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Byron Shire
May 22, 2024

Dusty drivers raise more than a million for cancer research

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Clowning around with cars to raise money for cancer research. Photo by Jeff Vroom Vroom Dawson.

‘Two cars have been pronounced dead and I believe one got left at the pub’, said Mystery Box Rally commentator Katherine Ferris Monday morning.

OK, so Ms Ferris isn’t really a sports commentator, she’s the media spokesperson for Mystery Box Rally, an annual fundraiser for research into cancer.

Nearly 400 participants this year set off from Cavanbah Centre, Byron Bay on Saturday morning in pairs with ‘full tanks, crazy outfits and big hearts’, said rally founder James Freeman.

Rally teams are due back at Cavanbah Wednesday afternoon.

Cars have to be at least 25 years old and teams don’t know where the rally will lead them each day until it starts.

The mysteries of cancer and Queensland

Organisers said the mystery component of the rally reflected the experience cancer patients face when diagnosed.

So far, said Ms Ferris, teams have driven their vintage cars over the New South Wales border to Nindigully near St.George in Queensland and Hungerford.

The ‘Burra Booka-Boys’ team had reportedly left their car behind the Thallon Pub in Queensland and ‘the pub owner is OK with that’, said Ms Ferris.

But team ‘Petal to the Metal’ was also out of the rally, with Ms Ferris unsure of details.

She said drivers and passengers of the two ‘dead’ cars have hitched a ride with other rally teams.

Dusty drivers raise more than a million for cancer research

Fundraisers had a target of a million dollars this year and by Monday morning had already raised nearly five thousand dollars extra.

Ms Ferris said the real test would happen on the final day, when teams would have to face unsealed roads.

‘Anything can happen,’ she said, ‘there’ll be tears and cheers and claps when they get back to Byron’.

Teams and supporters planned to gather at Byron Bay Brewery to celebrate the end of the rally and receive awards including ‘best team theme’, ‘highest fundraiser’, ‘car least likely to make it’, ‘best break-down’, ‘best repair’ and the most coveted ‘spirit of the rally’ award.

But after traversing dusty roads in cars that may not have air-conditioning, Ms Ferris said the first thing most participants would probably do is have a shower.


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