KEEN motorcyclists revved up their engines for a 100-mile course across Oxfordshire.

More than 120 people took part in the first Ride the County event on Saturday to raise funds for the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance.

They raised nearly £5,000 through sponsorship and entrance fees – enough to fund two rescue missions.

Starting out from the H Cafe near Berinsfield, the bikers stopped off at checkpoints in Banbury, Didcot, Burford and Thame, and were cheered on their way by a team of volunteers.

The ride was organised by Paul and Angie Long from Didcot.

Mr Long, 50, has owned bikes since he was 17, and wooed Mrs Long, 44, by taking her out for a spin.

Mr Long, who now rides a 1050cc Triumph Tiger, said: “The air ambulance is the sort of thing you know will be there when you need it.

“It was very hot and that made the difference on Saturday.

“Next year we are going to cover all three counties – Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.”

Mrs Long, a teaching assistant at Aston and Cote School CofE Primary School, said: “It was absolutely fantastic and we couldn’t believe how well it went.”

Martin and Fiona Ward were on hand to man checkpoints.

Mrs Ward said: “There was a really good atmosphere.”

She added: “Neither of us are bikers, but we wanted to help.

“Recently a friend was in a major accident and without the air ambulance, she would have died.”

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