Meeting the challenge
Yiramalay students, staff and volunteers joined the 2019 Gibb Challenge, riding 660 kilometres from Derby to the world-acclaimed El Questro Wilderness Park, and raising funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
The Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School saw more riders than ever before complete this year’s Gibb Challenge, joining 300 riders and support crew for the six-day ride along the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley. Starting at sunrise and tackling dust, corrugated and sandy tracks, temperatures in the high 30s and plenty of flies, the 16 riders and support crew members reached the El Questro Wilderness Park tired, hot and hungry– but also laughing, high fiving and proud of each other.
Moments of truth
The Yiramalay riders met plenty of bystanders driving the Gibb River Road. Their verdict? ‘You’re mad for doing it.’ The verdict from Yiramalay? ‘We say it every year: the Gibb Challenge is the highlight of the year, it’s the best event the school can take part in.’
‘The students are in bed and asleep by 8:30pm – that’s unreal!’
‘We can't stop as long as our hearts are beating.’
‘It’s a challenge. You get on the bike and you move one leg of the time. You just keep riding.’
‘We won't eat lollies. We’ll drink more water and ride further.’
Developing leadership and community
According to Yiramalay’s Gibb Challenge Team Manager, Tim Johnstone, there are many benefits for students in participating in the Gibb Challenge. ‘The Challenge is true to its name: it’s demanding,’ Tim says. ‘It requires our students to complete a defined task in difficult circumstances, and sustain their commitment and effort every day for six days.
‘They also benefit hugely from sharing that experience with staff and other students from Yiramalay, and they have the opportunity to observe and talk with committed and disciplined individuals from across Australia. The friendships that form and consolidate – between students, students and staff and students and the wider Gibbster community – are amazing.’
The Gibb Challenge is part of the Yiramalay personal development program. It focuses on developing leadership, community inclusion and cohesion while supporting the health and fitness, and mental wellbeing of Yiramalay students. 2019 is the third time a Yiramalay team has participated in the Challenge.
The 2019 Gibb Challenge has been completed, but it’s not too late to donate to support the Yiramalay fundraising effort for the Royal Flying Doctor Service through the Yiramalay Foundation.