Words by Daniel Borton.
Most of you who know me will have heard about my adventures on the Shitbox Rally. I’ve done two before, in 2017 with my sister circumnavigating the south island of New Zealand in a Mitsubishi Galant after spending 2 hours decorating it to try and look like a ship, and in 2019 driving from Melbourne to Townsville via Birdsville in a Ford Focus with no air conditioning with a paint job inspired by Piet Mondrian.
Next year Anthony Wiseman and I will be participating in the first ever Shitbox Rally Summer heading from Rockhampton to Hobart via the Great Artesian Basin. We’ve called our team Not a V8 after the fact that we both drive 3 cylinder cars as daily driver’s. It’ll be in March next year (technically Autumn, but there’s already a Shitbox Rally Autumn) giving us 9 months to raise more than $5,000 for cancer research.
The Shitbox Rally is the biggest fundraising community partner for the Cancer Council having ticked over more than $30 million since the first rally in 2010. It was started by James Freeman who lost both his parents to cancer less than a year apart. At the time he wanted to do something to make a difference, and has created an event that has not only raised millions to fund cancer research, it’s also made a huge difference to many of the participants.
The idea of the Shitbox Rally is that you take a car worth less than $1500, keep it as standard as you can aside from safety equipment and decorations, and drive it 3000-4000 through the outback with 250 or so other teams and 20-30 support teams. But to be able to go on it, you’ve got to raise more than $5000 for cancer research.
One of the great things is that the rally gets 500 people fundraising each rally, and small events and small donations collected by a team all add up to over $5000. Each team combined raises a little over $2 million a rally, and three Shitbox Rallies plus one Mysterybox Rally a year raise will raise close to $8 million a year for cancer research.
It’s amazing fun, but lots of effort to prepare the car, do all the fundraising and everything else that’s required.
Covid caused the 2020 rallies to be cancelled the 2021 rallies to shrink significantly due to lockdowns and border restrictions and closures, some of which even went up while teams were en route to the start line. In the two years, fundraising was down more than $7 million. That’s $7 million less for cancer research. They want to try and make up what they can so are now running a third rally in 2023, Shitbox Rally Summer.
If you’re interested in doing a rally, register on their website. Once you’re registered, each time they open registrations for the rally you get an email, and decide whether to put your hand up for that. There’s usually too many people wanting to go, so places are allocated based on when you first registered your name on the database. It’s brilliant fun, you’ll meet great new people, see amazing places, and make a difference with the money raised for cancer research.
Over the next 9 months, we’ll be running some fundraisers, including movie nights to watch a documentary on the rally’s 5th anniversary. If you’d like to donate or find out more, you can go to our fundraising page or search Not a V8 Shitbox Rally on Facebook and follow our page.