4am on June 21st saw the start of the second running of “The Longest Day Down Challenge”...

As was the case last year, the sound of baggy cam chains and blown exhausts signalled the start of a long day for 21 of the UK’s most ambitious motorcyclists and their collection of bikes. This years “Grid” was just as varied as last years and was made up of the ingenious to the downright optimistic machinery, some of which we’ve highlighted for your entertainment.

21 Riders set off from John O’Groats on 21 bikes, and 21 riders arrived at Lands End on 19 bikes. Everyone made it to Lands End in under 24 hours……….just, and a little over £12,000 was raised for Cancer Research UK. Hero’s, each and every one of them

A handful of 2014’s riders took up Cancer Research UK’s invitation for a tour of one of their facilities in Cambridge later in the year, and a hugely inspirational and informative day out was had by those went along.

James Harding/Honda CG125

The youngest to take up the challenge. James rode his CG125 with a modified top fairing off a ZXR750 from Leicester to John O’Groats just to get to the start line. Best guesses estimate he spent five straight days and nights in his Arlen Ness leathers.

Jeremy Miles / Honda Shadow

Winner of the “Most Ingenious Modification” award for his utterly brilliantly simple idea of how to add cruise control to any bike. Even a Honda Shadow.

Nigel & Ben Rea / Yamaha XJ900 & SV650

Father and Son combination Nigel and Ben Rea come from a road racing background and their competitive streaks showed. That said, when Bens original choice of bike couldn’t be readied in time and he rocked up on a nearly new SV650, like a really good sport and firmly in the spirit of Longest Day Down, Ben agreed to transport a big blow up crocodile all the way to Lands End as a forfeit. Apparently there was a crocodile tail/SV650 chain interface somewhere on the Fosse Way.

Steve Denbigh / Kawasaki ZXR750

Angels wept at the sight of Steves ex race bike ZXR750 with it’s ambitious wiring, lack of seat foam and barley attached fireblade seat unit. The very same angels sobbed when Steve rocked up at the start line in jacket and jeans. Later on, Steve would loose his phone and cause organisers untold amounts of stress and angst. He mended his broken clutch lever with electrical tape so he could ride home the next day……….in jacket and jeans.

Duncan Vincent / Honda CBR1000

Made in to Lands End with just one stop on his CBR1000. You’re probably wondering how ? With an extra 40 litres of fuel attached to the back of his bike plumbed into the Hondas fuel system, camelbaks loaded with super high energy drink and yes, a catheter. If you were travelling behind a matt black CBR1000 in a southerly direction on June 21st 2014 and had to use your windscreen wipers at any point, Duncan says he’s sorry, but when you gotta go, you gotta go.

Simon Chalmers / Honda CBR600F

Double hard bastard Simon was the only rider from last years Longest Day Down to do it again this year, and on the same bike. However, that wasn’t enough for Simon. He thought he would ride to John O’Groats for the start via Lowestoft (the most easterly point in the UK) and St Davids (the most Westerly). He had done 1500 miles in three days just to get to the start line. Freak.

Jason Corr / Yamaha XJ900

Jason made it to Lands End with minutes to spare and in doing so volunteered himself to take the only known picture of the sun rising at Lands End. Everyone else was either passed out under a van or unable to walk. Whilst everyone found the challenge difficult, Jason in particular probably found it the toughest and got a lot of encouragement from his wife on the end of the phone to get him to Lands End. No one desevered to see that sun rise more than Jason.

Richard Shortland / Honda NTV650

Richard turned up to the startline with a Karl Harris replica Shoei on the day of Karls funeral. Rode an NTV650 with a highly modified riding position including extra footpegs waaay out front to accommodate his 6 foot body. Nothing is comfortable for 24 hours.

Team Haggis / Kawasaki ZZR1100 & Suzuki GSXR750

Colin Leask & Martin Webster had the shortest ride to the start line of a little over 5 minutes. Not so smug at Lands End though….

Matthew Marrett / Suzuki RF900

Matt like everyone ones involved with The Longest Day Down had someone specific in mind as motivation to take on the challenge. He managed to strike the right balance of remembrance, fun, personal challenge, fundraising and camaraderie with his tired old RF900. He also sported the best sun tan as a result of stepping off the plane the day before following a family holiday.

Owen Evans / Kawasaki ZZR600

Was one of the favourites to get to Lands End first, but his ZZR600 developed an appetite for batteries and despite a taxi ride to a Halfords in Edinburgh so he could buy the entire stock of batteries that would fit in the ZZR’s tray, Owens bike ran out of electricity and batteries for the last time 10 miles short of the halfway mark. As one of only two non finishers, Owen has vowed to be back in 2015 to finish what he started.

Colin Raeside:

Colin took part in The Longest Day Down in 2013 after getting the all clear following treatment for lung cancer. Two days before the event this year, Colin got the worst possible news that the cancer was back. He got on the phone to Johnny and insisted that a role was found for him, so a plan was made and Colin drove all afternoon on the 21st of June to get to Lands End. He became the welcoming party, and as riders arrived throughout the night, they were met by Colins smile, enthusiasm, a cup of tea and a jammy dodger. Nice one Colin, and get well soon.

"the engine is currently in loads of bits" - Alex FJ1200