Michael ‘Borgy’ Borg has been a journalist and presenter in the 4WD industry for close to 10 years. Borgy started out as a writer and tester for 4WD Action before moving on to being the editor of Camper Australia magazine and is now a presenter on The Offroad Adventure Show. Hema is pleased to be a navigation partner of The Offroad Adventures Show's new series which kicks off this Sunday (21 February) at 1pm on Channel 10.
(Image: Hema is pleased to be a navigation partner of The Offroad Adventures Show's new series which kicks off this Sunday 21st February, at 1pm on Channel 10.)
Q. You've had a varied career in a competitive industry. What have been your career highlights to date?
A. There have been so many highlights. The first time I ever graced the screen with my ugly mug for a 4WD Action DVD was right up there with the best of them. The first victory is always the sweetest!. After following their magazine and DVD’s for years, watching Roothy and Graham Cahill travel Australia and getting inspired to hit the road myself, personally presenting one of their DVD’s was something I never thought I’d end up doing. Although deep down I also hoped that I would be in their shoes one day.
Then there was time I met a fan of my work up at the tip of Cape York Peninsula, which was perhaps the most gratifying moment I’ve had. He explained that the words in my article were the motivation he needed to overcome some serious problems in his life and were the reason he was able to embark on the trip of his lifetime. For me, I got paid at that moment. That’s why I do what I do, to inspire people to really suck the guts out of life.
Q. As someone who makes a living travelling, how did you keep yourself busy in a tough 2020?
A. I built an old 12m school bus into a motorhome! Yep, I somehow convinced myself that despite living on the road for a good 6 months of the year, I don’t travel enough. So, I bought an old school bus and got to work converting it into a “Skoolie’, which is essentially a cross between a motorhome and a tiny house. Isolation does funny things to a man, I tell ya.
I took a minimalistic approach to the build process and constructed all the cabinetry out of pallet wood and scrap I found on my property. It offered quite the “farm-house” feel.
Check out “Skoolies Of Australia” on FaceBook or Instagram if you want to see what the whole Skoolies revolution is all about.
(Image: "I do what I do, to inspire people to really suck the guts out of life.")
Q. Your new series of The Offroad Adventure Show starts this week, how does the State of Origin competition work?
A. Well, the “Offroad State of Origin” is essentially an all-out grudge match between QLD and NSW, just like the footy (Go the Blues!). Except for us, each state's team consists of two show hosts that are fiercely passionate about their home state. Each week the teams are set a challenge to fulfill, and the audience gets to cast their vote online to determine which team's adventure they like the most, AKA the winner!
For example, one week the challenge may be to show Australia who has the best low-range track to tackle, or who has the best beaches to camp on. It should make for some awesome TV, especially when NSW kicks QLDs butt! Ten points for guessing who’s team I’m on, eh?
Q. Any advice for those starting out in 4WDriving?
A. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to find a few experienced and like-minded friends to go and tackle the tracks with. You’ll pick-up a heck of a lot from watching what they do along the way, and it’ll ensure there’s always help nearby if something doesn’t go to plan. Don’t have anyone in your circle to go wheeling with? Join one of the hundreds of 4WD clubs that are out there and would be more than happy to show you the ropes. It sure beats getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with no clue about how to unpickle the pickle you got yourself into. I’ve seen that happen way too many times…
(Image: "This year has been all about The Offroad Adventure Show’s “State Of Origin” series.")
Q. Hema’s motto is ‘prepared to explore’, but of course, things don’t always go to plan; what’s something you’ve encountered on a trip you could never have prepared for?
A. Ahh, and a good motto it is. I always try to be prepared, maybe it’s the “Boy Scout” in me. Truth is, you can be prepared for anything, it just depends on where you draw the line.
I remember years ago I had just tackled the Balfour Track on the West Coast of Tassie. It’s a remote, notoriously rugged stretch of track that is basically one big swamp to navigate your way through. This particular day was absolutely freezing cold. I mean, it literally started hailing ice and the wind chill was enough to make a grown man cry. Then, trouble struck. The main bolt that held the Panhard Rod to the front diff on my 80 series LandCruiser fell out along the track somewhere. That basically meant the differential housing was not held in place, causing it to wonder from side to side and making it extremely dangerous to drive. It turned out the rear tow ball pin was the perfect size to thread through the hole and keep it in place. But seriously, who would think to carry a specific spare bolt for that?
Then there was the time the wheel fell off the camper trailer in the middle of the bloody desert. It literally snapped the stub axle clean off! That was a slow drive back to camp with the camper trailer being dragged behind on a makeshift skid plate made from an old car bonnet!
Q. What are your most memorable tracks in Australia?
A. Billy Goats Bluff in the Victorian High Country. If you want a stupidly steep track with views that will knock the breath right out of you, this is the one. My second one would be Climies Track on the West Coast of Tassie. It’s a granite rock lined track that provides plenty of low-range obstacles whilst having the wickedly wild Southern Ocean as your vista the majority of the time. There’s one particularly challenging spot along the way that will have you chewing holes in your seat as you lift a wheel on the side of a massive cliff-drop. Definitely not for the faint hearted…
(Image: "I’ve had the original Hema 4WD Maps App loaded up since around 2007.")
Q. What's your most used and abused Hema product and what's the story behind it?
A. Well, I’ve got an old Ipad Tablet that I brought god-knows how long ago. I keep it loaded with Apps that I think will be useful out on the tracks. I’ve got applications that tell you what a specific type of plant is, how to tie different knots (a weak point of mine), all my favourite cooking recipes, and so on. I’m also what they call “directionally challenged”. So, of course I’ve had the original Hema 4WD Maps App loaded up since around 2007, I think.
That Application has honestly been invaluable over the years. For a bloke that could make two sticks seem like a computer, I find it super easy to navigate without the fancy features that confuse an old spanner jockey like myself. Between the Hema App and Google maps, it gets me where I need to be, even if the Ipad now has a permanent curve thanks to me sitting on it accidently for an hour or two in the 4WD. Now, whenever I ask my wife “where’s the Ipad'', she responds with “is it up your butt?”. I guess I earned that one, eh?
Q. Tell us a bit about the projects you’re working on at the moment, or any big trips you’re planning.
A. This year has been all about The Offroad Adventure Show’s “State Of Origin” series. With the Covid 19 pandemic creating all types of obstacles like unpredictable border closures, lock-downs and nation-wide panic it’s been quite the challenge to make a TV show happen. After all, what good is a TV program about touring around Australia when we can’t leave our houses half the time?
If it weren’t for our producer, Dave Luke, and the support of our sponsors such as Hema Maps we simply wouldn’t have a show this season. But alas, it looks like it’s coming together nicely!