Full Team Profiles

Trans Australia Route Information

The final round up before Australia

Hot start for the team as they leave Darwin

The Team clock up the miles towards 'Alice'

Seven day update To 'Alice'

Australian customs finally release JonsBack-up wheelchair

More Great Pictures of the Team

Jon and the team complete the crossing in 141hrs, 23mins and 55secs

A special word of thanks to all the supporters and sponsors of the
Trans Australia Challenge

Now available - The Roof of Africa on Wheels - Jon's account of the attempt to climb Kilimanjaro

Creative Adaptive Sports

Roof of Africa on Wheels Revisited


The stay in Coober Pedy was quite welcomed, especially by Stuart as he had been suffering for the last few days with a cracked tooth.

Upon their arrival in Coober Pedy, Stuart headed straight for the dentist who only happened to be in town once in a blue moon, as he also served the surrounding territories.

Stuarts' luck was in, as the dentist was actually in town, and twenty minutes later (and $165 poorer) he caught up with Jon and Simon who were making the most of a pizza at 'Johns Pizzas' as recommended by the coach driver they had met in Marla. Stuart, who was well known for his appetite had to just sit and watch them enjoy the occasion.

Later that day Jon and the team met again with Robert McCormack, the president of the local lions, and the local press to receive the aus$500 donation.

On the evening the team were invited to visit the home of another member of the lions. His home was built into the side of a cliff face and like others 'cut' into the ground was known as a 'dug out'. It was an absolutely remarkable place, which can only be described as a cave.

The reason for the houses being built in this way was to gain some relief from the weather extremities which would be as low as minus 5 degrees Celsius but could reach as high as 52 degrees Celsius.

July the 31st.

As the stretch of road to Glendambo was the longest of all (254kms in total) Jon had made the conscious decision that today he would make the most of every hour of daylight. This was not only to see what total mileage could be achieved but to see whether or not any other time/distance records could be broken.

The only record to be broken today would be the time that they spent on the road! 8hrs, 41mins and 41secs to cover only 100.63 miles. It could only be described as another 'hard slog'. The wind, which was not only head on but also bitterly cold, made this possibly the most challenging day for Jon and the Royal Marines, both physically and psychologically.

They would have a short break every two hours. This was not only to refuel but to warm up from the bitterly cold wind, which was testing them all of the way.

The day had started with long drive South to the point at which they finished the day before and the team were greeted by a magnificent sunrise. Before dawn had broken, they saw more wildlife than they had for the whole of the journey so far. Martin ('coops') Cooper did well to miss a Kangaroo that just bounded out from the bush and across the road in front of him. He wasn't to be quite so lucky that evening as the wildlife seemed to be even more abundant. A large kangaroo decided to take a closer look at the front of the motorhome and caused a fair bit of damage, to the vehicle as well as itself!

Jon considered this yet another bonus day, despite the conditions. It was not only just under 25miles left to Glendambo but another whole day closer to Adelaide.

Sunday the 1st of August.

After the nightmare conditions of yesterday the team were to have a 'quiet' day and just complete the remaining 24.68 miles that were left to take them officially into Glendambo. This would hopefully allow time to catch up with the PR and I.T. as there were quite a lot of Lions clubs ahead of them that they were hoping to visit en-route. It would also allow them a little extra time to restore the energy levels.

Glendambo is yet another of those roadhouse communities with a population of only thirty. They rely totally on road trains for their supplies and the weather temperatures there are similar to those found in Coober Pedy, ranging from minus 5 degrees Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius.

August the 2nd.

Today the team would make a straight run towards Pimba. The distance was 113kms (70.21miles) and took the team 4hrs, 44mins and 07secs to complete the section. For several reasons Jon was finding that he had to push himself harder, psychologically at least, and commented that he could not believe that the road was still uphill at this stage.

The team made their mark on the roadside and made their way to Woomera, just 7kms off of the highway. As they entered the town they passed a Canberra Bomber, Meteor Jet, Jindivik Target Jet and a Black Arrow Rocket.

As you can tell, Woomera is much larger than the places that the team have stopped at for a while and has an approximate population of 1300. As it was a town that was developed to cater for the people who developed and tested
rockets it is known as Australia's first and only space age town and is advertised as a 'must see' town as it used to be a no go zone due to the official secrets act.

Woomera is advertised as being only a 5hr drive from Adelaide, but for Jon and the Royal Marines there were still 478kms ahead of them.

August the 3rd.

With Adelaide 'in sight' so to speak the next destination of Port Augusta was the longest single stretch left to cover. It was 172kms (107miles approx..) and although it may have been achievable in a day, the team had PR work to carry out with the local lions group so Jon decided that time would dictate the day's distance.

Jon covered a total of 75.7 miles (121kms approx..) in 5hrs, 15mins and 08secs averaging 14.3 mph. This was to leave the team just over 31miles 50kms approx..) to reach Port Augusta. For once the scenery actually started to change today giving the team a break from the previous monotony of mile upon mile of the same wilderness to look at.

The final 31 miles ( 50kms) drive into the town appeared to be quite level with only a couple of inclines on the way and should make for a steady day ahead.

August the 4th.

Having started the day thinking that it was to be a comparatively easy day ahead, Jon and the Royal Marines were to be faced with poor roads and blustery headwinds. With possibly the longest stretch of level road since leaving Darwin what should have been a steady ride turned out to be another three hour slog.

The only consolation was the beautiful views of the Flinders ranges that ran parallel with the road on the final stages into town and the colours of the estuary as they passed through the town to finish the days stage of 38.02 miles (62kms approx). This took the team 7.5 miles (12kms) South of Port Augusta, all of which was into a strong headwind and left Jon and the team wondering what was in store for the following day.

The team were invited for afternoon tea with Betty Maul and other members of the Port Augusta Lions as they had wanted to present them with a cheque for the Wheelchair Sports Worldwide Foundation.

August the 5th.

After wrongly thinking that yesterday would be easy and facing the strong winds at the end of the stage, Jon and the team had wondered what was in 'store' for them in the day ahead.
They had been led to believe that the winds would be strong for most of the day as they headed towards, and beyond, Port Pirie whilst covering the 62,11 miles (100kms) that they had decided to do.

The journey was at least going to be more picturesque as they were going to be 'cycling' with the Flinders ranges on one side of them and the rich blue colours of the Spencer Gulf estuary on the other side.

It had originally been planned that the team would leave the highway at this point to divert through the Barossa valley. This wasn't due to the fact that this was one of the fine wine regions of Australia but because over the final stages several Lions clubs had wanted to show support to the Wheelchair Sport Worldwide Foundation and the logistics of ensuring that the team did the right thing by them all had to be taken into account.

However, several people en-route had told the team that due to moving slowly, and with support vehicles to be considered, it would be dangerous to take that route due to the winding roads. The decision was made to continue
down the highway. Each time they finished a stage they would drive to each particular club that wished to see them.

That evening they were to meet with 'Stacks' Kerr and the Port Pirie Lions organisation. Their group were running a burger stall at a Healthy Living Expedition and we were invited to try some of their wares. They were very much appreciated after the hard days work, especially the last section of the stage, which seemed to be one prolonged uphill battle.

August the 6th.

Jon and the Royal Marines were now very aware that they were within 122 miles (under 200kms) of Adelaide. This, along with the 12 mile (20kms) drive South of Port Pirie, made for a positive start to the day. It was quite possible that this could have been achieved in one day but once again PR and awareness had to be catered for.

The team were hoping to make their way to Port Wakefield some 62.7 miles (97kms) South but because they were due to visit the Lions group in the township of Clare that evening the decision was made to call time at 15.30hrs that day to allow time to drive back across country to Clare.

The day was to be one of the better ones and, even with some prolonged inclines, Jon covered 62.11 miles (100kms) in 3hrs, 26mins and 43secs. He even achieved a bonus before the cut off time. The total distance covered
that day was 70.11 miles (113kms approx.) in a time of 3hrs, 57mins and 05secs, averaging 17.7 mph.

The team then drove back to Clare to spend a wonderful evening with the Lions group there who laid on food and drink for us. They even introduced the team ( some members anyhow) to Clare valley red wine of 1996 vintage and
very nice it was too... so I am told of course. The record book was signed by John Reid who was not only a member of the
Lions but the local police Senior Sergeant also. He was a right character and certainly kept everyone on their toes that evening.

August the 7th.

As Simon had already finalised dealings with the Lions clubs of Port Augusta, Port Pirie, Gladstone, Clare, Gawler and Elizabeth today was to be the home run. With the luxury of knowing that they had a very long drive back to the starting point from Clare, and the relaxing evening behind them, the team had a later start than usual.

Jon had always felt that there would be a bonus day in store somewhere to make up for all of the hills and inclines that they had to tolerate on the way. Maybe yesterday was it. No, today was to be even better and a fitting end to a tremendous journey.

Jon, Simon and Stuart were to finish the final 51.77 miles (83.31kms) in 2hrs, 31mins and 58secs. Jon covered took just 1hr, 09mins and 49secs to cover the equivalent distance of the Marathon from a standing start. The
whole of the last stage was covered at an average speed of 20.4 mph (32.83kmph).
This was to include the last seven miles into Adelaide being hampered with traffic signals and traffic.

Jon and the Royal Marine support team Cpl.Simon Davies, Cpl. Stuart Gentry, Cpl. Ian Lawton and Marine Martin 'coops' Cooper had taken a total of 141hrs, 23mins and 55secs to get to Adelaide from Darwin.

Friday the 13th of August.

Today the team would cover 7.5 miles (12kms) back into the town, along with a police escort. They were to be received by Mr Vic Warrington who was the British Consul and Mr Graeme Goldberg at the glorius Stamford Plaza hotel for a press and media luncheon. We were presented with a cheque for $200aus from the president of the Lions from the town of Elizabeth.

The team had been hosted in Adelaide by the Wheelchair Sports South Australia and are very appreciative of their support. Our special thanks go to Mr George Dunstan, Natalie Philps (and her family), Kim Elwood and Liam Clancy.

Due to his mother taking critically ill and having passed away during the Trans - Australian Challenge, Jon would like to dedicate the success of the 'challenge' to his mother who fought so hard to overcome hers.

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Contact Jon and the team by e-mail - jbamos@cableinet.co.uk

Bob McCullough
Wheelchair Sports Worldwide Foundation