AGE NO BARRIER: Hervey Bay's Ilene King, 79, is ready to drive in this year’s annual Endeavour rally.
AGE NO BARRIER: Hervey Bay's Ilene King, 79, is ready to drive in this year’s annual Endeavour rally. Valerie Horton

79-year-young Ilene is rallying for adventure

AGE is no challenge for 79-year-young Great Endeavour Rally driver Ilene King, who is preparing to set off on an outback adventure with her son and daughter.

The position in which you start in the rally all depends on how much money you have raised for the Endeavour Foundation - supporting those with disabilities - and Ilene is impressively placed in the number five grid position out of 150 participants.

Fundraising is Ilene's driving force behind the cross-country trek, with $5200 already raised by her and her team of supporters.

When that alone seemed impressive enough, Ilene entered a second vehicle into the race as a backup car and raised a further $1400 for the foundation.

Ilene originally planned to make the trip last year but was hampered with a nasty fall that saw her in hospital for months with a broken shoulder.

But nothing seems to get in the way of the vivacious Urangan grandmother, who says she's in tip-top condition for the rally.

The car that Ilene and her daughter Karen and son Wayne are travelling in is aptly named after the domain the King family is in - "Kingdom".

According to Ilene, the 1993 model Holden has "never skipped a beat" after 336,679 kilometres on the clock.

Apart from the addition of some heavy-duty shock absorbers and a derby plate underneath, to make Kingdom rally ready, Ilene says her car is as faithful as the day she bought it 15 years ago from its first owner, her neighbours.

"She's been a great car, and so comfortable to drive in," Ilene said.

"I have no doubt Kingdom will make the trip all the way across to Uluru."

Endeavour Foundation's iconic annual rally has now been running for almost 30 years.

The 2016 adventure starts in Ipswich on June 4 before making its way to Uluru via the illustrious Finke Desert Race.

When asked what makes a 79-year-old woman get into a rally car to drive cross some of Australia's toughest terrain, Ilene's reply is: "If you're in good health and you can do it, go for it."


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