Mega ride to honour Sgt Matt Ratana: 2000-mile epic for biking mate

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Friends and colleagues of murdered police officer Matt Ratana have completed the first of three 2022 charity challenges organised in his memory.

On bikes worth an average of £1000, including Matt’s own Honda ST1300 Pan European, the eight rode from London to John O’Groats, then to Land’s End, and finally back to East Grinstead rugby club, a journey of over 2000 miles in three days, with sections accompanied by police officers from other forces.

It was the first of three biking adventures ‘The Matt Ratana Motorbike Challenge’ is undertaking this year in a bid to support The Matt Ratana Rugby Foundation and uphold the legacy of their friend.

The other challenges are a ride from London to the Nürburgring in June, culminating in a lap of the track and a 1000 miles in 24 hours rider relay with as many riders as possible.

Matt Ratana (left) with friend Martin Christianson

Bike and rugby fan Ratana was a sergeant in the Metropolitan Police and approaching retirement when he was shot in a police custody facility in September 2020. The 54-year-old was the first police officer to be shot dead in the UK since 2012.

Before his death, Ratana was a regular Nürburgring visitor with his police biking mates and had planned to return in 2021, this time on cheap bikes to contrast with the mostly expensive machines that take part. Following the tragedy, a group of his biking friends came up with these three challenges.

Although two of the bikes didn’t complete the final leg to East Grinstead, the group were greeted with a hero’s welcome.

“The club and the 2000 present gave us a standing ovation and a lap of honour round the pitch,” said Martin Christianson. “None of us will ever forget the greeting we received – it made the aches, pains, and dramas all worth it!”

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Phil West

By Phil West

MCN Contributor and bike tester.