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It was a fitting end to the charity motoring event, which raised over $130,000 for people with a disability on its 3,500km journey from western Sydney to Bathurst via Corner Country.
Since 1988, the Great Endeavour has travelled all over Australia and has raised more than
$5.5 million for Endeavour Foundation – a not-for-profit organisation supporting people with a disability in New South Wales and Queensland.
This particular outback adventure was a historic occasion for the Great Endeavour as it celebrated its New South Wales debut. But that’s not the only reason why the NSW rally will go down in the history books; it will also be remembered as one of the more challenging rallies.
Teams from Queensland and New South Wales battled fierce heat and rugged terrain on the outback expedition, which kicked off in Mount Druitt on 19 October and took in Coolabah, Hungerford, Tibooburra, Cameron Corner, Packsaddle, White Cliffs, Tilpa and Condobolin. Both cars and participants alike bore the brunt of the extreme heat as temperatures soared to over
40°C in the early stages of the event.
Road Boss Jamie Lawson and his team kept a watchful eye on bushfire warnings – particularly in the Blue Mountains – and responded quickly as temperatures continued to rise.
“We are geared to make changes at short notice, so steering the rally around trouble wasn't so difficult,” he said. “What was difficult and made these challenges significantly different was the need for pin-point accuracy, because with such volatile and large fires and extreme heat, a wrong decision could have potentially put people’s lives at risk.
“While the Great Endeavour was never meant to be easy and is a challenge, we do not take unnecessary risks and safety is always our number one priority,” he said.
Despite the challenges, the Great Endeavour spirit prevailed and plucky rally participants succeeded in their mission to raise dust, dollars and disability awareness. With the final rally auction yet to take place (tonight), more than $130,000 has already been raised towards the expansion of Endeavour Foundation’s business service in Seven Hills, Sydney, which provides supported employment and training opportunities for more than 100 people with a disability.
The highest fundraisers were Tim Jasch in Car 73 ($13,655), Greg Jasch in Car 182 ($13,151.50) and Euie Harrison in Car 43 ($10,789.55).
Events Coordinator Joel Stephens said the overall consensus was that the journey had been a tough but immensely rewarding one.
“Everyone was really excited about experiencing outback New South Wales on the Great Endeavour – and it certainly didn’t disappoint,” he said.
“The conditions were tough for the first few days, but the Great Endeavour spirit prevailed in the end and helped get everyone across the finish line.
“It’s such a great way to spend a week; exploring outback New South Wales with 110 like- minded people, knowing that every dollar you raise is going to support people with a disability, and every dollar you spend is helping the rural communities we visit,” Mr Stephens said.
“Not only did we manage to raise dust, dollars and disability awareness, we also supported a number of small remote communities in what are very trying times.”
“With the support of United Auctions Australia we have managed to make the inaugural NSW Great Endeavour a huge success – and we can’t wait to come back next year!” said Mr Stephens.
From whip cracking to fancy dress competitions, rally teams have seen it all over the past week, but everyone agreed that visiting Cameron Corner was a standout moment.
“For me the highlights were camping on the Darling River near Tilpa and running around the corner post at Cameron Corner, touching down in Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia in under 3 seconds,” said Mr Stephens.
The inaugural NSW Great Endeavour Rally was sponsored by United Auctions Australia, and National Operations Manager Paul Kilmurray and Sales Manager & Auctioneer Paul Gamer came along for the full eight-day experience.
Six supported employees from Endeavour Foundation’s Sydney business services – in Castle Hill, Seven Hills and Mt Druitt – were also on board as rally teams took on dust devils, creek crossings, diversions and more.