What drives you?

Rally makes most of scenery while help­ing oth­ers out

Life & Style Weekend - - READ - BY Vicki Wood

ARMED with swags and spare parts, lots of char­ac­ters in 55 ve­hi­cles set off west­ward across Queens­land. The ve­hi­cles were lined up to tackle the sec­ond an­nual Road Boss Rally, which was full of steep as­cents and de­scents, wa­ter cross­ings and mag­nif­i­cent scenery, with the in­tent to raise funds for Givit.

Road Boss Rally or­gan­iser Jamie Law­son has been run­ning these events for 30 years.

“My dad has been in­volved in car ral­lies since the 1950s and back then it was se­ri­ous ral­ly­ing,” he said.

“As it evolved he re­alised there was a need for peo­ple who loved their cars, loved the bush and all as­pects of the tri­als but weren’t re­ally in­ter­ested in the rac­ing side.”

And the En­deav­our Rally was formed.

Two years ago, Jamie changed the name to Road Boss Rally and has taken on Givit as the or­gan­i­sa­tion to sup­port.

“We found Givit quite by ac­ci­dent but it is the perfect fit for us,” Jamie said.

Givit is a not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion run through a web­site where they have a data­base of do­na­tions to con­nect with peo­ple who re­ally need it.

Jamie and his wife Michelle spend all year work­ing on the rally. They map out the course, gain ac­cess to prop­er­ties and de­cide on the lo­ca­tions to stop at each night.

His love of the Aus­tralian out­back, the cul­ture and the peo­ple draws him to the places, mak­ing no two ral­lies the same.

“It al­lows us to not just visit but get be­neath the sur­face and find the core and the cul­ture of Aus­tralia and who we are,” Jamie said.

Through­out the day, the par­tic­i­pants test their skills and knowl­edge off the beaten track.

They glimpse the Aus­tralian land­scape and see many places where tourists rarely go. This year the group trav­elled from Glad­stone to Tam­worth and stopped at the Bou­lia Camel Races. The rally leaves a last­ing eco­nomic foot­print along the way. Lo­cal busi­nesses feed the crews and many hold auc­tions or raf­fles to help the com­mu­nity fur­ther.

Road Boss has raised more than $500,000 in two years for Givit, whose founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Juliette Wright had not part­nered with any­one since form­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion in 2010.

“There are so many gen­er­ous peo­ple who mix their love of char­ity with their love of go­ing to wild places over land in their very en­ter­tain­ing cars,” Juliette said.

She re­alised there was a need for Givit when she tried to do­nate her son’s baby clothes to a lo­cal char­ity.

“Not one char­ity would take the clothes,” Juliette said.

“They get the pick of the bunch of baby clothes from Lifeline and Salvos and lots of peo­ple do­nate baby clothes, but no one do­nates the crib or work boots so the fa­ther can get a job, or the iron­ing board.”

Juliette cre­ated Givit to fill that gap. The or­gan­i­sa­tion con­nects peo­ple with real items through the hun­dreds of char­ity groups con­nected to Givit. Juliette and her team are still hand­ing out do­na­tions they pur­chased with last year’s funds and the rally par­tic­i­pants wit­nessed their gen­eros­ity along the way.

In Glad­stone, they do­nated a wheel­chair to a 14-year-old girl with se­vere arthri­tis.

In Mut­taburra, they do­nated iPads to the kinder­garten. Prin­ci­pal Tanya Bam­bling said she was ex­cited by the gift. “They are cur­rently us­ing my iPad from home,” she said.

“So this is a very valu­able source for our young ones to learn on.”

Many other drop-offs were made along the way, in­clud­ing a wash­ing ma­chine, sport­ing equip­ment and a num­ber of ap­pli­ances.

For many of the rally crew this is their favourite part, see­ing the re­sponse from those they are sup­port­ing.

Heather Christie knows well the ef­fects of help­ing as she spends her days sup­port­ing char­ity groups, in­clud­ing the

Caloun­dra RSL. She has been ral­ly­ing in her 1966 HR Holden since 2009 and loves the ad­ven­ture. “It is a fun way of giv­ing your­self a pat on the back and hav­ing time out of the 12 months of fundrais­ing and vol­un­teer­ing

for the char­ity,” Heather said.

“A lit­tle hol­i­day for us and we get to see where our money

goes.” A com­mon thread for many of the par­tic­i­pants is the ca­ma­raderie and be­ing able to help.

John Led­bet­ter, as the res­i­dent me­chanic, was also on hand to help. The Toowoomba res­i­dent, who has par­tic­i­pated in the

rally since its in­cep­tion, did not raise as much money as oth­ers but said he at­tempted to help out in other ways. “Per­son­ally, I think the rally is good and we are do­ing some­thing for char­ity,” John said. “I have had 34 peo­ple do the trip with me over the years and

three of them have con­tin­ued on with their own cars.

“This has been my way of giv­ing back and I work on other

peo­ple’s cars while on the rally.” Many cars have needed tweaks and John said he spends hun­dreds of hours do­ing repet­i­tive work to main­tain his 1968 XT V8 Fal­con that has come on ev­ery trip with him.

The next rally will go from the Story Bridge in Bris­bane to Booli­gal in the NSW Rive­rina, via the mighty Mur­ray River,

start­ing on July 9 next year.

As it evolved he re­alised there was a need for peo­ple who loved their cars, loved the bush and all as­pects of the tri­als but weren’t re­ally in­ter­ested in the rac­ing side.


The view of the plains on the road from Win­ton to Bou­lia.


En­trants set up camp in Bou­lia.


Givit founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Juliette Wright and Road Boss Rally or­gan­iser Jamie Law­son.


Bon­nie and Clyde get stuck on a mound.

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