Kenny eyes third wheel challenge

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
Kenny’s Gibb River Challenge fundraising committee Kiera Stephen, Luke Cameron, Michael Stephen, Gerard Cameron and Don Perfrement get around Kenny McGonnell.
Camera IconKenny’s Gibb River Challenge fundraising committee Kiera Stephen, Luke Cameron, Michael Stephen, Gerard Cameron and Don Perfrement get around Kenny McGonnell. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

The Gibb River Challenge is known as a life-defining adventure.

It is that promise of a challenge which appeals most to Kenny McGonnell.

Determined to walk again after a motocross accident in 2017 left him paralysed from the chest down, the 32-year-old Albany man is preparing to take on the 660km Kimberley team relay ride in a hand-powered trike.

His latest venture will mark two years since his life-changing accident, but since then not much has got in the way.

Mr McGonnell has since completed the Rottnest Channel Swim, Albany Harbour Swim, Busselton Jetty Swim and he races go-karts, but the Gibb River Challenge has always been on his to-do list.

“It’s always been something I wanted to do,” he said.

“I always wanted to ride it but never thought we would do it and then they have made it all happen.

“Doing it is also for a great cause as the Royal Flying Doctor Service helped me out.”

Mr McGonnell will form part of the Albany Gibbsters, consisting of two mountain bike teams and his support crew, who have been busy raising $25,000 for their mate’s custom-made hand powered trike.

The trike has been developed in Poland and is almost ready to be shipped to Australia.

His team, which includes mates Jono Drew, Bobby Cooper and Dave Brenzi, will also tackle the 660km trek across mainly unsealed terrain on the hand cycle.

“I’ve been watching this bike since I’ve been in hospital, I will be the first person to do the Gibb River on a hand cycle apparently,” he said. “When I’m not on the bike one of the boys will be riding it.

“It’s an enjoyment to do it and the experience as well.”

The fundraising efforts culminated at the weekend with a major entertainment event and Due South Tavern also donated 50¢ from every pint sold. Each team must raise a minimum of $1000 for the RFDS.

“I can’t believe it, I was so overwhelmed,” Mr McGonnell said.

“I’ve never experienced that feeling before, I was so taken back and I don’t know how to thank everyone enough.” The Gibb River Challenge is held from May 19-23.

Kenny McGonnell is assisted from the water after finishing the 2018 Albany Harbour Swim by Micheal Stephen and Dave Brenzi.
Camera IconKenny McGonnell is assisted from the water after finishing the 2018 Albany Harbour Swim by Micheal Stephen and Dave Brenzi. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

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