Lottery Outback Air Race raises $750k for Royal Flying Doctors Service

Tim and Marguerite Alexander from team Show me the MOONEY! from Coffs Harbour.

A RECORD breaking $750,000 was raised for the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS) through a myriad of money-making shenanigans and heartfelt donations which made this year’s Lottery Outback Air Race competitors satisfied and proud of their combined efforts.

The 34 teams coming from all over Australia and one team from New Zealand, landed at Coffs Harbour Aerodrome on Saturday 10 September, on their final stop of the 3,900-plus kilometre two-week fundraising flight from Darwin to Coffs Harbour.

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They clambered out of the cockpits of their stalwart bi-planes with beaming smiles, hearty laughs and tons of tales to tell about their six-leg journey from Darwin to Coffs over the past two weeks.

While winning an individual leg is “a boost to your ego” and the fundraising is a huge achievement, Tim Alexander from Coffs team Show me the MOONEY! told News Of The Area its the camaraderie amongst the 84 competitors that makes the Outback Air Race so special.

“We’ve met so many people from all walks of life in this marvellous group of like-minded folk, quite competitive and exciting.

“In the outback there’s all the scenery and lovely little towns and it’s great to support them – they’ve all been struggling though Covid, droughts, fires and floods – to go to these little communities is amazing.

“Going to Goondiwindi, where one of the teams comes from, was amazing.

“The people there donated so much money; our Goondiwindi team won first place in fundraising, bringing in $103,000, which is absolutely phenomenal.

“In these outback stations the people rely on the RFDS for all their medical services; their clinics, their ambulance service, their mental health, their dentistry, that all comes via the Flying Doctors.

“For tourists and the Grey Nomads travelling outback too, if they have a breakdown, the Royal Flying Doctors will rescue them.”

The Coffs teams did well with Tim and Marguerite from team Show me the MOONEY! winning third place.

In sixth-place were Warren Millar, John Harris and Geoff Leaver of Team Triple Whisky on the Rocks, and in tenth place were Michael Basa and Julie Jardine from the Hot Termalis team.

Coffs team Once in a Blue Mooney, John and Janet Martindale, won the prize for overcoming the greatest hardship after their aircraft broke down just before reaching Darwin, unfortunately missing the first four stages of the air race.

Coffs pilot Julie Jardine told NOTA, “We had so much fun, I’m really quite sad it’s all over, but I’m looking forward to the next air race in three years.

“There are some absolutely beautiful areas that we flew to in the outback where people told us about times when they were saved by the RFDS.

“Every outback town we went to, as soon as they knew we were raising money for the RFDS, they just threw money at us with gratitude for what the RFDS does for people living outback.

“It’s good to know that we’re fundraising for such a good cause.

“A few planes had some issues, and everyone banded together and spread their luggage out and squeezed them into other places so they could continue the race.”

Tim Alexander praised the level of competition in this year’s race, extending praise to organisers.

“The competitive bar for this race was raised considerably by the winning team, Wacky Warbos, Ian and Connie Warburton from ACT, who deservedly earned their win,” Tim said.

“Congratulations to Stuart Payne and his organising committee, who again staged a very successful, highly complex event.

“Coffs Harbour can also be proud of the efforts of the home teams, both in their performance on the Air Race, but also for their participation in the organising of the event.”


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