In 2019, the 660km Gibb River Road lived up to its dusty, corrugated reputation. Following a very dry “wet season”, the organisers said (and I quote), “It was certainly the toughest one yet; hottest, windiest, driest and bumpiest. The Gibb River Road reminded us of her venom with some of the most brutal sections of corrugation and thigh burning soft sands that we’ve seen for a decade. It was like The Gibb of old”.
The Pentecost River was the only crossing with water in it, the dust was suffocating, the sand debilitating and the corrugations mind numbing. Besides some light rain on the first night, and a willy willy which nearly knocked Gary off his bike, the weather was kind with warm sunny days and spectacular evening sunsets.
Team Autism West exceeded all expectations. While the Gibb is a challenge and not a race, put 6 guys in lycra together, and try to stop them. We placed in the top few teams each day, which gave us the all-important first pick of the camping sites, and provided us time each afternoon for team tactic discussions over a few (sometimes too many) beers. The team gelled together perfectly, each member finding their spot – Gary on chops and sausages, Hendo on G&T’s, Rick and Davo tents and ground sheets, Adam setting up the camp shower, and Jason on mozzie tents. See attached some photo highlights from the trip.
There were only a couple of minor mishaps. Hendo and Adam fell off their bikes – obviously out of complete exhaustion and not through lack of ability to navigate the sand. We had one flat car tire, which caused the cyclists some angst as they powered ahead with no idea why there was no support vehicle behind them. And the trusty trailer on its 3rd Gibb finally gave up breaking a spring on the final day, some 50m from the finish line! Any sooner it would have been tragic as it carried our bikes, camping supplies, and beer – we would not have been able to go on!
In total our team raised $91,405 for Autism West – which far surpassed our original target. Again a huge thank you to everyone who donated and specifically our “Diamond Sponsor” RJV and our “Gold and Silver Sponsors” Brown-Neaves Investment, Argonaut, Mak Water, the Bunning and Hovell families, the Carcione Foundation, Okeland Communities, Cooper Grace Ward, Botanix Pharmaceuticals, ACS Consulting, LWP, Robert Days, Sceales Lawyers, and others who preferred to remain anonymous.
Thanks again, regards, Adam Shephard, Tom Henderson, Riccardo Vittino, Gary Steinepreis, Jason Hick and Rod Davidson.