Race for Change: Hawkins still in the lead

Fast moving (for his age) Steve has been leading by example, remaining involved with the Race for Change charity event since 2013 – and it doesn’t look like he’ll stop anytime soon.

Steve Hawkins is a keen cyclist. He’s also a keen swimmer and runner, but cycling is a joy for him, especially when he does it in a team environment with his work colleagues.

Steve has an MBA from Stanford, California and has worked across a number of tier-one investment and finance firms including KPMG and UBS for the past fourteen years – until he joined The Benevolent Society as the GM of Business Development. Following his tenure at the Benevolent Society, he joined independent investment bank Fort Street along with a number of former UBS colleagues.

Married with two children, Steve knows what it means to be busy. He set up his own private foundation ten years ago which donates funds to a variety of charities, he’s a member of the Business Alliance to end homelessness, sits as Chairman of the Stanford Australia Foundation and his company Fort Street is involved with a number of charitable organisations. He’s got plenty on his plate.

Roots of the Race

Steve and some friends first became involved in Race for Change in 2013 while he was working at The Benevolent Society, where the event was conceived. The idea was to create an event to suit the full spectrum of cyclists. Designed to be a raced, fast or less fast, but also focused on the social elements that surround the lead-up and event day.

Steve Rides for Team Jamaica Blue while his other colleagues at Fort Street usually enter two additional squads, all raising money for The Benevolent Society’s education-based services.

“We wanted to stay involved with a charity and at Fort Street, young people and education are key to our charitable giving. We wanted to help kids in disadvantage circumstances and especially in Western Sydney, where the race takes place.”

Why is the team called Jamaica Blue?

“One of my former colleagues from UBS is the Executive Chairman of the company that owns Jamaica Blue, the coffee company. So we decided that was a great name – even a great fuel! – for a bike team. Plus he gave us some nice branded race gear.”

Why get involved in Race for Change?

“Well, it’s an opportunity to give money to a good cause and do something I like doing – riding bikes. It’s also a great social experience. The race takes place in a small area which gives you the opportunity to mingle and chat with other riders because not everyone is riding at the same time. It’s great to watch from the sidelines and see how the other racers are doing. Plus it’s a one day event, as compared to many other racing events which are three days or more. As a team rider, you get access to all the facilities. There’s plenty to eat, drink or even lay down for a massage. The race itself challenges your abilities against other racers.”

Race for Change is a team relay race with each team comprising up to five riders who compete over a distance of 200 kilometres. Each team member could for example, ride 40 kilometres either in one go or split into laps. The majority of teams develop their own strategy for completing the distance. Everyone rides and the team with the fastest time wins. Each team is also responsible for achieving their fundraising target of $5,000.

“The fun thing about it,” says Steve, “is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a great racer or not. I’m pretty sure our team, Jamaica Blue, won’t win. We’re too old! We ride as fast as we can but there are other riders who are faster. We have fun. It’s a race for all abilities and for a good cause.”

Help make a change

Exclusive to Cyclist, use team promotional code R4C2CH before March 10 and you’ll receive $150 off your registration.

Head to Race for Change for further details around how your donations can help make a difference in the community and to learn more about this fast-paced event.