Seventy-two teams on the Great Endeavour Rally are clocking up the kilometres and battling through lots of dust as they trek their way through the state’s drought-ravaged west and up to North Queensland.
On Saturday morning, many of the teams dressed in colourful costumes and in flamboyant rally cars were flagged off on the 3,000 kilometre trek, making their way through Yarraman, Bell and Augathella. The teams are making their way to tropical Airlie Beach tomorrow afternoon and back via Stanage Bay to the finish line in Rockhampton on July 25th.
Endeavour Foundation supported employee from Redcliffe, Ben Ketley, had been anticipating going on the outback adventure for the past few years, and his parents turned out to support him as he set off on the event.
“It’s so exciting, I couldn’t sleep the night before the flag off,” Ben said. “Mum and Dad are also really excited and my Aunt and Uncle rang me from Armidale to wish me good luck,” Ben said.
It has been a gruelling few days for the crew, driving through low visibility due to dust in some parts, car breakdowns and running over potholes.
“One car went down the edge of a ravine near Mount Mee and officials had to winch it back onto the road. Another car blew out its axle near Roma and the team had to jump into other cars to continue on their journey,” Rally Coordinator Paul Purcell said.
“The Army and Brisbane Motor Auctions mobile workshop have worked tirelessly to help rally teams out of tough spots and get them back on the road safely,” Paul said.
All teams are provided with prior advice on driving in various conditions and make safety modifications to their vehicles including installing roll bars.
An additional five army vehicles as well as a crew including a qualified paramedic, a technical director, a spares truck and mechanical support are on hand throughout the event to deal with any medical incidents.
Each team has packed extra warm clothes, while they camp out at remote areas in chilling temperatures.
“We’re having a great time so far, plenty of dust and this morning it was not so cold thankfully, and it has been a little bit more better than being minus 2 degrees the other morning,” Great Endeavour Rally driver Gavan Johnson said.
The event is aiming to raise enough money for fundraising goals for the rally, which include an edible community garden and wheelchair accessible vehicle at Airlie Beach Learning and Lifestyle hub and for supply communication and education tools such as iPads, software and accessories for people that Endeavour Foundation supports in Ipswich, the Gold Coast and Brisbane.
So far, the rally has raised more than $403, 600, and if it reaches its fundraising target, more than 300 people with a disability will directly benefit through greater choice, control, independence and inclusion.
You can donate to a team, individual crew member or to the rally, through this website https://great.endeavour.com.au/fundraising/donate-to-a-team.
Note to media, interviews, photographs and vision are available.
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Endeavour Foundation is an independent not-for-profit organisation providing support to more than 3,300 people with a disability throughout Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Our services include accommodation, employment, education, training, vocational and lifestyle opportunities.
Rally Fast Facts:
- In the 2015 Qld Great Endeavour Rally there will be 168 participants in 72 cars.
- Total fundraising total, to date, is $403,614.55.
- Rally teams will have to replace an average of one tyre per car during the rally, with shock absorbers being the other major casualty.
- The support crew is made up of more than 20 vehicles carrying officials (checkpoints, timings, safety), a qualified Paramedic, technical director, a spares truck, mechanical support, and our own photographer and WIN TV crew.
An additional five army vehicles (and staff) from the 7th Combat Support Battalion will provide mechanical support and vehicle recovery/transport support, for the second year running.