75-year-old Portsmouth motorcyclist and navy veteran to ride almost 2,000 miles through Alaska for SSAFA

A 75-year-old motorcyclist and navy veteran is set to ride thousands of miles through Alaska for a charity close to his heart.

By Hollie Busby
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 4:55 am

Bob Jones, from Farlington, will join a group of riders for an 1,853-mile motorcycle trip from Anchorage to Prudhoe Bay on the shores of the Arctic ocean to raise cash for the armed forces charity SSAFA from July 23 to July 31.

The ride is set up by MotoQuest which runs the tour twice a year.

The retired Royal Navy warrant officer, who served as a gunner on the likes of HMS Brighton, HMS Illustrious and HMS Invincible, will ride through the Denali National Park, home to wild animals, such as wolves and moose, with a large portion of the ride on unpaved shale roads.

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Bob Jones, a retired navy warrant officer is to emark on a 1853 mile trip in aid of SSAFA.

The route will then take them up to the notorious Dalton Highway, made famous by the TV programme Ice Road Truckers.

Since he was 16, Bob – who only retired last month from his role as a banqueting usher at the House of Lords – has been a bike fanatic. He says he got into motorcycling at 9am on his 16th birthday when the insurance on his bike started.

Bob is no stranger to this type of feat following a trip in 2016 through Canada to Alaska with his late friend Larry Erikson who died in 2017 – so this ride is also dedicated to him.

Bob said: ‘I'm 75 years old, I’m still fit and active, I'm an active motorcyclist and it's the last part of Alaska I haven't done.

Bob Jones with his late friend Larry Erikson after they completed 700 km up the Dempster Highway (a shale road) to the Arctic Circle and back to the Alaska Highway.

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‘It's quite a frontier. It's a challenge. You get extremes of weather, it's a shale road, it's one of these roads that all bikers want to do.

‘That's why I wanted to do it.

‘We were going to do the Denali Highway and then come back to the Alaska highway again but we never got there because of time.

‘That's the one part of the ride I didn't do in 2016.’

Bob started his 27-year navy career aged 17 in 1964. He served as a seaman gunner before becoming a warrant officer gunnery instructor and left the navy in 1992. He joined the Geest Line in Southampton as their fleet safety officer before he became a doorkeeper at the House of Lords.