Charity Gala Day of stock car racing to raise cash for Children’s hospital

Justin, Nigel and Ashley Riley the organisers of The Bears Challenge
Justin, Nigel and Ashley Riley the organisers of The Bears Challenge

On Sunday, August 18, the country’s largest and most successful National Banger team, ‘The Bears’, will host their annual charity event,

‘The Bears Challenge’ at Smallfield, near Crawley, hoping to raise in excess of £2000 for the Emergency Department at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton.

Michael Maggs will be hoping for a good performance on the larger stage

Michael Maggs will be hoping for a good performance on the larger stage

Leading up to the weekend, an online auction has been held for one lucky person with the highest bid to win a day racing as part of The Bears team on the day.

An as yet unnamed gentleman from Hampshire was the successful bidder.

With many famous celebrities supporting the children’s hospital, who knows maybe it is somebody famous?

At the hospital on Tuesday, the organisers handed over five family tickets to Sunday’s event, to treat families of sick children.

David Barnett from The Alex said :“This is a wonderful gesture by the guys to allow the opportunity for so many people to attend the day free of charge.

“Very often because of the illnesses involved, the families have limited social time together as a family. They deserve a day out enjoying themselves for once,” he added.

As well as a whole days’ worth of great full-contact Banger racing on offer, the owners of the racetrack, RaceQuip UK, are ensuring a great family day out with added attractions including face painting for the kids, a fun fair with bouncy castle, clowns making balloons, meeting the drivers, pace car rides and even dropping the green flag to start a race.

One simple way people attending can help to raise cash for the charity is to arrive wearing a yellow top, whether it be a t-shirt, jumper or even a fancy dress banana costume!

Amongst the sponsors of the day, M&M Distribution have pledged £1 for every couple dressed in the colour of their company’s livery.

Over 120 drivers from right across England, Scotland and Ireland have generously agreed to give up their time to travel to Sussex, to support this worthy cause. Who knows they may even give the Bears a run for their money on their home turf!!

Our own local Banger stars such as Kelvin and Michael Maggs (Horsham) and the Strudwick brothers also from Horsham will all be keen to impress on such a high profile event.

Just to make it more interesting, RaceQuip UK have also put up considerable prize money to guarantee the day goes with a bang!

“Every family in Sussex and Surrey knows somebody who has benefitted from the care and treatment offered by ‘The Alex’ over the many years it has been open,” said Bears team captain, Nigel Riley. “Indeed some families have seen several generations of children receive treatment at the hospital.

“As a group of lads, we just wanted to give back to our community that supports us throughout the year. This is the best way that we know, to raise as much money as possible for the hospital and to publicise the good work that they do,” he added.

The charity’s Ambassador, Michael Burnage MBE, said: “We were delighted the boys came to us with this suggestion. Their considerable efforts raising monies this way will help us to continue our work for sick children in Sussex and Surrey.

“I know that Nigel is confident about putting on a crowd pleasing event and raising a great deal of money for the hospital, and so I would encourage the public to go along, have a great day out and enjoy themselves.”

Smallfield is the spiritual home to the Bears team, as this was where they first began when two local families, the Rileys and the Frys, came together to form a formidable alliance.

Starting at 11am, the day is intended to raise urgently required monies, to purchase essential equipment for the emergency department at the famous hospital in Edward Street, Brighton.

Ticket prices include a donation to the hospital. For further details visit the hospital’s website at