Epic ride for a great cause
BRETT Johnstone - better known throughout Clermont and surrounds as 'Slippery' - says he's "just an everyday person”, albeit one who has plotted and prepared to undertake an extraordinary expedition to raise money for Queensland Cancer Council.
During the past few months, Mr Johnstone has spent more than $30,000 fitting out his Husqvarna 701 endo motorbike so he can ride 10,000km across some of Australia's toughest and most iconic outback tracks.
The 52-year-old says he's aiming to raise $10,000 because it's time he gave back to his community.
But he has also been inspired by the deaths of his brother-in-law and sister-in-law two years ago.
His sister-in-law died from ovarian cancer, and six months later, her husband was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"I had just turned 50 and you realise the old saying that life is too short and it made me look around the local community - there was a 23-year-old boy who played football with my son and he had died of bowel cancer,” Mr Johnstone said.
"I want to be able to inspire the community, that as ordinary, everyday people, we can pull together and raise enough to make that much-needed breakthrough.
"I realise what we raise won't bring anyone back, but it may help to ease suffering, improve quality of life or even life expectancy for cancer sufferers, or hope beyond hope, a cure.”
Mr Johnstone's epic adventure, which will include the Canning stock route, will begin at sunrise on June 30.
After six weeks he plans on returning to Clermont on August 9.
He said the stock route was a "very tough ride” but he was going to "get up, have breakfast and ride to a daily tally”.
"It will be sandhill after sandhill after sandhill - riding up and over them.”
He'll need three different permits to travel the route, and six permits in total and he has a nutritionist working with him.
"I sometimes think I've bitten off an awful big mouthful but if I have I've just got to chew,” he said.
"I'm hoping that what I'm doing is different enough to attract some attention and to help the cause of the Queensland Cancer Council.”
With three months of fundraising to go before Mr Johnstone leaves town, donations can be made via Facebook "Challenging the Canning for Cancer”..