An outback rally to fight cancer

Sarah Luke

MEET the Country Road Rattlers — the duo gearing up to take on 5150 kilometres of red, dusty four-wheel drive track, from Perth to Sydney, via Uluru, all in a $200 trade-in Toyota Camry.

Some people will do anything to raise money for cancer research.

In May, Maffra’s Tanya Read and Nathan Smith will join a convoy of 250 other teams in the tenth annual Sh*tbox Rally, which raises money for the Cancer Council.

The fun-loving pair has taken the rally’s core message — not taking the serious task of raising money for cancer research too seriously — and run with it.

The car still needs a few tweaks — a gasket here, some fuzzy dice there — but luckily, has been so intricately painted by Maffra Business and Tourism Association president Marcus Stobie that no-one seems to notice.

With a loo on the bonnet and a ‘500 kilometres to Wolf Creek’ sign on the back, the car has already made quite the impression around town.

And of course, the duo will dress for the occasion, strapping on matching cowboy boots, hats and shirts for the cause.

The rally requires vehicles valued at less than $1000 to take to the toughest roads in the country, and has raised more than $14.7 million since its inception.

The 500-strong convoy will leave Perth on May 8, travelling to Tjukayirla, Warakurna, Uluru, Oodnadatta, Copley, Cameron Corner, Louth and Cudgegong, and should reach Sydney by May 17 — the longest trip in the rally’s history.

The trip is certainly not about creature comforts.

Participants drive by day, pushing their cars to the absolute limit (and beyond), communicating via CB radio, and sleep by swag beside the car at night.

Every car is fitted with special truck tyres and has to have a certain type of suspension, just to cope with the tough terrain.

Each team is made up of two drivers and one car — just so there’s plenty of extra room for passengers of machines that don’t manage the entire journey.

To participate, each team must raise a minimum of $5000, but the Rattlers have set their sights on at least $8000.

“Everybody knows someone who was or is affected by cancer, and that’s the main reason why we’re doing it,” Nathan said.

“We are ridiculously excited,” Tanya added.

“After many years of crossing our fingers and legs, we are finally taking part in an adventure of a lifetime while raising a bucket load of money for cancer research.”

The pair will host a fundraising sponsor night at Sale Greyhound Club on Sunday, December 9.

There are still a few spots left to sponsor a race — each race is $200, with the sponsor receiving a $25 venue voucher in return.

Those wishing to sponsor, donate directly or who would just like keep up the Country Road Rattlers’ progress during the lead up to the rally can visit the team’s Facebook page or website.