INSPIRED by the determination and spirit of a double amputee motorcyclist from Yarrawonga, local business owner Stephen Frew has embarked on what could be a life-changing fundraising campaign.
The proprietor of ‘The Waves’ apartment complex in Cowes and a keen rider himself, Stephen founded the Disabled Motorcyclist Racing Foundation of Australia (DMRFA) late last year after hearing the remarkable story of Alan Kempster – a courageous individual who has followed his racing dream in the face overwhelming odds.
The subject of an upcoming documentary ‘Left Side Story’, Alan was the victim of a horrific road accident in 1990, resulting in the traumatic amputation of his right arm and leg.
Years later, Alan decided to get back on his bike and start racing competitively again.
Anyone who had any doubts about his ability was soon silenced once they competed against him.
Steve says his idea for setting up the DMRFA came at a difficult time in his own life.
“A few years ago, I’d just got over some personal health issues and, in the midst of it, a whole bunch of financial and business problems,” Steve explained.
“Whilst I was working toward a solution to my problems, my wife, Sue came to me and told me about Alan Kempster.
“Sue had been doing some marshalling at the Phillip Island circuit and come across Alan doing a ride day.
“Since then she’d befriended him on Facebook.
“Anyway, Alan had a race meeting coming up in June 2012.
“As he lives in Yarrawonga and survives on a pension, he needed a bed for a couple of nights so he could race.
“Sue asked if we could help.
“I was up to my neck in problems and I suddenly realised ‘here is me thinking my life is going down the toilet, and this bloke missing two limbs comes along and all he needs to solve a problem is a bed’.”
After getting to know the inspirational rider, Steve felt compelled to help Alan in any way he could.
There are many before who help Alan financially, but there had never been an organised approach.
“We continued to give him accommodation support and while I discovered there have been many people throw him some money to assist him in his racing, he was still doing it tough,” Steve continued.
“I thought then that there must be a way to professionally raise some money and perhaps manage a race team for him.”
The former president of the Ducati Owners Club of Victoria, Steve already had plenty of experience when it came to fundraising.
In the wake of the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, he and his wife ran a raffle and raised $120,000 for the national Red Cross appeal.
Since last December, the DMRFA has raised around $4000, but Steve says there’s still a long way to go.
“What we need to do is plan what racing he is going to do and see what we can do with the small amount we started off with,” Steve continued.
“The money raised already won’t go far, unfortunately.
“With entry fees and race licences there are many costs before we even get tyres etc
“Alan’s well known on his old bike; it’s an old Kawasaki ZXR 400.
“He’s ridden it to death since he rediscovered the race track.
“In an ideal world we hope to get a manufacturer on board to provide him a bike.
“In the interim, Oilee Racing has lent us a Suzuki GSXR 600 which he’ll ride for the first time in July.
“We hope to get him into a support race for at the Australian MotoGP in October.
“That would really raise his profile which has to help the cause.
It has been estimated Alan could continue to compete around the country if $20,000 per year was raised.
For now, the foundation will continue to seek a sponsorship opportunities and continue to push the campaign while Alan is still young enough to enjoy racing.
“The real objective here is to raise enough to get Alan on the track for another couple of years,” Steve said.
“At 52 years old he’s not going to race forever.
“He still deals with a lot of pain, and one day that will slow him down.
“In the event we get more than we need, Al has a dream to start a school for disabled riders.
“It would be awesome if we could help him get that off the ground.”
Steve says even donations of any amount – even $1 or $2 – would be gratefully accepted.
How can you help Alan?
• A foundation bank account has been set up.
Account Name: Disabled Motorcyclist Racing Foundation of Australia
Make sure to include your name as a reference.
• Paypal donations accepted: email@example.com
• Crowdfunding campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/disabled-motorcycle-racing-foundation-alan-kempster/
• Or for more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/LeftSideStoryAlanKempsterCommittee/