4 March 2022

Riverina town of Hay is the starting point for 2022 Shitbox Rally

| Edwina Mason
Start the conversation
Shitbox Rally

For the first time in its history, the Shitbox Rally changes routes departing from the western Riverina town of Hay on 26 March. Photo: 2019 Shitbox Rally.

After a two year wait due to COVID, 500 people in teams of two driving cars worth less than $1000 will depart the western Riverina in late March to take part in a rally that can only be explained in colourful language.

Let’s rip the Bandaid off and call it what it really is – the Shitbox Rally.

That’s what less than $1000 will buy you – a vehicle of poor quality, usually old and decrepit, that others might say is a lemon, but hopefully fit for the task of long-range travel.

The idea is that each team needs to find a Shitbox and prepare it for the rally without spending more than $1000 on it.


A shitbox is a rally of poor quality, usually old and decrepit that others might say is a lemon. Photo: 2019 Shitbox Rally.

When the cars leave Hay on March 26, they will take a route through remote and isolated land to cross a finish line seven days later in Adelaide, South Australia, having travelled more than 3200 kilometres.

The teams – who travel to Australia from all over the world – are also required to raise money for the Cancer Council.

Since its inception in 2010, the Shitbox Rally has grown to become the single largest fundraising event for the Cancer Council, collecting more than $1 million annually.

With more than $28.3 million raised since the rallies began, the $2 million target for this year’s rally is well in sight with current fundraising sitting at more than $1.67 million.

James Freeman founded Box Rallies – Shitbox and Mystery Box Rally – after losing both his parents to cancer within 12 months of each other.

“Shitbox Rally is not a race, but a reward for fundraising efforts,” he said.

“This is a chance to explore Australia, drawing teams from around the country to help achieve the extraordinary.”

This year’s event really breaks the mould.

“After having to postpone Shitbox Rally – normally held in spring – for another year, I was totally fed up and knew the teams were too,” James said.

“For two years they had been waiting to rally, I wasn’t prepared to wait another full year, so decided to do the spring rally in March.


The rally takes participants along remote roads less travelled. Photo: 2019 Shitbox Rally.

“There are a lot of firsts for this rally, which is amazing after 19 Shitbox rallies,” he said.

Departing from their traditional Mackay to Darwin route, the 2022 Shitbox Rally is the first to depart outside of a major city and definitely the first to start in a small country town.

“We can’t stay with the original route due to the wet season, so I had to come up with something else,” James said.

“Every stop on this route is at a place I love, and travels through some incredible places.

READ ALSO Mandi is stepping out to help people living with dementia

“Plus, a whopping 80 per cent of the rally will be on unsealed roads,” James said.

Which will really test the mettle and metal of each team and their vehicle.

James said the impact of COVID in 2020 and 2021 had made it particularly difficult for teams to fundraise and Box Rallies had seen its expected fundraising total for the period cut by as much as $7.2 million.

“Rallies are the reward for raising vital funds for cancer research but when the reward is unable to take place, the fundraising slows considerably,” he said.

Money raised through the box rallies fund some of the most exciting cancer research projects across the country – with the highest potential to significantly impact those affected by cancer.

They sit behind Australia’s most prestigious health and medical funding body – the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) –funded by the Australian government and regarded as the pinnacle for vital funding from ground-breaking cancer research projects attracting more than 2700 applicants each year.

For the first time in 2019, Box Rallies funded the next highest-ranked grants after the NHMRC.


Cars of all shapes and ages make up the Shitbox Rally fleet. Photo: 2019 Shitbox Rally.

These projects are across the entire cancer journey – investigating the causes of cancer, how to prevent, detect and treat cancer and how to support people as they adjust to life after a cancer diagnosis.

Among the teams are a bunch of Canberra and Queanbeyan crews who you can support by clicking on this link.

Goulburn will be represented by Simon Hall & David Mexted (aka Brothers from Other Mothers) in a 1992 Toyota Camry Executive and Paul Kuster and Eric Patatoukos (aka Haraki Bro’s (sic)).

Ken Lewis & Skye Lewis (aka Jumbuk) from Collector are also joining the rally and the South Coast will be represented by Merimbula’s Eric Godward and Martin Prebble (aka Keeping Blokes Afloat) in an AU Falcon and Sam and Bo Rowbotham (aka Thirst Response) of Ulladulla.

The Riverina is represented by Griffith’s Zaydin Barnes and Terry Rebetzke (aka The Farmers), while Brad and Daniel Clark (aka Is that a GT?) from Wagga Wagga will front up in a BA Falcon as well as Ben and Bonnie Heidrich (aka Ruby Soho).

Snowy Valleys shire includes Mark Pearce & Andrew Bell (aka Peabell) of Adelong and Tom Corra and Juli Darduin (aka The Thirst Aiders) of Tumbarumba.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.