Words and Photos by Daniel Borton.
We’re counting down the days!……
There’s less than two months left until we depart for Rockhampton on a 6500+ kilometre adventure. That 6500 km includes the drive to the start line because I’m sure that will also highlight some issues with the car, especially with it fully loaded.
We’ve been researching the weights, and with the car and ourselves, we can only pack around 150kg of gear into the Alto before it exceeds its maximum gross vehicle mass. I guess a 3 cylinder Suzuki wasn’t really designed for a 6500km outback road trip from the top to the bottom of Australia.
We had our movie fundraiser in mid-January. Unfortunately, ticket sales were much lower than anticipated with only four tickets sold the day before, two of which couldn’t make it. With the very hot weather, we made the decision to move it to Anthony’s house and had another three people buying tickets on the day; we ended up having a wonderful night with the seven of us. After watching the movie, three of the attendees were all talking about registering for future years.
The rally has two fancy dress days, although some teams dress up every day. The first one has just been announced, Dress like a Pirate for the day we catch the Spirit of Tasmania from Geelong. The Spirit of Tasmania can take 500 cars and over 1000 passengers. There are going to be a few surprised people who just happened to book an overnight sailing on an inconspicuous Wednesday night in March, only to be joined by 550 pirates and 275 highly decorated cars.
By the time this is published, the car should be decorated and set to join the Motafrenz contingent in Pride March. There have been many ideas, but most have been struck out because of weight, weight when water gets added (soft toys and the like), or because they’re too sharp, or likely to fall off on a corrugated road traveling at 100km an hour.
We’ve also been thinking about how to pack. The upside of the Geelong stopover is that we can get away with only packing for the trip up and the first five days of the rally. But we’ll still need our tents, sleeping bags, clothes for almost two weeks, water for the week, 40 litres of fuel, 2 spare wheels and a few other bits and pieces.
You’re supposed to keep your back seat empty in case anyone in your buddy group breaks down. Their luggage can go in a luggage trailer the rally has, and they sit in another car in their buddy group for the rest of the rally. There are usually some utes, convertibles, vans or other two-seaters on the rally, and plenty of teams have a bit of luggage on the back seat as well. But in reality, no one is going to want to sit in the back seat of an Alto. Every other car with a back seat will be picked first.
So we’re thinking of ditching the roof racks and roof baskets, dropping the back seats and putting everything into the car. This will help keep our luggage weight down closer to that 150kg, particularly given the spare fuel and water will take up around half of that 150kg.
Worst case scenario if someone does get stuck in the back seat of the Alto, we can put our jerry cans and tyres on someone else’s roof racks, and our passengers can share the back seat with sleeping bags and water.
If you want to be able to follow our journey on the rally, you can follow our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NotAV82023. We’ll post the photo’s we’ve taken for the day whenever we have coverage, as well as a link to our tracking, so you can see where we are each day when we’re on the rally.