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Lucindale Survivors survive and conquer Shitbox Rally

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Erin McWaters, Naracoorte Community News

In November 2022, Shannon and Erin were handed the keys to the Autumn 2021 Shitbox Rally AU Falcon of local Lucindale Survivors Rohan Giles and Andrew Wilks, and began their fundraising campaign to get the face-lifted Sherlee the Shitbox off the Port Douglas start-line on October 13th 2023 for the Spring 2023 Rally, bound for Adelaide via Birdsville.

Fundraising for the Cancer Council was the purpose, with a minimum $5k required to start the Rally with 250 other Shitboxes form all over Australia and NZ. A massive goal of $50k was pencilled-in for the team, but deep down, raising more than the previous amazing $70k that Rohan and Andrew raised, was the real target.

Following multiple local fundraisers including a Golf Day, Cocktail Party, Lamb Cram and a Goods & Services Auction, and generous support from locals, family and friends, over $90k had been raised when landing in Pt Douglas. Rally organisers were on the phone advising that the record for an individual team in the Rally’s 13 year, 32 Rally history was $102,050. Lucindale Survivors quickly set their eyes to the big prize, wanting desperately to crack the $100k, but more importantly, to break the record, which would be a stellar effort for the little ol’ town of Lucindale and its supporters.

Blue skies greeted Sherlee on day 1 of the Rally in Pt Douglas, with 500 excited ralliers gathering at the start-line for a cooked breakfast and briefing. As Lucindale Survivors were now sitting in the +$95k area, well ahead of the field with fundraising, Sherlee was first off the line, along with 6 other cars in our Buddy Group 20. Apart from missing the first corner, a right rear puncture, no Air-con and a passenger side window that did not go down, we made the trek out to night 1 at Einasleigh in good stead.

The fee required by each team covers camping and meals, which included cooked dinner, breakfast and packed a lunch at each stop throughout the journey, supporting the local groups, as well as pumping some much needed cash into the local economy over the bar, and at the Servo’s.

Night 2 was at Winton in Outback QLD, followed by Windorah on night 3, which welcomed the Rally family with only a couple of fuel bowsers, resulting in a fuel line about 3 blocks long. Day 4 was to Birdsville via Betoota, which was one of Erin’s favourite spots. At Dinner at the Birdsville Hotel, fellow Shitbox Buddy Group 1, along with many others, rustled up the money to tick the Lucindale Survivors over the record of $102,050! The whole Rally was elated and couldn’t wrap their heads around the amount raised from such a small town in country South Australia. The response to every question about how the Lucindale Survivors did it, was simply the amazing community that is Lucindale, and the unwavering support from family and friends.

The Birdsville Track was the challenge on day 5, a water crossing, a little refreshment pit-stop at Mungerannie Pub, a clamped on handbrake which was dealt with by means of an angle grinder, and onto Marree for the coldest overnight temp for the Rally. Day 6, in Shannon’s book, was the most picturesque, travelling through Leigh Creek for fuel, Parachilna and the Prairie Hotel for one off the wood. Then off the beaten track weaving through the Flinders Ranges, around to Blinman and across to the beautiful final night’s destination of Rawnsley Park, with the challenge of emptying our eskys, and enjoying a delicious meal at the Woolshed Restaurant, a 40 min walk away from the Camp!

Final day sadness kicked in when the option was given to either buy back our Car for $250, or enter it in to Manheim Auctions on Saturday morning. Off to Orroroo, through the Clare Valley and into Adelaide to the Finish line on ANZAC Highway. A hot shower and an early night ensued, then off to the Auction at Elizabeth on Saturday morning to watch some of the other cars get sold, as Sherlee was purchased back for historical purposes.

Presentations were held at the Adelaide Oval, where the Lucindale Survivors were awarded Highest Fundraisers, along with being nominated for the “Spirit of the Rally”, the most prestigious award given. Celebrations followed with all the teams; ones that made it, ones that had to hitch a ride, teams that won awards, including best breakdown and best fix and of course the trusty Support Crew!

Shannon and Erin would sincerely like to thank everyone who supported us along the way, helping to break the record with over $105,500 raised, meet an amazing new bunch of people, and have an absolute blast!

What was the take-away from our first rally, “yep, we’ll be doing that again”!

Naracoorte Community News 6 December 2023

This article appeared in the Naracoorte Community News.

Related story: Car rally set to beat all time fundraising record for cancer research: Shitbox Rally

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