Aussie pensioner Rod Wade has set a new world record for crossing Australia from coast to coast – and back again – in a vintage vehicle. The team set off from Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast on 3 June in a 1930 Ford Model A nicknamed 'Tudor Rose', arriving in Fremantle on 5 June, and finishing their journey where they began on 7 June.
Wade and co-driver Austen Richie aimed to complete the trip in less than 100 hours, but fell just short of their goal due to two breakdowns on the Nullarbor Plain, which saw them set a final time of 101 hours, 52 minutes and 32 seconds.
In total, the pair travelled more than 4500km through Queensland, New South Wales, Southern Australia and Western Australia.
In addition to the Model A's headgasket blowing on the outward leg, the support van was disabled on the return trip after being struck by a wayward kangaroo.
Wade said: "This has been the most amazing challenge with the best crew pulling together to get us across the finish line. The support out on the road from service station staff, border patrols, local police and motorists has been fantastic. It may be too early to say 'next time', but plans are already afoot."
The 71-year-old is no stranger to long drives, having previously set a world record for crossing the United States in the same vintage Ford, taking just over 50 hours last year.
Both attempts were made in order to raise money for Kidney Health Australia, and specifically a project called 'Kidney Kampers'. Masterminded by Wade, Kidney Kampers aims to build a fleet of camper vans equipped with dialysis machines, which will allow sufferers of kidney disease to go on holiday.
Wade's wife and daughter both live with the illness, while each day 56 people in Australia die as a result of kidney-related diseases.
Wade has already raised 58,000AUD – 142,000AUD shy of his 200,000AUD target.