The Road Boss Rally wrapped up its huge interstate charity event at Gunnedah with the fundraising total nearing $200,000.

The outback rally started in Westmar, Queensland, and finished at Porcupine Lookout as about 40 brilliantly bright rally cars completed the marathon trek ‘Down the Darling River’.

Much of the rally course was sited on bush tracks and back roads, which made for challenging conditions for those involved who hailed from across Australia.

All was in support of not-for-profit organisation GIVIT – the rally’s beneficiary of choice for the last six years.

“It is incredibly generous,” GIVIT founder Juliette Wright said post-event in Gunnedah.

“One hundred per cent of those funds assist us to help 4500 charities across Australia.

“We make sure charities big and small receive items they need for their communities in and out of disaster periods.”

Event coordinator Jamie Lawson is  somewhat of legendary figure on the charity rally scene. 

The Alice Springs resident has been staging rally events for about two decades. He said the Road Boss course was unapologetically tough for both participants and organisers.

“If I challenge myself, I challenge my entrants and that sets us apart,” Jamie said. 

“It’s not easy but it’s not meant to be.” 

He recalled how a sandy creek crossing on one of the rally’s final days brought out the best in “mateship” among participants.

“It was difficult to get across but we do that on purpose because it’s good for the team … you have to be smart and safe,” he said.

A massive rain event at the same time as the rally caused some headaches for organisers.

“We had 12 months of planning which had to change in about 12 hours,” Jamie said.

“It is pretty hard pulling it together. There is the planning and mapping, then add a massive rain event on top of it, we had to improvise, remap, recreate and reroute. 

“Fortunately, we had an experienced team of officials with us, so we made light work of it.”

Best of all, the rally has doubled its fundraising effort.

“We were aiming for $100,000 but it looks like we’re going to raise about $200,000,” he said.

Brisbane-based father and son duo, Clive and Matthew Gray, were the rally’s top fundraising team.

The Queensland engineers raised $26,500 for this year’s event to add to their already generous fundraising total.

“My son and I have been rallying since 2019 and we’ve raised $150,000 in five years for GIVIT,” dad, Clive said.

“I’ve supported a lot of charities over the years and I like how GIVIT is run, the transparency of it, everything I give goes to someone.”

Also arriving at the Gunnedah finish line was veteran rally campaigner, John Leadbetter, and his wife Glenys. She was along for her first Road Boss Rally. 

John grinned as he recounted his involvement charity rally drives through the decades.

“Thirty-five years, 36 rallies, a total of about 285,000km and 380 days sleeping on the ground beside the car,” he said

“It is not the sort of thing sane people do but we raise a lot of money for good causes.

“It doesn’t hurt to give a bit back.”

Amazingly, John had completed all rallies with the same car – his faithful 1968 XT Falcon.

“The car was built three months before I left school and I’m 70 year this year,” he said.

And it did it go the distance again this time? You bet it did!

“The only thing that fell off it was mud,” John quipped.

One of the most recognisable teams on this year’s rally was Col Desbrow and Bob Grant, or as many knew them ‘Woody and Woody Junior’.

The Queensland duo said the outfits not only matched their car name but also served a practical purpose as well.

“The car is called the Red Bull, and we have a bit of cowboy thing going on, and everybody loves Woody,” Col said.

“The good thing is you get to wear the same clothes all week.”

The pair has been taking part in charity rallies for about 20 years but only came together for this one two days before the event.

GIVIT said requests for help to the organisation have increased in recent years as people struggle with financial hardship and from consecutive natural disasters.

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