S***box Rally 2016 – Perth to Coolgardie 1

Tuesday, Apr 26, 2016 at 23:46

Peter Beard (WA)

Taking off on a new adventure is always exciting. This year’s is very different from Pete and Ali’s previous adventures though. This time it’s the S***box Rally, an annual event that involves getting a two wheel drive car worth less than $1,000 from one point on the map to another a few thousand kilometres away in seven days over some of the worst roads in Australia.

There is always a purpose for everything though, and the purpose of the S***box Rally is to raise much-needed money for the Cancer Council to be spent on cancer research. This year alone the rally has already raised more than $1 million, and in the seven years the S***box Rally has been running it has raised close to $8 million.

In this year’s rally 200 teams have to get their less than $1,000 cars from Mackay in Queensland to Hobart in Tasmania, and not straight down the coastal highway either. From Mackay the rally heads south west into western Queensland before it turns south at Thargomindah in Queensland down to around Tilpa NSW where it turns roughly south east through the centre of NSW to Cootamundra, then south again though the Victoria High Country for an overnight stop at Dargo.

From Dargo the rally heads towards Melbourne to catch the ferry to Devonport, followed by a quick run via Cradle Mountain and Queenstown to the finish line in Hobart. Overnight stops from Mackay are at Blackall, Thargomindah, Tilpa, Cootamundra, Dargo, overnight on the Spirit of Tasmania, then Hobart.
Ali is not doing this adventure with Pete this time; she has very reluctantly handed over co-driver duties to Pete and Ali’s son Kris. Kris runs his own business and commitments mean he can’t take the extra time for the drive from Perth to Mackay, so Pete’s brother Paul drew the short straw and is accompanying Pete on the roughly 4,500 km road trip to Mackay. This will be the first time Pete and Paul have crossed the Nullarbor by car since 1972. Pete was 19 and Paul was just 13.

Pete and Kris’s weapon of choice for the 2016 S***box is a 1985 XF Falcon wagon, christened Henry the Ford because they didn’t want to insult it and tempt fate by referring to it as a s***box. When Pete and Kris bought it from a man on Gumtree it had nearly half a million kilometres on the clock. After a week or so someone noticed the odometer was not working so no-one knows exactly how many kilometres old Henry has actually travelled.

So tonight Pete and Paul are in Coolgardie for the night. They had planned to travel from Perth to via Hyden then across to Norseman to save a couple of hundred kilometres over the Great Eastern Highway option but when they got to Kondinin the road was closed due to flooding so it was up to Merredin and via Great Eastern Highway anyway. They had planned to overnight in Norseman but the unnecessary detour cost a few hours. So it’s an early start tomorrow to get back on Schedule; Hopefully Eucla tomorrow night.

Only one small problem with Henry today. On Brookton Highway a couple of hours out of Perth and in the middle of a rainstorm the wipers stopped working. It was a very hilly and windy section of the road and there was nowhere for Pete to pull over – even if he could see – so it was 15 to 12 kph with Paul with his head out of the passenger window getting soaked trying to find a place to pull over.

Once they found the problem, a bolt had worked its way loose and jammed the levers, they just had to rebuild the wiper mechanism in the rain on the side of of the highway. But hey, it's a S***box! It would be nice to think that’s the end of our problems, but 500 km into a 15,000 km trip in a car that cost $600? We can only hope!

To see the history of Pete and Kris attempts to get Henry into shape for the rally go to https://www.facebook.com/BeardiesBucket/. To get more information on the S***box Rally follow the links on the Facebook page. To help the Cancer Council make a difference in the fight against cancer follow the links to the donation page on Pete and Kris's Facebook page and click the Give Now button. It doesn’t matter how big or small your donation. Every little bit helps. Sorry for the obscure directions but the nannies that run ExploreOz seem to think Queen Victoria is still the monarch and s*** is still a naughty word.

More news tomorrow!


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