Crusin' in the Endeavour Rally with pure style
FACING some serious bush bashing, Gayle and Nigel Pattinson figured there was no reason to leave the creature comforts at home.
For starters, Gayle needed her hair dryer and straightener. Not to mention the coffee machine.
Their fully-kitted 1986 60 Series Toyota LandCruiser has been overhauled in preparation for this year's Great Endeavour Rally.
Getting the green flag at the Gold Coast 500 start line on Friday, "the Southern Safari” will cover more than 3200km of outback Queensland and New South Wales. Stops include Lightning Ridge, Burren Junction, Taylors Arm Hotel and Western Plains Zoo, before finishing at Yamba on June 23.
The Pattinsons are well prepared for the trek with their Canetoad Cruiser.
Buying the off-roader last year from Newcastle, Nigel has completed many the modifications himself to get it rally-ready.
Running a genuine Toyota 12HT turbo diesel powertrain, it also has a GPS-driven trip meter, and full Tough Dog air suspension. Courtesy of an in-built compressor, it can be loaded up to 50-pound or down to 10 - depending on the conditions.
"You are working these motors pretty hard so we have put in more oil cooling and aluminium radiators which gives us a lot better cooling,” Nigel said.
"Traditionally it had side rear windows, we have put in the emu wings which makes it a lot more accessible from the back.”
Open the rear tailgate and you'll find a 60-litre Engel fridge, along with a powerpack with two traditional powerpoints, USB and 12-volt ports which run off four truck batteries, while behind the rear seats is a 90-litre water tank moulded to fit perfectly.
During the rally they also carry two jerrycans of fuel, snatch straps and other recovery gear, while the Cruiser is also equipped with a special mudflap which covers the entire back of the vehicle and a slick LED light set-up.
Last year the Pattinsons - who live at Mount Mellum - were the highest fundraisers with $58,000, and they should gain a figure among the top performers with about $30,000.
"There is a family side to it if you have a look at the sponsors on the car ... the Yatala Pie Shop is my brother-in-law. Noja Power is my brother, Positive Fire is us and Axis Building Solutions is my brother as well,” Gayle said.
"The great bonus is CGU is who I work for, and they are part of the IAG group and IAG has a foundation which dollar match if staff want to fundraise.”
While the Canetoad Cruiser is the complete package, there are a wide range of vehicles involved in the rally.
Some vehicles take a bitumen route, with an interesting automotive mix.
"The places you go and the things you see you would otherwise never get there because some of it is on private property,” Nigel said.
"We go through national parks specifically opened for the rally, and you are going out there with like-minded people.”
All money raised helps the Endeavour Foundation, which works alongside people with disability to live, learn, work and flourish according to their individual interests and priorities.
The Great Endeavour Rally has been raising dust, dollars and disability awareness for 30 years.
More than $10m has been raised by the rally's participants to make a real difference to the lives of people with a disability.
Entrants pay a vehicle entry fee of $330, an individual fee of $850 to help cover costs and pledge to fundraise $3300 (per vehicle).
Each vehicle must be suitable for the rally, needs a navigator, UHF Radio, orange flashing light and camping gear.
All meals are provided, camping is booked, tow truck and a mobile mechanic and spares truck supplied by the Army.