A few weeks ago, competitors, support crew and officials gathered at Purni Bore, South Australia, on the western edge of the Simpson Desert for the 28th annual Simpson Desert Bike Challenge. (The event is organised by the voluntary Committee of Desert Challenge Inc. and has raised over $300,000 for various charities.)
At 6am on Tuesday 30th September riders surged off from Purnie Bore into the heart of the Simpson Desert. By the end of stage 1(lunchtime), they knew they would need to dig deep to achieve the goals they had set themselves. When the riders and crews arrived at Birdsville 5 days later they knew have experienced something of major importance in their lives - a huge achievement, great cameraderie and a new found appreciation of this amazing environment.
This is a 5 day event covering approximately 590km (the route varies slightly most years depending on the weather and road closures etc). Each race day has two stages - 80km morning / 50km afternoon stage. The final stage on day 5 ends outside a classic Aussie icon - the Birdsville Hotel in the tiny outback town of Birdsville in Queensland.
The course traverses some 700 sand dunes, salt lakes, vast cattle stations and gibber plains. Riders, support crews and officials will experience all the diversity of this rugged and beautiful desert. And they'll experience all the diversity of human nature as they travelled east from sunrise to sunset, competing with each other, supporting each other and enjoying the views along the way! Congratulations to all the riders, to the 2014 winner Bruce Wood and other 8 riders who achieved 100%. And thankyou to all the crews and officials who make this event possible and contribute so generously to the the RFDS along the way.