Air­lie last stop for Out­back Trekkers

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

A PA­RADE of colour­fully dec­o­rated yet caked-in-dirt rally cars flooded into Air­lie Beach on Satur­day af­ter­noon as teams in the The Out­back Car Trek pulled into their much-an­tic­i­pated last stop on a 3200km jour­ney.

The 85 vin­tage two-wheel drive cars and 27 sup­port ve­hi­cles trav­elled from Tam­worth to raise money for the Royal Fly­ing Doc­tor Ser­vice. The last leg was from Mt Coolon to Air­lie La­goon.

The rally takes a dif­fer­ent route each year and this was the first time it had been to Air­lie Beach.

Or­gan­iser Bill Pa­trick said the iconic Whit­sun­day des­ti­na­tion pro­vided good mo­ti­va­tion to fin­ish the event.

“We needed a place to feed 450 peo­ple but also some­where to look for­ward to get­ting to,” he said.

Mr Pa­trick has been run­ning the event for the past decade and has been participating since 1999.

“It gets in your blood, most of th­ese guys have done the event for over 10 years,” he said.

The event is a ma­jor fundraiser for the RFDS and this year raised almost $1.4 mil­lion. The high­est fundraiser, Team AV8’s David Hicks, con­trib­uted $160,000 to the cause.

“Ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics, most peo­ple do­nate more dur­ing this event than other peo­ple do dur­ing their en­tire lives,” Mr Pa­trick said.

PHOTO: JESSICA LAMB

BIG DOG: Team 9K9’s cars were dec­o­rated with brown fur and even a flap­ping dog's tongue.

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