Riders score for charity in benefit football game

Thursday, 15 July 2004

Riders score for charity in benefit football game

A team of MotoGP riders made their annual appearance at the Hohenstein-Ernsthall football ground today for a charity game in aid of Riders for Health against a team of famous German celebrities.

In front of a packed crowd of over 5,000 fans, Carlos Checa, John Hopkins and Jeremy McWilliams led out the MotoGP team, which also featured 250cc stars Randy de Puniet, Chaz Davies and Dirk Heidolf as well as 125cc series leader Andrea Dovizioso and his title rivals Roberto Locatelli and Pablo Nieto.

For the German side few could match the energy and stamina of former 400m World Champion Thomas Schönlebe, although car racing driver Thomas Jäger, Olympic and World Bobsleigh Champion Wolfgang Hoppe and former GP riders Katja Poensgen and Max Neukirchner all showed touches of skill.

However, man of the match undoubtedly went to 125cc World Championship rookie Manuel Manna, a former professional player in the Italian league fourth division before turning his attentions to motorcycle racing.

In an open and entertaining game, Manna inspired his side to a 13-10 victory after scoring a hat-trick and helping set up goals for Checa, Hopkins, Nieto, Fabrizio Lai and Angel Rodriguez. The game raised over €20,000 for Riders for Health and will go towards their continuing programmes to provide transport for medical relief in rural communities of Africa.

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