It started as an adventure, a desire to see what was really out there. After returning from the solo, unassisted 2011 Great Australian ride, I was unsure what the next step would be and I to let the dust settle. Thankfully through the power of the Internet I connected with other local and national motorcyclists who were also passionate about raising funds for charities and interested in forming a group ride from east to west. And so Team GAR (Great Australian Ride) was born.
With the help of media and TV, radio and newspapers across the country we brought awareness to Sids and Kids Queensland and The Great Australian Ride began to grow!
Drawing a large international audience and helping to showcase Australia as a premiere adventure riding destination. I was truly overwhelmed by the support and kind nature of all the team’s new members. We set about to form the networks, the website would handle donations and provide all necessary information to our riders and supporters. 100% of funds raised would go directly to Sids and Kids Queensland, who receive less than 5% government funding and rely on public donations. SIDS and Kids Queensland is dedicated to saving the lives of babies and children during pregnancy, birth, infancy and childhood and supporting bereaved families. And so with the power of duplication in mind I invited 12 riders to ride with me from Byron Bay (most eastern point) through The Simpson Desert to Alice Springs then 1129km across The Gibson Desert to Steep Point (most western point). Thinking that no one would be crazy enough to respond to such a grueling ride, I posted out the request. And they did! In no time at all we had our 12 riders (The Dirty Dozen) a medic and a well-equipped support vehicle. Then the donations started coming in and before the end of the GAR, we had raised a staggering $26,275 for Sids and Kids Queensland.
The growth continued into 2013 with 10 more riders banding together and with the power of numbers, we had surpassed the 2012 total before we had left Byron Bay and finished with a whopping $35,031….
2014 was a step up, securing our own Team GAR Nissan support vehicle. An amazing team of riders blitz our donation target and raised a massive $68,014.00.
9 riders made it to Steep Point!
2015 was a great bunch, 2 from Estonia, 1 from Austria, 2 from New Zealand and from the UK….this was undoubtable our most successful run to date, with zero injuries and 9 bikes to Steep Point. Tex and Bundy were our support crew, we saw our 1st GAR lady cross on a Suzuki DR650. We tackled the technical Walkers Crossing Track and then there was Stuart’s 1st 1000cc solo run across the difficult French Line....all while raising $40,100.50 for Sids!
Through all the great help and support this ride has now become an annual charity event.To date we have raised over $175,000 and with your help we are looking to top the $200,000 mark in 2016. Huge thanks goes out to all those who donated to date and we are overwhelmed by your generosity. Big thanks to our major sponsors Rebel FM, AVR Automotive, Metal Gear, Itchy Graphics, TeamMoto, Barkbusters, Cope Transport, McNamara Lawyers, Maxxis…among others. I am looking forward to the next Great Australian Ride - the people that we will meet and the friendships that will develop across Australia. It's sure to be an epic adventure!
Happy Travels, Stuart Ball