Would you drive from Melbourne to Townsville via Birdsville, in just a week, in a $1000 car?
Canberra’s Michael Wallace and Scott Sheppard are attempting to do just that. Starting on Saturday, 19 October, they’ll embark on the 3,614 km journey from Melbourne to Townsville via outback Queensland on some of Australia’s most formidable roads.
It is all part of the ‘Shitbox Rally’, challenging participants in 250 cars, worth no more than $1,000, to a 7-day drive across Australia to raise money for cancer research.
The rally is not a race. It’s designed to be a fun adventure, with participants travelling at their own pace in smaller groups. Vehicles often breakdown, meaning entrants have to live by the rally motto ‘we never leave anyone behind’. Participants spend each night camping beneath the stars and celebrating the day’s achievements.
Many participants are drawn to the rally after experiencing cancer themselves or seeing cancer impact family and friends, just like Michael and Scott from Wanniassa who will be driving a not-so-fancy 1998 Volvo S70 in the rally.
“This is an event that we have been on the waiting list to participate in for a few years. We are known as ‘Rallye Team Passé’, which loosely translated means a team of unfashionable rally enthusiasts,” Scott said.
Michael and Scott settled on their Volvo after an extensive search. Unfortunately $1000 cars come with a built-in liability: unreliability. The car has broken down a couple of times already. With the support of their sponsors, they feel they now have the car in mechanical order.
“We have had work done and we are happy so far. There may be problems with the suspension or other structural issues but we will have to deal with that on the road. The rally is fully supported with tow vehicles, mechanics and medical support, so we are not too worried. We are probably more concerned with the camping arrangements. I have a motto that I like to sleep under stars – five stars,” Scott said.
The duo are dedicating their participation in the event to Michael’s daughter, Olivia, who passed away in 2008 due to blood cancer. Around 710 children aged under 14 are diagnosed with cancer in Australia every year and 100 will die from the disease.
“This is the 10th year of the event and we are really looking forward to being part in the largest community-led fundraiser for the Cancer Council in Australia,” Scott said.
“We have both lost family, friends and loved ones to this horrible disease and despite it being common these days it doesn’t make it any easier when you lose loved ones.”
Rubik3 are enthusiastic supporters of Scott and Michael’s adventure across Australia.
“When Scott approached us to donate to his cause, we immediately said that we will sponsor part of the car. It is not just a saying: everyone is touched by cancer at some stage in their life,” Rubik3 Associate Partner Nadia Pessarossi explained.
“For us, it is about relationships. We knew Scott professionally and we are always happy to support such an important cause. I have sat in the radiation ward at the Canberra Hospital, let me tell you, that phone does not stop ringing and the amount of people that come in and out for treatment is eye-opening, shocking and sad. The more research and funds that can go toward the battle of cancer the better,” Nadia said.
Scott and Michael had hoped to raise $10,000 for the Cancer Council and have been overwhelmed by the generosity of friends and colleagues. “We had to raise a minimum of $5,000 to participate and we thought we may have to put in $2,500 each ourselves but the response has been amazing. We are very grateful for the support,” Scott said.
Find more information, or to donate to Michael Wallace and Scott Sheppard’s adventure, head to the Rallye Team Passé page.