THE GOLD Coast is home to a new world record.
Rod Wade, 71, and fellow Queenslander Austen Ritchie, 38, have set a new World Record for driving a pre-war car across Australia and back in just 101 hours, 52 minutes and 32 seconds.
The pair set off from Surfers Paradise at 10am on Tuesday (June 3) in a 1930 Ford Model A for a 9,000km trek across the Nullarbor and back to raise money for Kidney Health Australia.
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Armed with a bottle of water from the South Pacific Ocean and a bucket of Gold Coast sand, they 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.
Then they got straight back on the road, arriving back at Surfers Paradise on Saturday 7th June at around 4.20pm.
“This has been the most amazing challenge with the best crew pulling together to get us across the finish line,” Rod said.
“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 a foot,” the adventurer added.
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.