Nullarbor by scooter

A THRILL seeking group of Australian men and women aged 65 and over are revving up for a motorcycle adventure across the Nullarbor.

Beginning on Sepember 9 this year, the Scootarbor Challenge invites older people to regain a sense of adventure while also raising money for charity beyondblue.

The fundraising scooter challenge is aiming to raise $300,000, which will go towards enhancing the mental wellbeing of older persons.

Travelling east to west across the Nullarbor, the Scootarbor team will cross 2,400km of Australian terrain via the Eyre Highway from Port Augusta to Norseman, and then to Perth.

Sale participant Ross Mathieson said he decided to get involved after attending his recent aviation reunion with Scootarbar founder Ian Jacobsen.

“I went to a reunion for my pilot’s course, which was way back in 1965, and most of them I hadn’t seen since then,” he said.

“One of them, Ian Jacobson, had this idea that he wanted to do this fundraising adventure.

“He and one of the other guys had been working on it and he asked me to get involved.

“I’ve known a few people with depression and it really impacted upon their whole lives.

“I offered to be the support vehicle and then it’s gone from there to now being a rider.”

Mr Mathieson said he wanted to get involved to provide support for people with depression and to enjoy the Australian outdoors at the same time.

“We’re going to be on these 50cc scooters which are called Typhoons. A Typhoon is flat out at 40 or 50kmh,” he laughed.

Despite the slow speed, Mr Mathieson said he was still a bit nervous about riding a scooter over the long distance.

“I’ve only ever had one ride on a scooter and I didn’t feel very confident at all,” he said.

“The ride starts at Port Augusta and I’ll drive to get over there on the Friday, and then we’ve got all weekend to practice before we leave on the Monday.”

But Mr Mathieson said there were bigger dangers than his lack of experience on a scooter.

“I spoke to a friend of mine who recently came back by car across the Nullarbor and he said one of the dangers, which I’ve never heard of before, is that eagles eat road kill and they get so heavy that they can’t take off and they start flapping across the road trying to get enough speed to take off. And that can be a hazard to oncoming vehicles.”

“And obviously there will be a few kangaroos.”

“But probably the biggest danger would be large trucks because they put out a big wash.”

To ensure their safety during the ride, a support bus will accompany the riders throughout the trip.

To make a donation to the Scootarbor Challenge, visit www.scootarborchallenge.com/donations.htm