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Farnhill man's African adventure
4:46pm Friday 1st August 2008 in Farnhill
More used to riding his big 1200cc BMW on the long asphalt roads of Europe, Les Hobson will be changing his style when he climbs aboard a 200cc off-road Honda.
Not that Les, 55, will find it too much of a problem. He has been motorcycling for 38 years and until two years ago owned a trail bike, spending a lot of time on the green lanes of the Yorkshire Dales.
But the terrain he plans to negotiate when he takes charge of the Honda in October will be a whole new experience for Les, who is boss of Les Hobson Gas Engineers, in Cross Hills.
Those green lanes of Craven have nothing in common with the "wild coast" of South Africa.
Les, of Farnhill, has taken up the challenge of Enduro Africa, an eight-day off-road marathon aimed at raising cash for charities based on the sub-continent. The money will go to UNICEF, the Prince's Trust and the Nelson Mandela Fund. He has already donated £5,000 of his own money - the amount riders are expected to raise through sponsorship.
"I did that because I thought it was such a great cause and I'm so keen to tackle the bike ride, " said Les.
But, to keep to the spirit of the event, he has set his own fundraising challenge - to bank cash for the Manorlands, Sue Ryder Care hospice, at Oxenhope.
And in just a few days he has already notched up more than £2,000, pledged by friends and business colleagues, as well as members of Skipton Golf Club.
He expects more money to come in when his friend, Phil Cooke, who runs the Slaters Arms, at Bradley, holds a fun day on Sunday, August 17, when all the cash will go to the Sue Ryder cause. "I was so keen to do the bike ride, I was happy to pay the £5,000. But I still wanted a challenge, so I decided to raise some cash for Manorlands, " he explained.
"I've been amazed how quickly I've collected pledges. People have been very generous.
"I saw a report on the Enduro Africa in Motorcycle News, last year, and thought what a fantastic experience, " said Les, who also has off-road experience, riding in Spain, Portugal, Morocco and the Alps.
He is being joined in the challenge by his friend John Pullan, of Oxenhope.
They will join the other riders in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on October 2, and ride down to Durban.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the Sue Ryder cause can do so by logging on to justgiving.com/leshobsonenduroafrica.