Andy Sutcliffe

Andy Sutcliffe Cannings Cairn 2010Andy Sutcliffe is the Peugeot 505 driver Gaynor thumbed a lift with in 2010 on her first hitch down the Canning. Andy is one of the few people to have driven a non-4x4 vehicle the length of the Canning Stock Route.

From 1988 to 2001, Andy worked for the UK based overland adventure company, Encounter Overland.

In those days, travelling across continents was an real adventure! Andy was typically responsible for 20 passengers on the back of an old Ex British army Bedford MK4x4 12 ton truck, driving them across continents, through remote regions, without modern day technology, for up to 16 weeks.

He worked for five years in Asia, five years in Africa (Nairobi to Cape Town took 16 weeks in those days) and South America for two years. He has driven trucks across the sandy deserts of the Western Sahara, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania and Morocco. In 2001, Andy settled in his home country, Australia.

Andy has travelled the CSR two and a half times, on two occasions with Gaynor.

In 2005 he drove north in an old Landrover LWB Series 2a 1963 vintage 2.25 liter petrol, exiting on the Talawana track. He had no problems, putting it down to experience, tyre choice (Michelin xzys 750/16 14 ply tube type tyres) and correct tyre pressure.

The second time was in 2010 in a Peugeot 505 sedan, this time travelling north to south from Billiluna to Wiluna. The Peugeot is a vehicle Andy has long admired since his Sahara and Sub-Sahara days as an Overland Encounter truck driver, where these sturdy vehicles dominated in the sand. When he was given the Peugeot 505 for free, he just knew he had to take it down the Canning!

Travelling in convoy with two other vehicles, an old 1969 47 Series Toyota Landcruiser Troop Carrier and a Landrover Discovery, Andy picked up the hitchhiker, Gaynor Schoeman, in Billiluna Aboriginal Community.

The car was ‘bog’ standard apart from a sump guard and 100 litre fuel tank. It carried all its own fuel as well as Andy's water, food, camping gear etc. Andy was mindful of keeping the car light, but made room of the 6ft blonde hitchhiker! His goal, he declared, was to travel the length of the Canning Stock Route and at the end of it, be able to say that he had done it in a car, unassisted. Gaynor was delighted. A non conformist for company.

Sand mats, high lift jack and a Turfor hand winch with sand anchors, made up his recovery gear. For the most part, experienced driving had the Peugeot sailing over the 800 odd dunes with ease,  occasionally requiring a second run and once a third.  The sand mats were only used once when the car got bogged in loose sand at a well and on a rocky incline, the latter as a precaution where clearance may have presented a problem. The tyres were 195/14 Bridgestone light tyre trucks run at 10-12 PSI. No punctures were incurred. The Peugeot was finally retired in 2013 after clocking 490 000km and connecting with three kangaroos.

In 2013 Andy helped Gaynor by driving her the length of the CSR for a third time, this time from south to north, in his 47 Series Toyota Landcruiser, a second time for this old workhorse. The purpose of driving the Canning before the walk was to deposit vital food and water supplies every 21km, 70 drops over 1657km. On arrival in Billiluna, Gaynor and Andy said their goodbyes, Andy returning to Kalgoorlie and Gaynor to begin her walk. Andy again collected her in Wiluna when she finished her walk.

This walk was only possible through Andy's contribution of time, vehicle, fuel, experience and patience. Thank you Andy!

Today, Andy is working as a truck mechanic/fitter and turner in Laverton, Western Australia.

Due to the number of ex-Overland friends wanting to contact Andy, I am supplying his direct contact details for expediency.

Contact:  Andy Sutcliffe

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: +61 42 819 6306

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