when it is needed most. We are determined to succeed in raising much needed funds to help Ben continue their vital, compassionate work.”

Matt Wigginton, Business Development Director at Ben, said: “We’re beyond excited about this incredible challenge and we’re delighted that Jon Wakefield, Tim Tozer and Darren Guiver are fundraising for us in such an epic way. Cycling on water on one of the busiest rivers in England is certainly no mean feat!

“We really appreciate the support from all at Volvo Car UK, Allianz Partners UK & Ireland, and Group 1 Automotive so far. We wish our 2019 industry leader trio the best of luck and we’re very much looking forward to following them on their journey upstream. Our services are funded entirely – and can only continue – through the generous support of the industry. Fundraising activities such as this are vital in ensuring that we can continue to provide life-changing support to industry colleagues.”

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The Industry Leader Challenge (ILC) is an epic personal challenge taken on each year by an automotive industry leader (or leaders) to fundraise for Ben. The ILC is certainly not for the faint-hearted and requires extraordinary personal endeavour that tests the challenger either mentally or physically – or both. After completing a challenge of their choice (either with a team or alone), the challenger then hands the baton over to another industry leader for the following year.


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