CatWalk Conquest Freedom Motorcycle Tour & Auction to Support Spinal Cord Injury Research

Monday 18 August 2008

The CatWalk Conquest Freedom Tour is a tour of NZ of the Conquest motorcycle designed for wheelchair users. Beginning in Auckland on 29 October 2008 the CatWalk Conquest Freedom Tour will visit 38 of New Zealand’s main centres, before finishing in Christchurch on 13 November 2008. CatWalk will host the ‘Up & Away Charity Dinner’ that same night in Christchurch, where the Conquest bike will be auctioned to the highest bidder.

Imagine the wind against your face as you glide down the road on a high performance motorcycle - an open view of the countryside around you, you feel free and in complete control of a machine that can take you almost anywhere. For many – a motorcycle tour of New Zealand has always been a dream. But for wheelchair users, such a dream has never been able to become a reality until now. Finally the chance to regain one’s freedom from dependence upon others with the arrival of an exciting new open-air vehicle has arrived.

The Martin Conquest 1200 is a motorbike designed for wheelchair users. The world's first series-manufactured high performance motorcycle that can be driven from a wheelchair, it promises to provide an unprecedented level of independence previously unattainable for individual wheelchair users. With all controls being hand operated, the Conquest is designed for people with disabilities from the waist down. Riders can roll their wheelchairs onto the vehicle via an automated access ramp. Funding and support for the development of the Conquest included that of Sir Frank Williams, the Principal of the BMW-Williams Formula 1 Team.

Having generously donated one Conquest motorcycle to the CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust, the CatWalk’s Conquest Tour - ‘Conquering Freedom’ will travel the country, giving wheelchair users all around New Zealand the opportunity to ride the bike for a portion of the entire route.

The CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust was founded by Catriona Williams, one of New Zealand’s leading international equestrian riders who is now confined to a wheelchair following a riding accident in 2002. She founded the CatWalk Trust specifically to raise funds to support the body of scientific opinion, which says a cure for Spinal Cord Injury will be found – and found soon. Every five days someone in New Zealand is affected by a life changing spinal cord injury resulting in long lasting impairment. Whilst there are a number of organisations providing valuable rehabilitative support to those with SCI, the CatWalk Trust aims to challenge the current boundaries of research, enabling SCI victims to walk again.