Tears were shed and hugs shared, with a universal feeling of pride radiating throughout the park as the 2022 South Australian Ride for Sick Kids (RFSK) participants crossed the finish line.
After a 1000-kilometre bike ride from Melbourne to Adelaide, Team Broken Hill were greeted by loved ones and attended a presentation for their efforts in the ride and fundraising.
Broken Hill’s Judd Carpenter and Nigel Lawrence were presented with the yellow jersey on days six and seven respectively, for their efforts throughout the early days of the ride, as well as their individual achievements and triumphs.
Carpenter was presented with the jersey on night five, to wear on the day six leg of the route. “They presented me with the yellow jersey because of what I’ve been through in previous years with my leukaemia and that sort of stuff, and how I’d ridden for the first six days, having put in the hard yards and basically, I got the jersey because of that.
“It was a great honour. I was very proud of myself, I couldn’t be prouder of myself actually,” he said.
“It was an unbelievable experience. Such a great feeling riding into Adelaide seeing the kids, friends and family. It is a great charity to ride for and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.”
Lawrence was presented the yellow jersey for his strong riding and because he was the highest fundraiser overall with over $26,000.
“You never know what’s going to happen each day when they present a yellow jersey, there are so many reasons why they can. It came as a bit of a shock, it’s not the reason why we ride, but it’s a nice honour to wear it and particularly to ride through the finish line.”
Lawrence said it was “Unbelievable” to lead the group across the finish line. “I had goosebumps I haven’t felt for a long time, it was a special moment for sure.”
He was given an award for his fundraising efforts at the presentation, which he credited the Broken Hill community for. “Again, it’s Broken Hill. I know a lot of people, through our business I was able to take advantage of our connections and hence the money came in.
“But the Broken Hill community are unbelievable to get behind us, they understand the importance of Ronald McDonald House and they’re really keen to get involved and help us out.”
Throughout the ride, Team Broken Hill continued to fundraise and reached a total of $103,849. One night in Ronald McDonald House Adelaide is $160 per night, with $40 allocated by the government. The money raised by Team Broken Hill alone can house one family in the house for 865 nights.
Ferguson spoke of the immense contribution from the local community. “Throughout the ride we continued to fundraise, we posted our rides each day and how proud we are of our two young riders in Nick and Judd and our veteran in Nigel. We got a great response from people cheering us on and sending well wishes and throwing some money on our pages.
“It feels awesome, we’re really privileged to have an awesome community and a very, very generous community. Our community is just amazing with their support, and we can’t thank them enough,” he said.
“This money we’ve raised is amazing for the kids, we met some of them today and one little girl said to me ‘I’m staying at Ronnie House’ and she showed me her scar on her head, and it just makes it all so real to see that, and worth it to raise the money for them.”
Mann said Team Broken Hill rode very strong as a whole and he enjoyed his first time in the RFSK. “Very, very strong I think we trained very well. With the guys like Tim and Mark who’d sort of prepped us up quite well, we sort of thought we were a bit undercooked, but Tim kept saying we’d done enough work.
“I think the first three days we (He and Judd) hit PB’s every day for distance and climbing, and we got our first 200 (kilometres) together,” he said.
“It’s absolutely unreal, I need to pinch myself that we’ve just ridden from Melbourne to Adelaide, I think it’s going to take a couple of days to process it.
“As we were coming in down King William Road there, I said to Cravo ‘The pain’s all gone’ the bum’s sore, the legs are sore but just the experience was unreal, the pain just goes away rolling in.”
Craven was awarded the Geoff Trenwith Award, who was a past support crew member of the RFSK who passed away in 2017. He said he was humbled and very surprised by the award.
“I’ve met Geoff, so to be a recipient of his award is an honour. He was a selfless man and did great things for the charity, you respect people that just do things because they can and he had no obligation to do anything for Ronald McDonald House and he just did it.
“So to be recognised with someone like that is just humbling and I’m very thankful.
Craven said he found the ride enjoyable, “I didn’t hurt as much as I did in 2019 and we had so much enjoyment with a smaller group on and off the bike. It was tough, there was a lot of climbing, that last hour before we crossed the finish line was yuck, but I enjoyed it.”