Fundraising leg in Outback Air Race gets makeover

Departure at Coffs Harbour – Tim Alexander and Janet, John’s partner, with Marguerite, Tim’s partner, and John Martindale.

AS WINNERS of the Outback Air Race in 2018, Coffs pilots Tim Alexander and John Martindale from team ‘Show me the MOONEY!’, have been looking after a somewhat unusual prize.

The pair are tasked with returning the peculiar prize to play its part in this year’s competition, the Lottery Office Outback Air Race 2022, which this year aims to raise $600k for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

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It’s all about a golden hued mannequin’s leg bedecked in fancy garter and red toenail varnish which, in the Outback Air Races, has assisted the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) to the tune of $3.2m over the years.

This fun element of the fundraising is taken very seriously by the competing teams.

Julie Jardine, Sawtell pilot who competed in the 2018 race and is signed up to race again in 2022, explained to News Of The Area.

“The Air Race route is divided into several stages, or legs.

“The winners of each ‘leg’ of the race are awarded the Golden Leg until the end of the next leg of the race.

“They are charged with filling the Golden Leg up by fundraising in each local town, but they need their wits about them, as the losers all try to steal the Leg, resulting in heavy fines for the Golden Leg keepers to get the leggy limb back.”

Tim added, “The problem with winning a leg is that the winners have to carry the Leg around all day, and everybody wants to steal it, so one has to go to extraordinary lengths not to lose it.

“Our team won the first leg, but at dinner at a restaurant that evening it mysteriously disappeared.

“It cost our team a huge fine to get the Leg back a couple of days later, so we did not let it out of our sight again.”

“It goes places you wouldn’t believe, and other participants are always ready to pounce,” John told NOTA.

The Golden Leg has received a makeover during the past four years.

“Looking after the leg for the last four years has not been easy,” said John.

“Tim spent a lot of time repairing it after the last race as competition for it borders on misdirection and then theft,” he quipped.

“After the race the Leg was starting to look a little ragged, so as its custodians, we decided it needed some sprucing up.

“Thanks to the use of the facilities at the Coffs Harbour Mens Shed the leg was tarted up, the toenails painted, and after a long search, fishnet stockings and a garter fitted, and she was ready for business again,” said Tim.

“The leg is well recognised in outback communities and the locals always seem to fill it up with cash donations to the Royal Flying Doctor Service even in tough times of drought and then floods.

“You have to get out there to really appreciate the bond between the RFDS and the bush community.”

Tim and John will be handing over the lovely freshened-up Leg to the organisers of The Lottery Office Outback Air Race in Darwin at the 2022 launch event on 28 August.

Tim and John will be competing separately and against each other this year.

They are each flying their own Mooney aircraft and their wives will be their respective navigators, so it will make for some interesting competition.

Coffs Harbour has four team entries.

John and Janet Martindale – ‘Once in a Blue Mooney’; Tim and Marguerite Alexander – ‘Show me the MOONEY!’; Warren Millar, John Harris and Geoff Leaver – ‘Triple Whiskey on the Rocks’; Michael Basa and Julie Jardine – ‘Hot Termalis’.


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