x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Fund-raising riders say goodbye Dubai, now it's to Russia with love

The violent protests across the region against the video insulting the Prophet Mohammed have forced three former British servicemen to drop plans for a fund-raising motorbike ride from the UK to Dubai.

DUBAI // The violent protests across the region against the video insulting the Prophet Mohammed have forced three former British servicemen to drop plans for a fund-raising motorbike ride from the UK to Dubai.

Geoff Warren, 44, Colin Harker, 47, and Chris Brice, 40, will still depart as scheduled today. However, instead of travelling south through Europe and on to North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula for the Destination Dubai trip, they will head east on a new route.

As a result of the protests against the Innocence of Muslims, the men no longer felt safe travelling as planned through Libya and Egypt, and all Libyan visas - including the team's - were suspended indefinitely when the turmoil erupted.

Now the men plan to travel to Ukraine, Russia, Georgia and across Turkey before circling the Black Sea and returning home via Bulgaria. Funds raised through sponsorship of the 9,600-kilometre trip will go to the charity Help for Heroes, which supports British servicemen injured in recent conflicts.

"For nearly two years we've given our blood, sweat and tears to make Destination Dubai 2012 a success," said Mr Warren, the team's leader. "We're absolutely gutted that we now cannot safely undertake our original expedition.

"But we will not give up. In the past week we've had to come up with a dramatically different plan and are now packing for colder climes."

One thing that will not change is the name of the adventure. Bron Madson, a member of the back-up team that will accompany the three motorcyclists, said: "It's still Destination Dubai, we won't change the name because that's what everybody knows us by, but now it's kind of 'to Russia with love'."

csimpson@thenational.ae