By James O’Connell
Trip report for finke
Phew! What a hectic weekend!
The crew took off around 11am on Saturday morning (later than planned as Tash and James were slack) and made our way to the 120km mark to Fuel Stop 2. We parked up in front of the container to inspect the contents and discussed where we should camp given the 35km wind forecast due on Sunday. We all agreed on a new camping spot on the same side of the road/track as the container but far enough away that the dust from the competitors would not be an issue. Everyone set up camp and the evening was filled with yummy dinners, a juice or two and lots of laughs.
The rather nippy Sunday began at 7am with a successful radio check (which was a relief after last years dramas!). After a bbq breakfast to warm us up we all made our way down to the container to set up and prepare for the two buggies that were on our list to fuel up, they both stopped and had a quick refuelling and leg stretch. Later the sweep vehicle thundered through which meant we could set up the three drums for the bikes and here we patiently waited at our stations for our first customer. We had a couple of teething problems such as over filling but soon found our rhythm and soon we were pumping through each bike within around 20 seconds. By 4pm we were about ready to wrap up for the day, which was lucky because our marquee decided to go for a bit of a float. The marquee had no chance as a pursuit was quickly underway and with a person on each leg, was then carried back to position. A bit of bush mechanics was needed to reinforce broken poles but the marquee didn’t have the courage or strength to take off for the remainder of the weekend. Sunday was all wrapped up and the night ended with exhausted, filthy bodies unable to find the motivation to turn in for the evening so we ate, drunk and were merry well into the night. Some slept in their chairs until a certain bearded bloke was awakened by the sudden urge to jump to his feet, pick up his billy stick and with such passion, execute a fantastic impression of the Haka. And just as quickly as he was possessed, the act was over and he slumped back into his chair and again, was fast asleep. The fear of this haunted body encouraged us all to call it a night.
Monday was pleasantly warmer, although like zombies we all moaned and groaned towards the coffee pot. Soon after, with a pop of caffeine infused energy and a spring in our step we managed to pack up most of our camp before heading over to the fuel stop and setting up for the morning. Again, another hectic day of fuel pumping and rescuing the odd physically and thus emotionally damaged rider. Everyone chipped in to pack up the reminder of the camp and fuel stop and by 6pm the last of us started to make our way back to Alice (where James finally found his sunglasses, that had been hanging onto his bulbar for the last 100kms)
We will be looking at organising Fuel Stop 2 again next year and intend on doing a couple of Bunnings sausage sizzle fundraisers to raise a little bit of money to make the weekend a little more comfortable. From the bottles etc we have already put aside $25.
James and Tash would like to thank everyone who signed up to volunteer for over the weekend. We had a fantastic number of people and the weekend would not have gone so smoothly without each individual person’s contribution. We also would like to thank the amazing competitors for being so patient and appreciative of our work.