The Ride & Event - 2020 12th Annual Gtr Mhs Memorial Ride


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
A start...


to be continued


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
The biggest list of participants ever & wonderful weather for the ride.

We had 76 names down as participating, and were prepared this year with a backup ambulance, with a doctor & nurse, from the Mae Sarieng hospital booked from Hot to Mae Hong Son, should an emergency arise.
Fortunately no such luck & the ride went off smoothly.
No rain, no incidents & just damn good fun riding with mates.

The event has grown over the 12 years from just a few mates in 2009 going for a blast to celebrate the good times we had with two fun loving riding buddies to become an event with a soul.


The spirit & soul of the event

The GTR Rider MHS Memorial Ride started out to celebrate the life of two riding buddies Tropical John Hamilton & Simon Grant.
These two guys were actually yachties & lived in Phuket, but every year they rode up to Chiang Mai & did a motorcycle tour of the North.
Inevitably they hooked up with the GT Rider gang hanging out at the Kafe & the Xcentre, and we all became good mates who enjoyed each others company & trips together.
TJ unexpectedly died from a tumour in 2008 & a year later it was time for the annual ride north for Simon, but alone. One of the best times ever in his life, was the ride to MHS with TJ. He didn’t want to do it alone because it wouldn’t be the same without TJ, his best mate, so Simon invited the GTR rider guys to join him in a ride to MHS to celebrate the good times he had with TJ.
A date was pencilled in a couple of months ahead; & Simon flew up to Chiang Rai to buy an Africa Twin to ride a big bike with the GTR guys on his trip. He safely rode the AT from Mae Sai back to Phuket in 2 days, but a week later we got a message from Phuket – Simon had been killed on his bike, a hit & run!
We were all stunned, but vowed then that we would have an annual GTR Ride together to MHS in honour of TJ & Simon.
There were just a few of us on that first ride, but over the years the ride grew in numbers and bonded more of us together. Our mateship always grew each time on the memorial ride, remembering all the roads we had ridden together & places we had been with our departed mates. The ride itself really got to mean something.
Over the years then, more guys have been added to the chedi & we keep riding to pay homage to them.
As more guys joined, riders have developed more camaraderie along the way.
The ceremonies at both the GTR Chedi & the temple are special & help maintain the respect we have for our mates & for the Wat allowing us to build the GTR chedi on the temple land.
The event has a soul, it’s not just a group of bikers going to a piss up.
It is a special occasion and reminds how special our life riding here is, how lucky we are to be living here & riding with freedom the way we do.
Everyone who comes on the event gets to feel that & the camaraderie you get riding to MHS & the GTR Chedi to pay respect.
At the official PTT start the head count was 53 bikes, more were coming from Mae Sarieng & Pai.

The Mae La Noi coffee view point lunch stop worked a treat & the ladies there are enthusiastic for us to continue every year.

We like what they do & love the spot, so aim to continue with that set up.



Riders came in and and out as they went, spread out over about an hour & it all worked a charm.
For those who maybe interested the coffee shop is run by a local government office & the food is catered to by a lady with a restaurant in the Mae La Noi market. It takes a bit to set up all parties agreeing to work together & GTR pays a deposit in advance on those who indicate they are going, with the Mae La Noi restaurant owner making a special trip to Mae Sarieng to buy supplies for the lunch. She was extremely nervous for the first one in 2019 not believing that we would get 40+ farang bikers for lunch & in 2020 we told her it was to be 60. Now she knows.

In 2019 some were a bit slow getting to MHS for the ceremonies, but not so in 2020; so a big thanks to everyone for pushing on this year & getting in MHS early or on time. Perhaps the perfect road conditions from Mae La Noi north encouraged everyone to ride a bit faster this year, as some guys most definitely got to MHS well ahead of time = thanks guys.

The MHS PTT Rendezvous....

PTT, an aircon 7-11 & Amazon coffee are winners every time.
55 we partially blocked the petrol station & did cause some concern at the PTT since most people did not fill up on arrival. Ooops. We know you filled up the next day, but next year we better encourage all riders to fill up on arrival at the PTT, so they get some baht & they don't request to move everyone out of the way. Fortunately the prompt arrival of the police escort did solve the problem with the PTT manager.

More to come..
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Steve Merchant

Dec 11, 2009
Having chosen not to come to Chiang Mai I rode alone from Tha Ton, read the instructions provided and knew where to meet and at what time. Then I just did as told, joined in at the chedi, turned up to eat and drink, quit when I'd had enough and repeated it again at breakfast. As a man who spent 30 years as a tour manager organizing events and dealing with groups I enjoyed not having that worry any more, its so easy to just be a participant. Today David thanked me for turning up which is the reverse of how it should be. A Guest House that doesn't cater to big foreign groups was convinced to do so, a small restaurant owner was persuaded to provide for a bunch of bikers, tables and chairs were in place, drinks were cold, singers appeared, everything went off well and we all understand that wasn't just luck. A lot of background work went into this and I want to show it was appreciated and say a 'thank you' for the event. Turning up was the easy bit.


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
The GTR Chedi

The GTR chedi was built in 2016 & the history is here
The Gt Rider Memorial Chedi

It was officially inaugurated on the 2016 8th annual ride
The 2016 8th Annual Tj John Hamilton-simon Siinthai Grant Mhs Memorial Ride

Riders park their bikes along the path to the chedi, & a brief history of the chedi & story of riders in the chedi is given.


All of the guys in there have been riding mates who lived in the North &/or contributed to the GTR community. Some of us have been very close to mates in the Chedi & we have extremely good memories with them.

There have been some amazing trips & outrageous times together


1- GTR-MHS-2020-124213349_399538054556284_1864494850503253080_n.jpg


More to come..
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Oct 23, 2009
Another winner venue for an essential moment to pay respect to deceased friends. It's getting better and more attended every year. All participants are grateful to David's dedication, who, together with a group of helpful riders and our "always smiling" George, makes this ride possible. For me 2021 is already scheduled :)


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
The main ceremony

The main ceremony for the event used to be held in the sala as you turned up the steep concrete path to the chedi, but in 2021 we got to use the flash new aircon building.
And wow was the seating in aircon welcome, to make the event much more enjoyable & relaxing.

The ceremony
The ceremony is basically a cleansing ceremony - previous sins are forgiven, the body cleansed & bad luck removed, then good luck & harmony is put back in the body & soul, so you are fresh to go again. The group is tied together with strings and blessed as a whole.
You could compare it to a 100,000 kms bike service. engine strip down, rebuild with new oils & a top tune up.
It is a very powerful ceremony, especially when the group is tied together by strings, & so put everyone in harmony with each other.




You can often see this ceremony at new year when a whole village goes to the wat to get cleansed & blessed as a group for the coming year.
For GTR we do it as a group on the Memorial Ride & the abbot of Wat Doi Kong Mu is extremely delighted to have farang doing this ceremony at his temple.

A senior person or leader of the group gets to sit in the star.
We rotate the person to be the leader each year & in 2020 that role went to Grahame Edwards.




Another senior person lights the candles & incense to start the ceremony.
Brian Jones was the man in 2020.






Offerings are given to the monks once the ceremony is over



A "royal blessing with a sprinkling of holy water" follows


more to come..
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Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Once the main ceremony & the group blessing is done it is time to hike back up to the Chedi for a ceremony for the souls in the GTR Chedi.


This ceremony with the monks is basically to make contact with the departed & let them know they are not forgotten. We are still here for them, & should they have any trouble they can come back to the chedi, we are here for them always.


Some final offerings from riders.

Job done, the happy group at the GTR Chedi

I count 57? participants in the above image at the GTR Chedi.
A big TQ to everyone who came & participated.
Many thanks to Jurgen Chopard for his fantastic photos.
Thanks too Scotty, David DKT, Tim & Vero, Ian Bungy & Robert Hoghead for helping organizing the ride this year. Your input is greatly appreciated - it is a team effort to set it all up.

None of this event would be possible without George ex the Sunflower by the lake.
George is our Mr Fixit, the man on the ground in MHS setting it all up.
Super TQ to George for the 12 years he has now helped us in MHS.

Without George we would never have got to first base on that 1st Memorial Ride in 2009, when we simply planted 100 yr old rose bushes in honour of TJ & Simon at Wat Chong Klang by the lake.


The Tj John Hamilton - Simon Siinthai Grant Memorial Ride

More to come the dinner party at Piya.
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DKT Dave

Sep 25, 2019
What a great weekend! It couldn’t have gone any better. Many thanks for the event, it was a pleasure to be a part of.
A special thanks to George out in MHS for all his efforts, and of course David.....Fantastic!!!


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Finally onto the party & a celebration of life & the good times we have here.

For the previous 11 years we have always had a party at the Sunflower by the lake, but in 2021 we thought we would try something different: a private function at the Piya guesthouse around the pool. One of the issues at the Sunflower had always been outsiders drifting in to take advantage of the buffet meal & entertainment we had organized at a cost. Holding the event at the Piya was to be a much more relaxing atmosphere, and a sublime atmosphere it was, plus to counter the free loaders drifting in.

The food & catering in 2020 was done by Nang from the Salween & her menu & food was superb, and top value for money.

For beer, GTR cut a deal with the Piya, they ordered 25 cases to sell, and any beer not sold we would buy back - actually Robert Hoghead & Ian Bungy stood up for that one. Many thanks Robert & Bungy for picking up the tab for the unsold beer.

Some pics from Bungy






The Kayan / Long Necks
There was no band or MC in 2020 due to the covid lock down in Oz, of all places.
What to do for entertainment? Let's try something different & special, befitting a GTR event in MHS - so we decided to support our local Kayan / long neck friends & get them to come and sing for us.
We knew they were struggling with no tourists visiting, plus many had come back home from tourist villages up country - Pattaya & Chiang Rai - where there was no work & no income. They appreciated what we did & the support they got on the night.

The appearance of the long neck gals certainly made an impression & perhaps surprised many, but GTR has had a long relationship with the long necks in MHS, especially via Jurgen who personally knows many of them all over the North. His GTR Reports on the Long Neck are outstanding, & well worth checking out.

The Road To Nai Soi (karen Long Neck)

“poi Ton Tee” – The Kayan New Year

In 2012 we had the long necks play at the MHS International Music festival

Mae Hong Son Music Festival, May 2012.

The GTR History of the long necks
The Long Necks

Long Neck New Year with GTR
Mae Hong Son - Kayan - Long Neck New Year

The 2020 GTR MHS Memorial Ride at Piya Guesthouse



There was no shortage of people looking for a photo with the stars of the night, & why not. It was a special night & event. We hope you all come back again for the 2021 GTR MHS Memorial Ride.




The long necks came, they played & they conquered.
A whip round with a helmet saw 2,500 baht raised for them, in addition to the agreed fee GTR had paid for the night (which was more than the tip money collected). And with a few free beers to take home at the end of the night, they went home happy.
We intend to engage them again next year 2021 for the GTR MHS Memorial Ride, because we think it is a win win for both sides.

A bit more to come...
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Mar 2, 2019
^ That is an excellent video of the event, Paul put together on the run aswell, and he doesnt even have a background in filming or editing, just a hobby for him..........filmed with a Gopro 360 camera ;)

And kudos to him for riding up from Koh Samui for the MHS Memorial Ride, he continued on making a big roadtrip via Isaan with his girlfriend, he is still on the road now, making his way back to Samui :cool:


New Member
Nov 3, 2016
chiang mai
a wonderul and well organised memorial ride, already penciled in for next year .
Big thank you to Dave and all the commitee for all the hard work and time they put in to make this event something we can all be proud to be apart of.


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
A month has now passed since our 12th annual memorial ride and I thought it was time to reflect on proceedings and to mention our visit to the Wat the following mornings. Tim, Veronica, George and I turned up to deliver what remained of the money donated by all who came on the ride.

GTR-MHS-Wat -20201108_123403.jpg

There was more amusement to come, as we placed 5000 baht into our only remaining envelope and dutifully wrote the figure on the front.


Despite the largest attendance ever, due to the economic situation, this year we had no major sponsors. For the past two years BBT and last year Moto Bistro had generously contributed, but, given the added expenses of a back up ambulance plus the hire of tables and chairs, we felt our donation was a bit light. At that point Tim and Veronica offered to chip in a further 5000 baht hence the dodgy looking corrected figure on the envelope !

GTR-MHS-Wat -20201108_123408.jpg

I would also like to acknowledge others who made significant unsolicited donations to the event.
Scotty 007
Dave DKT
Robert Hoghead
Brian and Pa Jones
Thank you all.

TQ too, Jurgen for your fantastic photos.

It was a great 2020 GTR MHS memorial ride. Holding the event at the Piya guest house as a private function for GT riders looks like the way to go from now on.

Since starting as a trip to celebrate the lives and fun times we had with two lovable riding buddies, the ride has developed a soul, a moment to reflect on the adventures we had with mates now gone. I feel it’s morphed into much more than getting together just for a bite to eat and a few drinks. It’s about riding together, remembering the good times past and appreciating the wonderful life we have here in northern Thailand. I’m sure that many of us who participate experience the full spectrum of emotions from actually riding in memory of departed friends. Particularly those of us who have dear mates now laid to rest in the chedi. We sincerely appreciate the support of all those who take part in the whole event. Thank you for joining in the ride, for your good hearts and joyous camaraderie.

See you again in 2021 for #13 !
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Ian Bungy

Sep 19, 2006
Thank You David, Tim & Veronica and all the Rest who helped Organise such a Wonderful event! I have had the Privilege of personally knowing all but one of the Guys on the Chedi and have participated on all 12 Rides since it's first inception! I think it is important for any new People to this region who may be considering joining Us on Future Rides that everyone is more than welcome. The Memorial is a focus for all of Us and chance to meet new people make new friends and reflect on Our Own lost friends and family Members not just the guys named on the Chedi, a Celebration of Life! We can all enjoy it together!


Feb 23, 2004
Thank You David, Tim & Veronica and all the Rest who helped Organise such a Wonderful event! I have had the Privilege of personally knowing all but one of the Guys on the Chedi and have participated on all 12 Rides since it's first inception! I think it is important for any new People to this region who may be considering joining Us on Future Rides that everyone is more than welcome. The Memorial is a focus for all of Us and chance to meet new people make new friends and reflect on Our Own lost friends and family Members not just the guys named on the Chedi, a Celebration of Life! We can all enjoy it together!
Well said Bungy!