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Steve Smith (49) will this week take on the Khardung La pass in India which stands at a staggering 5359 metres high on a trusty Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle to raise funds for The Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) and The Cotswold Down’s Syndrome Group because they’ve helped his six-year-old son Alfie so much.
He decided to display the iconic NGK roundel on his motorcycle helmet through his friendship with Stuart Bayne, Sales Manager – North for NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, who has helped raise tens of thousands of pounds for the DSA over the past few years.
Steve, Sales Manager – Motorcycle for Avon Tyres, last year joined Stuart and Marko Wowczyna, Director – Automotive, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, when they completed a near 425-mile cycling marathon to raise funds for charity.
He said: “I’ve built up a rapport with Stuart over the past few years through his work for the charity and also our involvement in the automotive business and got to know Marko well when we all took part in a charity cycle ride to Paris and back.”
This isn’t the first time Steve has taken to two wheels for the DSA. Back in 2016, another motorcycle challenge in India raised more than £12,000 for the charity. He then took part in the Classic Triumph Challenge in Spain raising £3700 in 2017 before raising £10,000 on the cycling trip with Stuart and Marko.
Steve, who is married to Tiffanie and has an eight-year-old daughter Nancy, said: “When Alfie was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome at 10 days old, it was the most confusing and worrying time for my wife and I. The information available from the DSA was incredible and soon we realised that things were going to be okay. As Alfie has grown and started attending school, the DSA have given great advice on benefits available and how to get the best education and support at a mainstream school.”
The Indian trip will see Steve ride the mythical Manali to Leh Highway before heading further North to tackle Khardung La pass. Parts of the roads are only open for three months of the year due to the extreme weather conditions and could be flooded as snow and ice melts. The intrepid traveller and nine others will tackle almost 500km over three days.
He said: “The high altitudes mean that altitude sickness can strike even the fittest person. We will be spending a lot of time above 4000 metres and the highest road is higher than Everest base camp! There’s no specific training for riding at altitude as the highest peak in the UK is less than 1400 metres. I’ve been doing a weekly Pilates session to help keep me fit, flexible and hopefully prevent back ache. I’ve been using my motorbike to commute a lot more this year through the cold, wet and dark winter months to prepare myself for what the conditions might be like on the high Himalayan roads.”
You can follow Steve’s journey via Facebook via https://www.facebook.com/topoftheworldchallenge and Instagram stevesmith4818. If you’d like to join the many that have contributed to the fundraising effort the easiest way is via https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SteveSmith52
About NGK SPARK PLUG:
Worldwide: NGK Spark Plug is one of the leading automotive and technical ceramics suppliers, with its corporate headquarters in Nagoya, Japan and sales organisations and production facilities all over the world. The automotive side of the company specialises in the fields of ignition and sensor technology, supplying Original Equipment and Aftermarket customers across the globe. Its product portfolio for the Aftermarket comprises spark plugs, glow plugs, ignition coils and leads under the NGK Ignition Parts brand, whilst oxygen and temperature sensors, NOx sensors, mass air flow (MAF) and manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensors operate under the brand NTK Vehicle Electronics. With more than 14,500 employees, the company’s automotive and technical ceramics activities generate a total annual turnover of around 3.1 billion Euros worldwide. NGK Spark Plug is represented on all continents and has 41 group companies, 24 production plants and five technical centres.
Aftermarket EMEA: NGK Spark Plug has seen significant growth across the Aftermarket since expanding beyond motorcycle parts into the automotive sector in the 1970s. With an outstanding commitment to quality, technology and research & development the company has become the world’s number one in spark plugs and oxygen sensors, and a leading provider of glow plugs, ignition coils and leads as well as further sensor technology. Organisationally NGK Spark Plug’s regional headquarters in Ratingen, Germany serves the Aftermarket across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In the EMEA region – which currently represents 32% of NGK´s global turnover – the company has ten group companies and more than 800 employees, as well as two production plants in France and South Africa and a technical centre in Germany.
For more information please visit: www.ngk-europe.com
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