For A Long Drive for Drought founder, Brent Reeman, there was only ever supposed to be the one fundraiser.
But when last year’s inaugural Long Drive raised $52,000 – well past its $40,000 target – Brent and his team of fellow four-wheel drivers knew they would have to return to the road and are this year aiming to collect a further $80,00 for Queensland-based charity, Drought Angels.
Recent State Government figures record almost 65 percent of Queensland to remain in drought, with 34 local government areas still fully drought-declared.
As head of Peak Services, commercial arm of the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), Brent has strong ties to the state’s rural and remote communities and a deep understanding of how hard drought hits them. He’s in daily contact with – and is a regular visitor to – communities in those parts of the state that have, once again, missed out on winter rainfall and face an uncertain spring and summer.
The Long Drive idea came to Brent during the unprecedented bushfires of summer 2019-20, when he says he was motivated to try ‘something meaningful’ for the bush communities he loves. So, he tapped into his connections in the ’40-loving fraternity’ – devotees of Toyota’s iconic 40 Series LandCruisers, all manufactured from 1960-1984 as genuine ‘paddock-bashers’ – to test their support and was overwhelmed at the response.
It’s a family affair for Brent this year as well, with his brother Scott taking the reins of his 1973 edition LandCruiser ‘Jim’ and his 81year old father George joining the group again as support crew but this year travelling in a 1985 60 Series LandCruiser so he can fit in with the crowd. Brent will be in the oldest vehicle in the fleet, his latest project an all original 1971 FJ45, affectionately known as Rex and complete with untouched ‘patina’ paint job. At 50 years old with its original petrol motor and 3 speed gearbox it will certainly be tested on this run. Brent says it probably never left the farm it came from and now it will be leading 30+ of its kind over 3000km across the state.