Pilgrim CMC Background Future Events Peregrine Rally Riders on the Storm Contact Us Prayer Letter Pilgrim CMC Background Future Events Peregrine Rally Riders on the Storm Contact Us Prayer Letter

Background The Pilgrim CMC has been blessed with the talents and generosity of its membership, which has grown steadily over the years. Unity, integrity, humility and encouragement are what each member seeks to practice as they represent Christ. Pilgrim traditions have evolved as members from other Christian clubs and associations came to share their journey.  We are very fortunate to have had the experience of members who have been with Christ's Crusaders, Crusaders for Christ, Disciples, Exodus, Genesis, God's Squad, Longriders, One Way, Soldiers of the Cross and Southern Sons Christian Motorcycle Clubs, as well as CMA Australia.

The Pilgrims CMC began in January 1987 after a meeting in Melbourne of three Christian motorcyclists, Scott Milan, John Steer and Chris McAleer. Their desire was to create a new model for a club of Christian motorcyclists that allowed for members who were widely dispersed. One of the aims being to vary meetings around country centres such as Maryborough and Shepparton, as well as various suburbs across Melbourne. We also met regularly at motorcycle events such as Toy Runs, GPs at Phillip Island, Touring Rallies and outlaw club-houses. It was a diverse ministry which attracted a committed group of Christian motorcyclists from across Victoria. Members had been organising motorcycle rallies since 1980, & Pilgrim involvement began with the Big Desert in 1987 and the Riders on the Storm in 1988. We strongly supported the founding of CMA Victoria in 1988, helped organise regular Bikers Church events from 1989 and the Pub Church with the Rev John Hannaford from 1991.

Due to the silk-screening talents of Mal Salmon, a tradition was begun with the Christmas Poster of 1987, Tee-shirts to celebrate the first Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in 1988 & Bikers' Church, along with the rally posters for Riders on the Storm in May 1989 & Big Desert in October 1989. During those first five years, many close and lasting friendships were made with members of other clubs; Christian, secular and outlaw. However, the tendency to see outside our own ministry resulted in a decision to merge with the God's Squad CMC; which was still in a re-building stage after a split that resulted in the creation of the Longriders CMC in 1989. The merger proved to be less than was hoped for by some Pilgrims with several choosing not to join and those who did soon foregoing their unique identity as Pilgrims. It was extremely positive for the God's Squad CMC, which was rejuvenated by the influx of mature and gifted Christians who brought a vibrant mix of new ideas and experiences with them. The GSCMC has continued to flourish in Australia and internationally, with a Pilgrim Chapter subsequently being founded in Ireland.

In January 2009, three Christian motorcyclists were motivated to restart the Pilgrims CMC with the same traditions but in a new form: as Pilgrim CMC. Ken Bechaz, Joe Tettmann and Chris McAleer did the preliminary work. Mal Doswell, Peter van der Heiden, Linton Eckert, Fred Bertacco, Tony Daniels, John Schoolderman, John Hammersmith and Richard Harvey also became founding Pilgrims. John McIntyre, the Anglican Bishop of Gippsland agreed to be our founding Patron and Oversight. John Schoolderman passed away from pneumonia in November and became our first member to ride on. The tradition of our monthly Prayer List and our planning for the resurrection of the Big Desert Rally in October 2010 were well underway by the end of 2009.

The 2010 Big Desert Rally was held on the 2nd to 4th of October at Broken Bucket Reserve, about 50kms north west of Yanac, Victoria, with $400 being presented to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and a friendly weekend being had by all who attended. During the year, Perry Campbell, Glenn Prentice and Lyn Schoolderman became members of the Pilgrim CMC. The 2011 Big Desert Rally was our last and a celebration of the event's 30th anniversary on the 30th September to 2nd October. Commenced planning of the Peregrine Rally at Jabuk, SA for August 2012 in co-operation with CMA SA. Derek Sayer, Ashley Schmidt, Dave Warren, Rob Warren, Wayne Shepherd, Gunther Paul, Carolynne Coutts-Smith, Stephen Coutts-Smith, Ian Marshall, Gavin Blakelock, Iain Milner & Naomi Milner became members, bringing the national membership of the Pilgrim CMC to 26.     

In 2012 the Peregrine Rally was held at the Jabuk Reserve and many agreed that it was one of the friendliest events that had ever been hosted.  The CMA and Pilgrim members worked seamlessly to provide cordon-bleu catering, an entertaining gymkhana and warmth over the cold nights via lots of red gum sleepers and mallee-roots! Stephen Paech was welcomed into Pilgrim membership on his 50th birthday, Wolfe Stiggers joined at the Peregrine Rally, Chris Sellick at the Southern Sons CMC organised Bikers Church, Neville Weeks received his membership in Wangaratta & David Oldman accepted membership at the Adelaide Toy Run. Gunther Paul made a move to Brisbane for work and became our northernmost Pilgrim. Fred Bertacco had a tragic accident on his Ducati 996 and passed away from his internal injuries in August, becoming our second member to ride on. 30 tees were printed to celebrate the 30 year journey since the first Christian Motorcyclists' Church gatherings, known as Bikers Church, and to remember the year the "Jesus Christ: Friend of the Outcast" ministry badge was first made in 1982. The national membership of Pilgrim CMC had reached 30.  

In 2013, the Southern Sons CMC voted to amalgamate with Pilgrim CMC, and on Anzac Day they were warmly welcomed into membership as the Southern Sons Chapter, in commemoration of their previous ministry identity; the new Pilgrims being Adrian Austin, Andrew Fooks, Mark Fry, Alan Heron, Mal Phillips, Roger Richards, Warrick Richards, Dave Russell, James Taylor, Max Wohlgehagen and Norm Young. On the June long-weekend in Mildura, Kaye & Noel Underwood and Jamie Trezise became members while attending the Wintersun Run. Steve Bennett and Peter Joy of Townsville, Qld. were welcomed into membership in October, while Jason Herrmann of Parafield Gardens, became a member in December.

In March 2014, James Taylor organised the inaugural Anti-Domestic Violence Ride on the Mornington Peninsula, in memory of 11 year old Luke Batty, which was supported by the local newspaper, commercial news networks and over 70 motorcyclists, with a very positive response from everyone who was there, including Luke's mother Rosie. During April, Leon Waldhuter, Matt Morton and an original member of the Pilgrims CMC, Scott Milan, became members. The first Midway Meetings were held at Nhill, Victoria and Rockhampton, Queensland, over the Anzac Day long-weekend, with many activities, great fellowship, a UCA Service and a wedding at Nhill; with Barry Pritchard being warmly welcomed into membership at Rockhampton. Tragically, Bishop John McIntyre developed a serious infection and passed away suddenly on 6th June 2014. His wife Jan, his three children and the Gippsland Diocese were greatly comforted by the thousands who attended the three memorial services. Steve and Joy Riley of Berri became members in July and Gary Brand of Adelaide became a member in August. The 2014 Peregrine Rally was another warm-hearted weekend with almost a hundred attendees. In September, Derek Sayer had a serious accident in the Basket Range and became our fourth member 'now riding with the saints'. Gary Schutz of Mt Gambier joined in September. Bikers Church services in association with CMA were held at events in Mildura, Jabuk and Eden Valley throughout 2014. National membership had grown to 61.

January 2015 marked 28 years of Pilgrims ministry and 6 full years since our reformation as Pilgrim CMC. It was encouraging to reflect on what God had done. Pilgrim James Taylor organised the second Luke Batty Memorial Ride with over 500 motorcyclists attending. Rosie Batty, the Australian of the Year, gave the main address at the event which will be organised by the Dandenong HOG from 2016 onwards, due to the expected increases in attendance.  Lyn Schoolderman and Adrian Austin gave inspiring contributions to sessions at the triennial Combined Christian Motorcycle Clubs & Associations Conference in Brisbane. Don Manser, Ebi & Cathy Lux of Adelaide accepted membership and the 2015 Peregrine Rally was well attended with Bikers Church on Saturday night, great fellowship, 117 present from as far away as NSW with 22 Pilgrims from SA & Victoria. The Sandgroper Ride 2015 was small in number but warm in fellowship, with no riders nor bikes injured. Occasional monthly rides commenced in Melbourne on the third Saturday of the month.

January 2016 saw CMA Victoria and Pilgrim CMC begin a co-operative journey to restart the Riders on the Storm Rally in March 2017. The first Bikers Breakfast was held on 5th March at St John's, Nar Nar Goon with 40+ attendance, great food and good representation from a number of clubs and associations. The weekend of 11th-14th March saw 30 CMA & Pilgrims descend on Nhill for the biennial Midway Meeting. Great hospitality from Lyn Schoolderman and a memorable Bikers Church was held beside Nhill Lake. At the CMA National Run at Victor Harbor, SA, Penny Van Houts, Andrea Ramsay and Greg Grist were warmly welcomed into Pilgrim membership. National membership had increased to 67.

The Riders on the Storm Rally began in 1988 but was run by God’s Squad CMC for many years since 1992, and after some years of rest was successfully kickstarted back into life at the Rubicon River in 2017, in cooperation with CMA Vic. Despite the increased popularity of the Rubicon camp site with the 4WD fraternity, 85 attendees managed to enjoy the weekend, with bbq meals provided by AFJCMM, over the 3-5 March weekend. Several Pilgrims along with CMA SA members made the commendably long pilgrimage from Adelaide. Proceeds were donated to Bikes for Pastors and Support for ADF Personnel. The 2017 Peregrine Rally, was held once again at Jabuk, SA, in partnership with CMA SA. Another jovial weekend of mateship, tall tales and wonderful SA hospitality was had by all! The retiring Qld Coordinator Norm Young took his Road King outfit from Ayr, Qld, to Frankston Victoria, via NT, WA snd SA. Adrian Austin accepted the invitation to become the next Qld Coordinator. Damian Martin of Qld accepted membership in September.