NorCal Racing

Motorcycle caravan to benefit Sonoma Raceway’s food drive

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Every year since 2000, Richard Battles has led a parade of social motorcyclists from his luggage and equipment shop in Windsor to the Sonoma Raceway, often with as many as 50 bikes, wending through the scenic Sonoma and Napa county landscape and bringing food donations for the raceway’s Thanksgiving Food Drive.

Battles and his wife, Kathy Storin, ride BMWs, but all bikes – Suzukis, Hondas, even Harleys – are welcome to join in the three-hour ride, which this year leaves their Windsor shop, RKA Motorcycle Luggage, at about 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, to arrive at the Raceway by 11:30 a.m.

It’s one of several events in the raceway’s annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, which runs through this coming weekend. It has distributed almost 40 tons of food since its inception in 2000.

“It’s become one of our cornerstone community events, said Steve Page, executive director of Sonoma Raceway. “We enjoy a higher profile than a lot of companies do, which gives us the opportunity to push very successful community events.”

The ride – not a race, more like a parade, says Battles – usually covers about 70 miles, but the recent Kincade fire may shorten the route a bit this year.

After handing over their food donations, the bikers will follow a pace car around the historic 2.52 mile track for what is often the highlight of the day for visiting motorcyclists.

“The Food Drive Ride and the laps at Sonoma Raceway are something we look forward to every year,” said Battles. “Giving back and helping others is most important, but the rides we do to the track are so much fun, and to see the smiles on everyone’s face as they come off the Sonoma Raceway road course is very special.”

Riders of all skill levels are invited and encouraged to bring 10 or more non-perishable food items or make a $15 cash donation to the food drive, which benefits Friends in Sonoma Helping (FISH) in Sonoma Valley and the Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB) in Santa Rosa.

In addition to the ride, all participants can purchase raffle tickets to win Sonoma Raceway race tickets, wine gift sets, riding gear and more. Raffle tickets are just $1 each, seven for $5 or 15 tickets for $10, and can be purchased the day of the ride. RKA is located at 7694 Bell Road, Windsor; more information at rka-luggage.com.

Page noted that it’s not the Raceway per se that’s making the donations, but which serves “as a channel for other people’s generosity.”

Food donations can be made through the weekend at the Sonoma Raceway (Gate 1 or the main office), 29355 Arnold Drive; Sonoma Valley Fire & Rescue, 630 Second St. W.; and Schell-Vista Fire Station, 22950 Broadway, Sonoma.

The Sonoma Raceway will deliver donations to Friends in Sonoma Helping and the Redwood Empire Food Bank on Monday, Nov. 25, said Sonoma Raceway’s Jennifer Imbimbo.




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