Seniors Get in the Race Spirit with Gophers

Seniors, including a retired nun invoking the spirit of Sister Mary MacKillop, drove their gophers like Formula One cars yesterday, taking part in a "gopher muster".

A dozen seniors took part in the time trial race in compact, electric mobility devices at the South Perth Senior Citizens Centre and among them was Sister Julie O’Sullivan of the St Joseph’s Convent in South Perth.

She had decorated her gopher in honour of the founder of the St Joseph’s order and the woman soon to become Australia’s first saint.

Sister O’Sullivan said she was confident going into yesterday’s race and that she was sure Mary MacKillop was on her side.

"I’m sure she will be," she said. "These (gophers) weren’t invented in her time so she had to ride a horse when there was a sister very sick and she needed to race off to help her."

But the winner was Harold Clay of South Perth who completed each of the three laps of the carpark in an average time of 47 seconds.

Centre president Bill Grayden said it was the second year the gopher race had been held and there was great excitement and a spirit of competition between the members.

The centre has been providing activities such as a Meals on Wheels service to the community in South Perth for more than 50 years.

Reprinted with permission from the The West Australian March 29, 2010
Article written by Daniel Hatch
Picture: John Mokrzycki