GERMANY…Jaguar Racing F1 star Mark Webber announced today that, following the completion of the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship, he will embark upon a gruelling 10 day trekking, kayaking and cycling challenge. The Challenge will raise funds for two Australian children’s charities, Brainwave Australia and CanTeen, in one of the world’s most stunning locations, Tasmania – Australia’s island state. Both charities support children with cancer.
The inaugural Mark Webber 2003 Challenge will start on November 7 on the isle’s west coast (a region noted for its high rainfall and rugged and isolated terrain) and for the next 10 days will follow a 1000km rugged track round the south coast and up the east coast before concluding on the spectacular Freycinet Peninsular on November 16.
The Challenge will see him – and others – applying themselves to a variety of disciplines, including a three day trek and overnight camping in one of the world’s last remaining wildernesses, kayaking in Port Davey – a harbour as large as Sydney Harbour yet with only three homes – and using both mountain and road cycles to tackle the dirt tracks and roads along the west and east coasts.
The event will be directed and managed by Tim Saul, a native Tasmanian who has competed in triathlons, multi-sports events such as the successful Cradle (Mountain) to Coast which he has organised for 13 years, and ocean sailing, including three Sydney to Hobart yacht races, one of the toughest events on the world sporting calendar.
Webber announced the Challenge in Germany where he is participating in the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, and said, “As a Formula One driver, I get to travel and see the world and enjoy a pretty good standard of living. I think there’s something wrong if I can’t give up some of my free time to give something back to the community.
“I wanted a physical, mental and personal challenge to see how far I can stretch my capabilities,” continued Mark, “and lot of people told me Tasmania was the ideal place for it. It’s something we’ve been working on for the past few months and even though we’ve only just announced our intentions, the interest and support amongst those we have discussed it with already, has been phenomenal.
“I hope both the F1 industry and corporate Australia will get behind it so we can contribute some serious funds to a very worthy cause.”
Mark urged corporate Australia to enter individuals and teams for the Challenge but stressed, “This is not a competition but a personal test on physical endurance and mental stamina. It’s also about leadership and working with teams for the benefit of others.”
Mark has also thrown down the gauntlet to other international and Australian sports stars to join him on the Challenge.
“If another F1 driver is up for a bit of challenge and is willing to do the whole 10 days, that would be fantastic. But, I’m also looking for support from other sports. I appreciate that 10 days is a long time out for someone with a busy schedule but the way we’ve structured the Challenge, people can be easily flown in and out of the Challenge, and if they can only commit for a couple of days, that’s not a problem. We’d love to see some big names joining in and we’ve already secured some tremendous national and international press coverage for the event. ”
Already confirmed in Mark’s four man team is Bernie Shrosbree – an ex-Royal Marine specialising in diving, and mountain and arctic warfare and a former international triathlete. However, these days Shrosbree is better known for his health and fitness expertise amongst leading world rallying and Formula One teams and drivers, and the British Olympic Rowing team. Bernie will be on hand to provide motivation and inspiration when the tough gets going during the Challenge!
Mark Webber is the Team Principal of MW Arden, a three car team in the new GP3 series supporting European Grands Prix.