When Sharon Lee Chapman approached us with her plans to attract a convoy of teams to take to the Birdsville Track bound for the iconic Birdsville races, we gave it some serious thought.
It occurred to us that we were being presented with the opportunity to take part in an extreme form of team building exercise.Pretty much overnight we made our decision to work with Sharon to realise her bold ambition and to join the adventurists on their trip.
We work hard, many of us juggling multiple roles at Quilly Park and often don’t get to take time out of the day job to think about the bigger picture.
Some of us work remotely and often we don’t see each other from one day to the next. Although we’re a tight team we don’t always have the chance to make plans together or ask ourselves if we’re on track to working in the best possible way to realise Quilly Park’s vision.
By taking the team out of the daily routine we can immerse ourselves in the collective challenge of getting across the Outback together in one piece and in harmony.
The journey will be one of discovery that we hope will bring us closer together.
The very real challenges that present themselves will give us the chance to work together to find solutions. When we pull off the Birdsville track after a long day’s drive, we hope to find inspiration in our open-minded thinking around the campfire!
We’ll be in good company! At the time of writing there are nine confirmed teams participating in All Roads to Birdsville with representatives from Country Racing Victoria, several trainers including singer / songwriter Dona McQueen who has also composed a song to celebrate our efforts.
We have also set ourselves a goal with the potential to be incredibly rewarding – to raise $5,000 for the National Jockeys Trust.
Along the way, our friends, family and business partners will set us challenges. The more unique the challenge, the better.
Those setting the challenges will make a pledge, due on completion of the task.
We are encouraging people to submit both individual and team goals that take us way out of our comfort zone.
To challenge us comment on this post, click on the graphic above or visit our NJT fundraising page to set a public challenge.
Who are Team Quilly Park?
Richard Anderson has made it his life’s work to turn Quilly Park into a boutique Thoroughbred stud where the horses come first.
It’s probably no surprise to people that Quilly Park was the first team to sign up for All Roads to Birdsville. We’re giving a whole new meaning to the ‘off-site team building experience!
I have no doubt that our team will rise to the challenges of the Outback and look forward to problem solving together along the way.
That said, I’ve told the team that this trip is their show and have let my business advisors know that I’m taking a holiday for the first time in over a decade! I’m looking forward to getting away from it all and to someone else making the decisions.
Those who know me will appreciate that I love a challenge so I can’t wait to see what people come up with for us to tackle on behalf of the National Jockeys Trust.
Richard Anderson, Managing Director of Quilly Park
Suzanne Newman‘s career in media and horse racing includes working as Marketing Manager at the Racing Post in the UK and as digital services manager at RacingUK.
Since moving to Australia in 2015 Suzanne joined forces with Richard Anderson managing marketing and press enquiries for Quilly Park.
Doing extraordinary things that push me way out of my comfort zone is exhilarating.
Thinking on my feet and operating in different conditions isn’t always easy, sometimes I experience a great deal of apprehension but one things for sure – I’ll give every situation my all.
I’ve undertaken several testing fundraising initiatives in the past and am very passionate about the work of the NJT in Australia.
Raising funds for injured jockeys and the families that need our continued support will really motivate us when the going gets tough.
Suzanne Newman, Marketing for Quilly Park
‘The A-Team’ Mark Lee & Dave Gasperini
As Operations Manager for Quilly Park, Mark Lee’s work will never be done. He takes a huge amount of pride in working with Richard Anderson and the team to fulfill Quilly Park’s ambition of continuing to create champions.
The Park’s beautiful surrounds and rolling paddocks are testament to Mark and team member Dave’s hard work and dedication. They never miss a chance to assure the residents of ‘horse heaven’ and have an incredible eye for detail and innovation.
The chance for us to get out on the road with the Quilly Park team is fantastic. So much of what we do is in isolation as we’re usually out on the Park all day. It’ll be great to get to know our colleagues better as we work together in closer confines.
I am hoping that my experience with off road vehicles and long testing drives on behalf of Quilly Park will give our team the edge to complete this challenge.
Mark Lee, Operations Manager, Quilly Park
If you have a problem… if no one else can help… and if you can find them… maybe you can hire…The A-Team
Once we arrive at Birdsville the experience of the Outback races will be like no other. It’s a bucket list trip for me and I’m hugely excited about it.
Dave Gasperini, Operations team, Quilly Park
‘The Campaign King’ Les Theodore
Les Theodore is fully focused on completing the trip of a lifetime on All Roads to Birdsville’s Team Quilly Park and brings a great sense of humour and adventure to our group.
Les is best known for training Better Loosen Up and Campaign King before they went on to great heights.
When Les contacted us to see if he could join us, we agreed collectively that he’d make a fine addition to our team.
‘The Pommie’ – Marion Eaves
Marion is flying in from the UK to take part in All Roads to Birdsville with longtime friend Suzanne Newman. Suzanne and Marion have partnered to tackle tough terrain and conditions previously, most notably crossing the desert together in Jordan and driving cattle across the hills of Patagonia, Argentina.
Marion is a keen horsewoman and follows National Hunt / Jumps racing avidly. She began her career working for the Horseracing Levy Board in London and now works for the UK’s National Health Service.
I’m looking forward to swapping four legs for four wheels and experiencing my first taste of the outback!
Having crossed rugged terrain in places as far flung as Jordan and Argentina, I’m looking forward to being reunited with my good friend and fellow Brit Suzanne Newman to tackle this latest challenge.
About the Birdsville Track
In the 1880s the Birdsville Track began as the main stock route from Birdsville to Marree. The diversity of the landscape on the iconic route contrasts the Simpson Desert with the wetlands if Clayton River, Cooper Creek and Mungerannie, steaming hot bores and challenging driving conditions.
The Birdsville Track is around 500kms long and only passable via 4 wheel drive.
On a normal day, Birdsville is a small Outback town with around 70 residents. Once a year, during its annual race meeting thousands descend on the town arriving by light aircraft or 4 wheel drive.
The iconic Birdsville Races are on many Australian’s bucket list and will take place on September 2nd and 3rd in 2016.
About All Roads to Birdsville
If you’ve ever had Birdsville on your bucket list then come and join us as we lead a convoy of vehicles from around Australia to attend one of the greatest iconic meetings on the Australian racing calendar at one of the world’s most remote racetracks.
Our convoy will be set challenges along the way with prizes up for grabs and fundraising opportunities for local charities including the Royal Flying Doctor’s Service.
Allow 3 days to get there comfortably from Melbourne and about 2 days from Adelaide or Brisbane.
My advice is to never make a bucket list.
Don’t wait for an experience of a lifetime to take place – just go ahead and make it happen!
Sharon Lee Chapman, Fast Track Photography and team All Roads to Birdsville
To join All Roads to Birdsville or make an enquiry, contact us or visit the Facebook page.
Feature image: Sharon Lee Chapman, Fast Track Photography