Offroad fun for St John

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James Bradford is covering the odds; backing St John and heading offroad for a bit of fun.

Fun offroading action for a good cause will see thrillseekers take to the Ashburton riverbed this Sunday in the inaugural Ashburton Can-Am river run.

The event, organised by Ashburton Can-Am, is on the Wheels Week programme and will boost the coffers of St John Ashburton.

Manager James Bradford said it had attracted a bit of interest and would take in sections of the Ashburton River terrain. It was open to anybody in an offroad vehicle such as a utility terrain vehicle (or side-by-side), quad bike or four wheel drive vehicle. It costs $40 per vehicle.

“I’m hoping for a good turnout to support St John and have a bit of fun,” he said.

The event, which coincided with Mother’s Day, would head in convoy up the south branch of the Ashburton River, starting from Melrose Road river access. It would return via the north branch.

It would take in a trail of the riverbed but also a small section on the road between Mt Somers and the river branches so vehicles needed to be roadworthy too, James said.

He had carried out a reconnaissance trip in the past few weeks with an experienced river user and planned to have an experienced offroader guiding on the day.

James is a regular offroader who has been able to mix business and pleasure with his role at Can-Am. He is a member of the South Island UTV Club and will be driving a Maverick X3, XRS; a 2021 model capable of travelling 150km/h, which is also registered and warranted for road use.

While the timing of the event best fit the Wheels Week programme, but maybe not some people because of Mother’s Day, he encouraged people to bring their mums along for an outing with a difference. The convoy, which leaves Melrose Road at 10.30am, would arrive in Mt Somers in time for lunch before heading back down the river.

People could bring their own picnic or head into the Mount Somers Tavern and purchase lunch.

James said St John offered a great service to people from all walks of life and it was still, surprisingly, not government funded.

He had called them on a number of times in the past and was keen to support them. The most memorable emergency call was for an offroading accident north of Kaikoura involving his younger brother, who eventually had to be airlifted out of the remote area.

James said he was truly grateful to have medical help on hand that day.

People can register their interest for the river run – and if they can take a passenger – on the Ashburton Can-Am Facebook page or turn up at the river on the day, via the Melrose Road river access.

Each vehicle costs $40. All proceeds were going directly to St John. Event registration is from 10am.