18th July 2018, 14:43 | rl_cares
Rugby League Cares is delighted to announce that Neville Smith, the Head of Rugby League for Sky Sports, is saddling up to join the charity’s off-road cycling fundraiser, the 300-mile UK Red Ride to Wembley.
Neville, who has led Sky Sports’ Rugby League coverage for almost three decades, joins 26 other riders, including seven recently retired RL internationals on the ride between Old Trafford and Wembley Stadium.
The route avoids tarmac whenever and wherever possible as it heads south from Manchester on Monday August 20, following canal towpaths, forest trails, Peak District green lanes and bridleways over five gruelling days.
The ride is scheduled to arrive at the Wembley Legends statue on the stadium concourse on the afternoon of Friday August 24, the eve of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final.
“It’s a huge challenge for me, even though I’m a regular cyclist, and I’m looking forward to testing myself on what should prove to be the experience of a lifetime,” said Neville, who lives in Buckinghamshire.
“I spend a lot of time travelling up and down the country between home and Super League games but I’ve never done a journey like this!
“To be able to ride alongside so many Rugby League legends for the week is a great privilege, as is the chance to raise funds for RL Cares, a charity that does so much good work at every level of our great game.
“When the chance came along to join the Ride to Wembley I grabbed it with both hands, not least because I’d just treated myself to a new electric off-road bike: sadly, the batteries won’t last for 300 miles so it’s going to have to be pedal power all the way!”
The seven international riders are former Hull FC captain Gareth Ellis, who hoisted the Challenge Cup in both the 2016 and 2017 Wembley finals, ex-Castleford prop Andy Lynch, Kiwi half-back Robbie Hunter-Paul, former Salford and Bradford three-quarter Nathan McAvoy, ex-Salford back row Paul Highton, former Leeds and Hull KR centre Chev Walker and Mick Cassidy, who was a cornerstone of the mighty Wigan pack that dominated honours in the 1990s.
In addition, former Leeds and Great Britain centre Keith Senior will drive one of the support vehicles throughout the week. Other riders include members of the public, sponsors and RL Cares staff, who are collectively aiming to raise over £30,000 for the charity.
“I’d like to welcome Neville to the UK Red Ride to Wembley team and am looking forward to riding with him through what will be a very special week for everyone involved,” said the Head of Rugby League Cares, Chris Rostron.
“It’s brilliant that people with such high-profile roles within the sport like Neville and the former players are so keen to put their hands up and help raise money for the charity.
“Our work impacts positively on the lives of people involved at every level of Rugby League and the funds we raise on the Ride to Wembley are critical to helping us continue to do what we do.”
If you would like to sponsor any of the riders involved on the UK Red Ride to Wembley, please visit www.justgiving.com/teams/ride2wembley2018
For more information on Rugby League Cares and is work within the sport please visit www.rugbyleaguecares.or