In far from ideal weather conditions, more than 40 cyclists including Robbie McEwen and Superbike champion Troy Bayliss jumped in the saddle to take part in the CareFlight Base to Base Cycle Challenge.
The well-known sporting personalities left CareFlight’s Toowoomba Hangar at 5:30am for the ten hour trek, and arrived at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast to a welcoming crowd of family, friends and supporters at 3:30pm.
Earlier in the morning, the Toowoomba Range proved interesting for the tandem entry of Bryce Lindores and Troy Bayliss after a tyre explosion saw them crash into bushland.
Both riders quickly rejoined the pack and finished the race in great spirits.
Former CareFlight patient, Paul McRobert, amazed the elite competitors by completing a total 170km of the 250km journey, a mere 11 months after he was hit by a truck while cycling.
“I really pushed myself and I’m proud I could go as far as I did,” he said.
Another former CareFlight patient, Brenton Jones, who was airlifted after an accident in the Tour of Toowoomba two years ago, said the ride was a huge success for a worthy cause.
More than $80,000 was raised from the invite-only cycling event which makes the CareFlight Base to Base Cycle Challenge one of the charity’s biggest annual fundraisers.
Event Organiser Fiona MacAnally said she was overwhelmed with both the support of the community and the fundraising efforts of the dedicated cyclists.
“We went from 10 participants last year to 40 this year and more than doubled the amount of funds raised,” she said.
“To say we are proud of all of them is an understatement. We certainly look forward to hosting the event again in 2014,” she said.
The family fun afternoon at Metricon Stadium was a fitting end to what was an incredible ride.
With what little energy they had to spare, the cyclists enjoyed some Gold Coast Suns’ and iSelect Gold Coast Titans’ activities with their proud families to cap off the huge, but successful, day.