Simpson revisited dream trip says desert pioneer pair as Nissan G60 crests Big Red
Margaret and Doug Sprigg
with the reliable Nissan
Sister and brother Margaret and Doug Sprigg completed their second crossing of the remote Simpson Desert in an early model, short wheelbase Nissan G60 Patrol at the weekend, 50 years after their pioneering trip in a similar Nissan in 1962.
Travelling with their parents, geologist Reg Sprigg and his wife Griselda, Marg (then aged 10) and Doug (then seven) became the first motorists to cross one of the world’s most remote regions with its 1,000 parallel north-south running dunes spread over 176,500 square kilometres.
“It was a dream trip,” said a delighted Doug Sprigg, whose desert driving craft delighted the many onlookers who cheered as he and Marg crested the huge dune named ‘Big Red’ at the end of the desert, just 34km west of Birdsville.
Running down the French Line, Simpson Desert.
It was the first time either had driven over ‘Big Red’ and they crested it confidently, with the 4.0 litre six cylinder G60 Patrol pulling strongly in low range second gear.
While both had the opportunity to travel in the modern comfort of an accompanying current model Nissan Patrol ST 3.0 litre Diesel, they chose to drive the elderly G60 Patrol the full 437km from Simpson Desert ‘gateway’ hot springs camp of Dalhousie Springs in the west to Birdsville in the east in a journey lasting four and a half days.
“I was amazed how comfortable and capable it was,” said Doug Sprigg. “It was virtually unstoppable and didn’t miss a beat.”
On the Saturday night of their arrival in Birdsville, the Spriggs were honoured at a special Outback Concert staged in their honour for Nissan enthusiasts at the Birdsville Racecourse, with popular singers James Reyne and Darryl Braithwaite performing for a large crowd.
The following day (Sunday July 22), they were again honoured with the unveiling of a cairn at the edge of Birdsville that recognised the pioneering achievement of their parents, their re-enactment and the central role of the Nissan Patrol in both these achievements.
For more information
contact: Garth Morrison
Editor Go See Australia and Go See New Zealand Directory
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