Classic rides: Men's health at the forefront for foundation
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The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) has grown from a small inaugural event in Sydney to a global fundraising organisation for men’s health issues.
The DGR has brought thousands of motorcyclists together to highlight prostate cancer and men’s suicide.
With the DGR running like clockwork, event founder Mark Hawwa is bringing the same ethos to a new movement — the Distinguished Gentleman’s Drive.
The plan is to bring owners of classic (pre-1980s) and exotic cars together to help stop men dying too young.
“I was always into cars before I was into motorbikes,” says Hawwa. “But for me, it was always about trying to get to a point where I could spend a bit of time on the Distinguished Gentleman’s Drive, because it is such a huge market full of so many inspirational people.
“A lot of people who tend to drive those sorts of cars are a little bit older, they’ve been through mental health issues and prostate cancer stress so it’s a good market for us to target. In the end, it’s all about connecting people.”
Hawwa says men do not talk enough about mental health issues or cancer.
“I think the Distinguished Gentleman’s Drive will have a broader spread for the message and the classic car market is one that hasn’t had this message drilled home.
“What better way is there to connect with men than classic cars?”
The first worldwide outing for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Drive, which includes New Zealand, is planned for May 31, 2020.
“It’s something you’ve got to hit between seasons globally,” Hawwa says. “You don’t want to be too much into the peak of summer in some regions or the dead of winter in others.
“In its first year, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride was 64 cities across 15 countries, with 2500 riders taking part.
“We’re expecting 100 to 200 individual DGD drives. In terms of the format, we’re still in the planning process.”
Funds raised will be donated to the Movember Foundation with around 20 per cent of the money covering expences.
With the DGR rallying behind the motto of “ride dapper” — the inspiration for the ride came from Hawwa seeing a photo of Mad Men character Don Draper astride a classic Matchless motorcycle — the Distinguished Gentleman’s Drive takes a similar approach.
Though he doesn’t have a particular image in mind, people dressing up as James Bond driving an Aston Martin DB5 could be a form of inspiration.
The event is about dressing sharp, driving classic cars and doing their part for men’s health.
“We’re after the goal of really classic vehicles which is why we’ve gone for the rule of pre-80s,” says Hawwa.
“It would have been a little different if I had gone pre-90s or even a rolling 30-year rule because obviously that would mean in a few years time you’d have WRXs and that era of car showing up; again we’re really after those conventionally classic vehicles.
“For me, it would be fantastic to see some of the bigger marques like McLaren, Ferrari or Lamborghini jump on board and support — coming on board with some of their classic cars and supporting it with owners of their more recent vehicles.”
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