UPDATE: 8/9/2016 9:15PM AEST - Stuart posted a Facebook update an hour ago saying that an electrical fault in the ignition coil has brought his 100 hour crossing mission to a standstill. He's currently stranded at Warrakuna Roadhouse 300km west of Uluru.
In darkness, rain and howling wind at 5:00am this morning, Wednesday 7th September 2016, adventure motor cycle rider and avid fund raiser Stuart Ball left Steep Point in Western Australia on the start of his attempt to ride his KTM 990 Adventure bike across Australia solo and completely unaided in under 100 hours.
The 5,000+ km adventure will take him from the western most point of the Australian mainland at Steep Point to the eastern most point at Byron Bay.
If successful, this will be Stuarts fastest ride across the country, although definitely not his first.
In October 2011 Stuart completed his first solo crossing of the continent from east to west. He had no sponsors or support and didn’t even have a GPS, instead relying on printed maps for navigation.
Stuart’s motivation for that first crossing was to get out and see the real Australia as he felt he was becoming an ‘automated mortgage slave’!
But he also had a bigger goal.
His daughter was born 2 months premature and while now she is a strong and healthy 10 year old, Stuart was so grateful for the care and support she received in those first months that he was compelled to give something back.
On his first crossing Stuart raised $5200.00 for The Children's Health Foundation and in doing so laid the foundations for what was to become The Great Australian Ride.
The following year, Stuart invited 12 other riders to join him on a second crossing to raise more funds for worthy charities and The Great Australian Ride (GAR) has continued every year since.
With 6 crossings under his belt now, Stuart and his fellow GAR riders have raised well over $200,000 for children charity, Sids and Kids.
In previous years at the end of the east/west crossing, the bikes are normally loaded onto a trailer in Perth and towed by the support vehicle back to the east coast, but this year Stuart had a surprise in store for his followers.
Not content with the $70,000 he and his team have raised for Sids and Kids this year, Stuart is on a mission to raise even more by riding back to Byron Bay solo and completely unaided and with a 100 hour deadline.
Stuart has been planning this solo crossing for the past 12 months.
Without a support vehicle, carrying enough fuel is a real challenge so on the recently completed GAR crossing Stuart buried several fuel drums at various points along the way so he can refuel between fuel stations.
Besides the logistics of fuel and other supplies, Stuart has the weather to contend with and if you’ve been keeping an eye on the news lately you’ll know that there has been big rains across large parts of the country over recent days.
He’ll also need to maintain an average speed of over 50 kmh for the entire trip including rest stops which will not be easy.
If all goes to plan, Stuart will arrive into Byron Bay by 11:00am this Sunday 11th August 2016.
Find out more:
You can follow his progress in real time here from his Spot Tracker which is sending regular position updates via satellite.
Find out more about The Great Australian Ride.
Follow Stuarts updates on Facebook here