On Sunday, 5 June almost one hundred pre-1978 cars will leave Narrabri in northern New South Wales bound for Port Douglas in Far North Queensland. This annual event is known as the Outback Car Trek, one of Australia's most successful charity motoring events. Since it's inception in 1990 the Trek has travelled almost 100,000 kilometres and raised over $23 million for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). It raised over $1.3 million last year, an amount it hopes to match or even better this year.
Grant Denyer, racing car champion and host of Channel 10's Family Feud and The Great Australian Spelling Bee, will provide some star power when he kicks-off this year's Trek.
The popular TV presenter will host the 18th annual "Cut-a-Rama" event, now regarded as the traditional "ice-breaker" for every Trek. Organised by long-time RFDS fundraisers, Just Cuts, Cut-a-Rama sees Just Cuts stylists create weird and wonderful hairstyles for unsuspecting Trekkers, in return for a donation.
"I've been involved with Just Cuts since 1999, the year they started supporting both the RFDS and my fledgling racing car career. I became a brand ambassador for them this year," said Grant.
"Cut-a-Rama sounds like too much crazy fun and I'm expecting a big turn-out on the Saturday night at the Crossroads Hotel in Narrabri. I'm going to pit State against State and mate against mate, in support of a great cause - the Royal Flying Doctor Service."
The RFDS is one of the world's most comprehensive aeromedical organisations. It takes emergency and essential primary healthcare services to the people of remote, rural and regional Australia. Last year, nationally, the Flying Doctor helped over 292,000 people across Australia – that's an average of one every two minutes.
"The RFDS is a not-for-profit organisation. While partially supported by the Commonwealth and State governments, we rely heavily on fundraising and donations from the community. These help us to deliver and expand our services, purchase and medically-equip aircraft and upgrade our facilities and infrastructure," said Greg Sam, Chief Executive Officer of the RFDS' South Eastern Section.
"We'd like to thank all the Trekkers for their stalwart support over the past 26 years and wish them all the best for the 27th Outback Car Trek. Long may they continue."
For event organiser, Bill Patrick, the Trek is the culmination of 18 months' scouting and planning. This year's 3,500 kilometres route heads north from Narrabri over the Queensland border passing through Cunnamulla, Windorah, Winton, Cloncurry, Karumba Point and Musgrave en route to Port Douglas.
"While the Trek is all about raising money for the RFDS, it also supports small towns and their businesses. They are the real spirit and backbone of this country," said Bill.
"The arrival of some 300 hungry and thirsty 'Trekkers' injects badly-needed cash into the local economy on top of the community fundraising they do along the way. It is estimated that the Trek leaves some $760,000 in the places it visits along the way."
"Only when you travel through the Outback do you really get a sense of what a vital service the RFDS is."
What: Start of the 27th Outback Car Trek Who: Bill Patrick, event organiser
When: 8am Sunday, 5 June 2016
Where: Narrabri Golf Club, Gibbons St, Narrabri NSW 2390
Donate to the Outback car Trek on Everyday Hero at https://give.everydayhero.com/au/rfds- outback-car-trek
More information and the full Outback Car Trek route is available on http://www.outbackcartrek.com.au/component/content...
Photos courtesy of Quest Northside Chronicle.