Welcome to the whole bag of crazy that is the Shitbox Rally. It’s a super-fun way to raise money for charity. This year, the event finishes up at the Gold Coast. And then, it starts from the Gold Coast again just a few days later!
This is not a race. It is a challenge to drive cars worth just less than $1,000 across Australia via some of the Outback’s most formidable roads. This is all in the name of raising money for cancer research.
The founder of the Shitbox Rally, James Freeman, started the event after losing both his parents to cancer within 12 months of each other. His amazing idea has now turned into a wildly expanding spectacle. Says Freeman, “In every rally, we drive to – and through – the Outback. But for Shitbox Rally Autumn 2021 we are starting there! This unusual route has us starting in the centre of Australia, travelling North initially to Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria before heading South East for the long drive to the Gold Coast.
Fifty per cent of the route is unsealed with plenty of river crossings to keep the teams challenged. Even the sealed road sections will be interesting and incredibly varied – from the red earth of Central Australia, to the Devil’s Marbles, to National Parks and to the mountainous terrain of the Great Dividing Range. There are plenty of challenges, plenty to see, and a huge amount to experience in just under 4,000 kilometres and seven days.”
The route in 2021 will cover over 3962 kilometres. In both the out and back legs, there will be 250 teams of 2, driving their wildly-decorated shitboxes. There will also be around 50 support personnel, who each pay their own way to make the rally a reality. All will traverse some of Australia’s dustiest, most iconic outback roads for seven days of fun, dust, and sweat. They will also be dressing up in some outrageous costumes – not just at night, but all day! Participants spend the entire day in costume. That’s breakfast, driving, repairing, and, if there’s a pub at the end, they are in costume for that as well!
This event is officially endorsed and supported by Cancer Council. Fundraising records continue to be broken year after year by the rally, with more than $20 million donated to Cancer Council since the event began in 2009.
NOT FOR EVERYONE
Interesting in applying? If you don’t like to get your hands dirty, or spend any time away from civilisation, this rally is not for you. This is a challenge for those who want to get their teeth into something meaningful and crave something different. Remember, you could be in the middle of Australia, miles from anywhere, trying to fix a split radiator hose with duct tape, string and pliers. You will be dirty, dusty, and maybe muddy…but you’ll still have a smile on your face, and you won’t be alone. There will be no motels, few showers, and you’ll be camping at every night. So you’ll need to bring plenty of wet wipes as well as your own tent, sleeping bag and mattress or swag. It’s an adventure in the true sense of the word.
Each team is made up of a car with two drivers. Back seats are kept clear so they can carry passengers when other shitboxes don’t manage the entire journey. That said though, the support crews will do absolutely everything within their power to get as many cars as possible to the finish line. The cars are an asset, donated by all the teams, and sold at a public auction the day after the rally ends.
END GOAL FOR SHITBOX RALLY
The Shitbox Rally is not a race; however awards are given at the end of the rally. There are awards decided in the early stages – such as the coveted “least likely to finish” trophy.
There’s an award given for the team (or individual) who is deemed to have gone the furthest above and beyond what would normally be expected the “Spirit of the Rally.” And there are awards for the highest fundraisers. For more information Jump onto shitboxrally.com.au. While you’re there, check out some amazing videos of past rallies. If you’re into social media, you can follow the action on Facebook and Instagram with the tag @shitboxrally. ■
Editor for Silver Magazine Gold Coast