WE’RE all guilty of throwing a few pieces of gold and silver shrapnel into a collection box and calling it our ‘charity work’ but local legend John Gorman has gone to the far corners of this country to do his bit to help others.
Each year for the past 25 years John has taken part in what could only be described as a reincarnation of the Hanna-Barbera Whacky Races, the Royal Flying Doctor Service Outback Car Trek.
Starting in some location in outback Australia and ending a week later in another part of the dusty, open country, the Outback Car Trek each year raises money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, but John cheekily admits the reason he first became interested in the event wasn’t exactly the charity work.
“Adventure was the real reason I got into all this,” John said.
“Me and a few mates just wanted to do one and we tried to get in with the Variety Club, but that was booked out, so we found the Royal Flying Doctor Service Outback Car Trek and thought we’d give it a go,” he said.
Talking through the rules and regulations of the epic bush bash, John said the start the of the trip is different each year, meaning there is a new adventure to be had on every trek.
“Your entrance fee is a donation and you need to fundraise that, then the trek starts in the bush. You might start at Alice Springs and finish at Broome or somewhere like that. It is different each year. It is all dirt road in the outback and all the cars have to be pre 1970s,” he said.
Out of all the treks he’s been on one of the most memorable was the drive from Narrabri in north-eastern New South Wales to Port Douglas in tropical north Queensland, a return trip of around 7000 kms.
“We started the trip in Narrabri and we ended in Port Douglas, all up it was about seven days but after it I drove all the way back home again,” he said enthusiastically.
For the trip he raised over $60,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and he admits he’s getting pretty good at fundraising.
“We’ve got a pretty good team and we’re getting pretty good at raising money. We raised about 60 grand last year which was our best year so far. We had a pretty good year last year, we managed to get a few good sponsors on board,” he said.
John’s car is also a talking point with his career as an auto upholsterer inspiring him to do something pretty special to his car, which is a little famous around Penrith.
“I covered the car in fur so it can look like the Dumb and Dumber dog car,” he said with a grin.
“If I had a dollar for every time I’ve had people ask to have a photo with the car I’d be a pretty rich man,” he joked.
Using the experiences he has gained on the many treks, John and some mates have even launched their very own charity bush bash, but with old school postie bikes instead of classic cars, called the Late Mail Postie Bike Ride.
“I’ve got my own little charity ride organised, one that we set up on postie bikes. We take some blokes out from Mudgee and head into the bush up north. All up we cover around 1,500 kilometres in about a week,” he proudly. “We get some old postie bikes and we raise money for Wings4Kids, which is a little charity that flies sick kids from the bush to the hospital in the city.”
He admits the experiences he’s had have been pretty unique and he has had a very wide look at the dry and dusty country we all live in.
“I’ve been pretty spoiled to have been able to go on a few of them now. It is a great experience to get behind the wheel and see the country go by,” he said. “There is something special out there. The people are ‘no BS fair dinkum’ kind of people.”
If you’d like to donate to The Late Mail Postie Bike Ride you can search the Late Mail Postie Bike Ride on everydayhero.com/au/.