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Rally drivers up for the S#@tty challenge

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“It’s going to be one heck of an adventure.”

More than 250 teams will kick-start their Shitbox Rally Autumn 2023 campaigns from Newcastle this weekend as they journey to Townsville via Betoota.

Of that number, almost one-fifth of the participants hail from the Hunter, representing areas such as Charlestown, Mitchells Flat, Fern Bay, North Rothbury, Speers Point, Teralba, Belmont, East Maitland, Metford, Chisholm, Branxton, Thornton, Bolwarra Heights, Mayfield, Broke, Waratah, Cessnock, Stroud, Ashtonfield, Lambton, Maitland and Gillieston Heights – all focused on amassing money for the Cancer Council.

But, here’s the catch… the cars must be 2WD and worth less than $1,500 – a “Shitbox”, hence the name of the rally.

The vehicles will leave the former steel city, Honeysuckle Carpark, on Saturday 13 May.

Then after seven days of driving on dusty, mostly unsealed roads – through Nyngan, Packsaddle, Innamincka, Betoota, Yaraka and Hughenden, they’ll cross the finish line in Townsville on Friday 19 May.

Their goal is $2 million with teams already raising more than $1.8 million.

Overall, the event’s accumulated $37 million since its beginning in 2010.

“The Shitbox Rally is not a race, but a reward for fundraising efforts,” said James Freeman OAM, who founded Box Rallies after losing both of his parents to cancer within 12 months of each other.

“This is a chance to explore Australia, drawing teams from around the country to help achieve the extraordinary. 

“After 13 years of rallying, we are still bringing out some ‘firsts’ for this route.

“It’s the first time we are starting from Newcastle and the first time we will have Betoota as an official stopover. 

“As always, The Outback delivers, with a truly spectacular route in place, incredible scenery and hospitality. 

“With every rally I am always excited to show our participants the wonders of the places we travel through and to. 

“The incredible experiences along the way and the challenges associated with driving a $1,500 car on these remote Outback tracks. 

“The rally brings people together from all over the country.

“Many have been affected by cancer in one way or another, whether it be family, friends or themselves personally.

“The rally not only wants to raise awareness and money for Cancer Council but also wants to offer support and a friendly ear to those that have suffered or are suffering.

“And, thanks to 13 years of fundraising, the organisation has been able to fund ground-breaking cancer research projects.”

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