Simpson desert adventure

LOCAL Endeavour Rally team Kenny’s Angels was one of 43 teams that recently took part in one of Australia’s most iconic charity car rallies, which raised record funds for people with a disability.

The 2021 Great Endeavour Rally, dubbed the Simpson Desert Adventure, was postponed twice due to COVID lockdowns and border restrictions.

However, when the rally was finally held earlier this month, the record number of entrants banded together to raise more than $570,000 for the Endeavour Foundation.

The rally left St George on Friday, October 8, stopping overnight at Hungerford, Cameron Corner, The Dig Tree, Betoota, Big Red Camp, Birdsville and a mystery stop at Davenport Downs – the largest cattle station in Queensland – before heading to Adavale and crossing the finish line in Charleville on Saturday, October 16.

At the end of the final day Kenny’s Angels were crowned the winners, with only one point separating them from the next team. As the rally is not a race, Kenny’s Angels won the rally on points for their consistency. Each day the average time for all participants was taken and the closer the team was to the average, the more points they were awarded. If they were too fast or too slow they got fewer points.

Kenny’s Angels – Sonia Heilig, Susan Ellwood and Amanda Smyth

Kenny’s Angels spokesperson Amanda Smyth said they still couldn’t believe they won.

“Our aim has always been to finish without a breakdown, so winning was really the icing on the cake,” Amanda said.

This is the third time the team of Amanda, Susan Ellwood and Sonia Heilig have taken up the rally challenge. In 2018 they travelled from the Gold Coast to Yamba via Dubbo, and in 2019 they took off from Bundaberg and finished in Townsville via Karumba.

Each entrant makes a pledge to fundraise $3,500 to enter the rally. This year the Angel’s raised an impressive $18,007.

The team’s catchy name was established a few years back when the three friends saw Kenny Rogers at the Gympie Muster, which led the country music fans to refer to themselves as Kenny’s Angels.

Endeavour Foundation event specialist Nathan Woolhouse said the pandemic had caused the 2020 rally to be postponed to August 2021, and then again to October. However, despite the postponements, passionate entrants had made the impossible possible.

“People who would usually look for an overseas holiday contacted us because they wanted to holiday at home and they were looking for something a bit different to do,” Nathan said.

“Along the way, we had some challenges too. About a year’s worth of rain fell in a day when we were at Betoota and a few cars got written off in different places but nobody was injured.

“It’s all part and parcel of a rally, and it’s why we bring the Australian Army mechanics along for support,” he said.