Outback Air Race about to land in Coffs Harbour

Outback Air Race teams assembled before start of the 2022 race.

LANDING at Coffs Harbour Aero Club anytime between 11am and 1pm-ish on Saturday 10 September, the Lottery Outback Air Race competitors will complete their 3,900-plus kilometre two-week fundraising flight from Darwin to Coffs Harbour.

After some epic journeys across the continent, teams from all over Australia and a team from New Zealand assembled excitedly at Emkaytee Airfield, a short distance south of Darwin, on 29 August for the start of the 11th Outback Air Race.

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“Unfortunately defending champion, Coffs Harbour local John Martindale and his ‘Once In a Blue Mooney’ team didn’t make the start due to a mechanical failure of his aircraft from suspension in Mataranka, one heartbreaking stop short of the start near Darwin,” Tim Alexander, fellow Coffs Harbour contestant, from team ‘Show me the MOONEY!’, told News Of The Area.

John subsequently managed to join the race in Shute Harbour for leg five of the journey.

34 teams from all corners of Australia, including Tasmania, managed to start the first leg of the race from Emkaytee Airfield in Darwin to Cooinda in Kakadu National Park.

“Camaraderie and competition have both been intense,” said Tim.

“Coffs Harbour teams have been doing very well in the initial three legs.”

The ‘Show Me The Mooney’ team of Marguerite and Tim Alexander has managed two second place finishes in the first two legs, and the ‘Triple Whiskey on the Rocks’ team of Warren Millar, John Harris and Geoff Lever managed a win in leg three, recovering the fundraising ‘leg’, a hollow mannequin leg used for gathering donations for the cause along the way, for the Coffs teams.

“To date over $563,000 has been raised by the 2022 Outback Air Race for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS),” said Tim.

Julie Jardine, flying in team ‘Hot Termalis’ with her husband Michael Basa, told NOTA, “At the time of writing, we are in Shute Harbour, so half way through our trip to Coffs Harbour.

“We will be heading to Gladstone, Roma, Goondiwindi then landing in Coffs on 10 September.

“33 aircraft and 80-odd participants have had some fantastic experiences, landing on remote dirt runways, camping, fishing, site seeing, staying in great hotels and mixing with the locals.

“Everyone in the Outback has a story to tell of how the RFDS saved their lives, which is why we do this, as well as having loads of fun.

“We are all looking forward to landing in Coffs, shortly after lunch, so head to the Coffs Aero Club to watch us all come in, there will be water cannons sprays from the airport firies, and talk to the teams as they arrive,” said Julie.

Team members will be at the Coffs Harbour Golf Club on Saturday night and celebrating at the finale dinner at the Surf Club on Sunday night to announce the race winners and hand over the big cheque to the RFDS.

For information visit https://outbackairrace.com.au/.

By Andrea Ferrari

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