Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service 2016 Ride for the Chopper finishes in Tamworth, raises $30,000

GOOD SIGN: Breanna Chillingworth makes it look easy as she rides the last leg of the 2016 Ride for the Chopper. Photo: Gareth Gardner 230916GGC12

GOOD SIGN: Breanna Chillingworth makes it look easy as she rides the last leg of the 2016 Ride for the Chopper. Photo: Gareth Gardner 230916GGC12

TWO washed-out days meant the riders taking part in this year’s Ride for the Chopper couldn’t brag about covering the anticipated 650-odd kilometres over six days.

Heavy rain and floodwaters turned the Dubbo-Gilgandra and Baradine-Coonabarabran legs into comparatively comfortable bus rides instead of pedal-powered treks.

The Ride for the Chopper team brought it on home on Friday, however, after covering a 400km in just a few days of cycling over some tough terrain between Dubbo and Tamworth in the past week.

Along the way, they raised more than $30,000 for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, helping to keep it free for anyone who needs it in a medical emergency.

This was the 16th annual ride in aid of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

More than 50 riders plus support crew from across the state took part, with people joining in from, among a host of locations,  Tamworth, Gunnedah, Newcastle, Wollongong and Tooraweenah.

They each had to raise at least $500 to take part in the ride, however, some taking part reportedly raised as much as $4000.

The Leader’s senior journalist Breanna Chillingworth took part in the ride for the second-on year running.

She said it had been an “awesome” experience.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind thing and the camaraderie you have between people that you don’t know is amazing,” Ms Chillingworth said after reaching the finish line on Friday.

“Our biggest day [Thursday] was 150km on the mountain bike in headwinds, so you have guys that push you up the hill and ride along with you to make the time go faster.

“Everyone has a story about why they do it.”

WRHS community liaison officer Michael Wilson said the event was “a travelling circus, but it’s great fun”.

”All the money that we raise goes to ensuring that no one ever has to pay because the service is there when you need it - and we just hope no one ever does.”

The tired but satisfied riders celebrated their achievement on Friday night with a dinner at Wests’ Diggers.

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