SURFERS PARADISE, QUEENSLAND, TO FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA… AND BACK AGAIN!
Vintage Adventurer Rod Wade set a new world record for for driving a pre-war car across Australia – and back again – in just 101 hours, 52 minutes and 32 seconds in a fundraising challenge for Kidney Health Australia.
The Ocean to Ocean Australia Challenge saw Queenslanders Rod, aged 71 and co-driver Austen Ritchie, aged 37, depart Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, on Tuesday 3rd June, armed with a bottle filled with water from the South Pacific Ocean, in a 1930 Ford Model A, driving non-stop to Fremantle, Western Australia.
They were waved off by City of the Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tait and Deputy Mayor Donna Gates, as well as members of the Surfers Paradise Alliance.
The driving duo travelled 4,500km through Queensland, New South Wales, Southern Australia and across the Nullarbor Plains into Western Australia.
They arrived at Bathers Beach, Fremantle, on Thursday 5th June, slightly later than planned after two breakdowns on the Nullarbor in the middle of the night. Emergency repairs were made by the roadside as trucks and road trains motored past.
On arrival at Fremantle, Rod and Austen emptied the water into the Indian Ocean and tipped the bucket of sand onto the beach before refilling the vessels with the same from the Coral Coast. They were welcomed by Fremantle Deputy Mayor Josh Wilson.
Then they got straight back on the road, arriving back at Surfers Paradise on Saturday 7th June at around 4.20pm, making the total distance around 9,000 kilometres.
The return journey was not without it’s dramas either as the support vehicle was disabled when it was hit by a kangaroo. The Model A was also hit but was not damaged in the altercation.
Rod said: “This has been the most amazing challenge with the best crew pulling together to get us across the finish line. The support out on the road from service station staff, border patrols, local police and motorists has been fantastic. It may be too early to say ‘next time’ but plans are already afoot.”
This is not motoring enthusiast Rod’s first driving challenge as he set a world record in November 2013 for driving 4,734km from Staten Island, New York, to Venice Beach, California, in just over 50 hours.
The inspiration behind the ‘Ocean to Ocean Challenge Australia’ was to raise money to create a fleet of ‘Kidney Kampers’ for Kidney Health Australia.
These are campervans fitted with dialysis machines so those suffering from kidney disease can still have the freedom to travel away from the hospital for weekends away and short holidays.
With kidney disease affecting Rod’s wife and daughter, the Wade family has raised thousands for Kidney Health Australia, and funded the prototype ‘Kidney Kamper’ that made the crossing with the Model A. Every day in Australia, 56 people die from kidney-related disease, whilst 1.7 million Australians are unaware that they have indicators of kidney disease – such as reduced kidney function.
They departed from the Surfers Paradise sign, right on the Esplanade, at 10am on Tuesday 3rd June. Rod and co-driver Austen were at the wheel of the Tudor Rose, a 1930 Ford Model A that was used on the Ocean 2 Ocean USA challenge in Oct/Nov 2013.
From Surfers Paradise, we headed to – Warwick – Goondiwindi – Moree – Narrabi – Gilgandra – Nyngan – Cobar – Wilcannia – Broken Hill – Port Augusta – Ceduna – Eucla – Norseman – Coolgardie – Southern Cross – Fremantle.
We should have arrived at the beach at Fremantle, entering via Mews Road, at 8am Western Australia time, having driven 4,440 kilometres. But we were delayed due to mechanical breakdowns, so we had just 20mins to change the support crews and we were off again!
Fremantle – Southern Cross – Coolgardie – Norseman – Eucla – Ceduna – Port Augusta – Broken Hill – Wilcannia – Cobar – Nyngan – Gilgandra – Narrabri – Moree – Gooniwindi – Warwick – Surfers Paradise.
We arrived back at Surfers Paradise at the Gold Coast to a huge reception as family and friends, partners and supporters joined us to celebrate us completing the challenge and setting a new World Record!
The support crew was split between two vehicles – the mechanics in a Mercedes Vito van while the media crew travelled in the prototype of the Kidney Kamper van, which is another Mercedes van that has been converted to a Kamper. Both vehicles made both journeys while the support teams swapped over at Fremantle – all except for cameraman Peter Turner and Media & Ops Manager Andrea Seed, who also drove the support vehicle in the Ocean 2 Ocean USA.