2018 Outback Air Race - Woolorama Cockies

Wagin Woolorama 2018 Committee proudly sponsors the Wagin Woolorama Cockies and RFDS


More Information
Release #
9th January 2018
Gleny's Ball & Sue Forden
Ph: 0421631632, E: media@woolorama.com.au

Wagin Woolorama 2018 Committee proudly sponsors the Wagin Woolorama Cockies, 2 local farmer pilots, who will fly the Make Smoking History Woolorama logo across Australia in the 2018 August Outback Australian Air race (OAR). Flying with a new moniker and highlighting the celebrated Wagin Woolorama annual event, Previously the team raced as the Flying Cockies.

The Wagin Cockies are Greg Ball and Mike Taylor both of whom have a long family history in the district.  Mike’s ancestors arrived in the mid 1800’s which makes him 4th, and his two sons 5th generation.  The Ball family took up land in the district in 1913 making Greg 3rd generation, his son 4th, and grand kids 5th.  All up, they qualify completely as ‘locals’.

Greg and Mike have more in common than earlier times on the footy field and zest for flying.  Both are highly respected farmers with a lively interest in sporting groups, keen involvement in various community activities, and a strong commitment to family life. Greg’s married to Gleny's, Mike to Cheryl; two creative, competent women who support their farming families and give continuous service to the community. Greg and Mike also focus on raising funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) generously using their combined experience as pilots to support it.

Wagin life for these Cockies hasn’t been all serious stuff, rural life in WA is a balance of work/play/fun/crazy. A few years back, these two Larrikin's whipped up a fund raiser by winter swimming in the Wagin Town Drain (flood water catchment or Soak). The considerably chilly proceeds went to RFDS. To the disappointment of spectators, the swim has not become an annual event.

Greg wears several hats in Wagin from Deputy Shire President to uke strummer in ‘Sue and the Loose Strings’ band of ukulele and guitar players/singers. Catching their free gigs is well worth while, and any donations received are donated to the RFDS. Could the musical side of fellow Cockie Mike emerge in a song and help them sing the team across the outback in August?

Mike swears he hasn’t a ‘musical bone’ in his body but does admit being dubbed the Mayor of Wedgecarrup by Greg.  Taylor Road is easier to pronounce than Wedgecarrup, the district where the family farm mainly grain crops and run Merino sheep. At Christmas time Mike becomes ‘Santa’s sleigh’ flying Santa over town before the jolly man distributes kids’ gifts at Wagin’s Street Festival.

Greg and Mike, Wagin Woolorarma Cockies, are team 18 in OAR 2018, and from 19 to 31st Aug they will fly from Archerfield Qld to Broome WA.  Covering 3,940 km over approximately 14 days sharing the piloting and navigation, with 7 scheduled stops for refueling, accommodation, and festivities when the ukulele livens up the action. Regardless, OAR is a rigorous event requiring top notch flying skills and mutual respect between team members. Greg comments that when you spend over 50 flying hours in a small cockpit, it’s imperative to be with a likable, reliable mate!

Outback Air Race (OAR) is a GPS navigational time trial. Team points are gained by precise estimation of flying time, leg by leg, and requires Ace navigational skills. The event is held every three years, and has grown since inception in 1996.  OAR 2018 will host 43 teams and 102 participants, including one Kiwi team.

OAR is a prodigious undertaking by a volunteer Committee of ten, whose sole purpose is raising funds for RFDS. Over $2.1 million has been donated since 1996. The goal for OAR in 2018 is $500,000 from team entry fees, en-route fund raising, and donations to individual teams. The proceeds from 16 WA teams flow directly to RFDS and distributed back to the team’s home state.

Wagin Woolorama Cockies previously racing as Flying Cockies are taking to the OAR skies for the fourth time with Greg listed as Team Captain. He and Mike will fly Greg’s four seat Cessna 182Q series plane with the Make Smoking History Woolorama logo emblazoned on the side. The two Wagin farmers are grateful and proud of the opportunity to raise funds for the invaluable RFDS while promoting Smoke Free Wagin 46th Woolorama.  Our community can generously support these important, community events and back the Woolorama Cockies by going to their fundraising page below!!

Donations to RFDS:



Further Information:




Greg Ball     0428 611360 gregb7@bigpond.com

Mike Taylor  0429 622021    captay2@bigpond.com

My warm thanks to Greg, Gleny's, Mike, and OAR for providing a wealth of information for this article. Susan Forden

« Return to Media Releases