Day 4: Repairs and cleaning
Not much to report today. We of course have a somewhat 'less than perfect' car so our objective today was to get the parts needed to fix it. Drove slowly to Toowoomba to collect some parts from Subaru there then headed north to Bundaberg where we picked up some more. Spoke to the service manager at Subaru here and he has made space to fit us in at 2.30pm. So we shall see how we go. Hopefully all good to start again tomorrow...
Day 5: Rest and repair
As today is a rest day, last night was the fancy dress dinner (pyjama party theme) and we sweltered in our Hawks and Pies onesies! The range of attire was mind boggling! And as usual, the amount of cross-dressing really makes one wonder about some of these burly, macho guys! Still a fun night! The ambos conduct a raffle which raised about $2500. The CEO of KHA (Anne Wilson) said her farewells to the rallytives as she has to leave to attend a conference overseas. She praised everyone's efforts as she always does. Her team have been conducting a series of kidney health checks and awareness sessions, etc, at schools and hospitals in the towns we have been through. We have people stopping our cars in the street to give us donations. It is all really positive and heart-warming stuff.
Thought we might give the car a wash today before we head to Subaru. About an inch thick layer of dust coats the inside at the moment and the outside...well it's barely visible in a lot of places! Just hope the dust isn't what's holding it all together!
While at the carwash one of our customers came up to us...!
She saw the K&K and thought she remembered something about that, then saw the Downies and realized who we were. Annoyed with myself for not getting her name! She is from just north of Bundy. Had a lovely chat with her, really nice to catch up with a customer while on the rally!
Day 6: Good racing but more damage
We had a great rally day today. 6th overall for the day (still down the bottom of the pack over the whole rally because of all the missed sections, but really pleased with how we are going when we DO rally!)
Many of the sections were really tough today with lots of deep ruts, gutters, humps and holes (not to mention the usual copious amounts of dust). We hit a massive gutter while trying to avoid a deep hole and from then on the car didn't sound too healthy...
Made it through all 4 sections for the day with a picnic lunch in the middle and got to Dalby. Called in to an exhaust place where the guy was very helpful, put the car up on a hoist to look at it. Then we saw it...the sump guard had been sheared off completely, all the bolts holding it on were still there but the other protective plate that covered the other parts had been bent as well so it was resting against the muffler (hence the loud noise we were hearing from inside the car).
We went to dinner at the RSL and were told by several people that they think they might have run over our sump guard along the way! In fact one of the leaders mentioned that it almost ripped his sump guard off!
As an aside, 2 of the 3 joint leaders at the moment are from Victoria!
Anyway, will leave it there for today. We have to make decisions about how we proceed from here. No sump guard with what lies ahead could put us at serious risk. We will sleep on it.
Day 7: the start
Gibson Motors in Dalby looked after us first thing this morning by bending the remaining guard forward to get rid of the noise we were hearing from the plate being pushed against our exhaust. Now we are at Parsons Enterprises who are making us a new sump guard and affixing it to the car!
Will send more updates later...for now we are constantly reminded of the amazing generosity of people in the country towns we have visited and their willingness to help us on behalf of the Kidney Kids.
Oh and I forgot to mention...one car caught fire today in a very isolated area where there was just one house...they had no phone or cb reception...and no one was at home at the house except a very loud and nasty looking dog who didn't like us stopping so close to his property!
So thanks to our friends in Dalby we were able to re-enter the rally at the start of the third section. It was a tough class 3 but we made it through unscathed and in good time.
We checked in with Control at the end of the section and set off on the 'transport' to start the fourth section which was to be a difficult class 4.
About 200 meters from Control, we heard it, that familiar flap, flap, flap. Yep, you guessed it, another flat tyre! We were organized this time and only took about half the time to change it. That was our last spare and it was a tyre with a puncture repair already.
So we continued on the transport to Warwick, found the Bridgestone Service Centre, (the tyre was irreparable as something had slashed the side wall), purchased a new tyre so we had a spare and they changed it for us, checked our pressure all round and off we went.
At this stage we decided not to risk the class 4 section... 4 tyres in one rally was enough! So we headed straight from Warwick to Casino. I have to say, the highway (bitumen) was about the equivalent of a class 2 rally road! A shocker!
So here we are in Casino, very tired and heading off now to dinner at the RSM club. Tomorrow is the final day of rallying - we are hoping for a good finish to what has been eventful, but a great learning experience and lots of fun. We have already started compiling a list of the things we simply MUST remember to carry on next year’s rally!
Day 8: Last day of Racing!
Last day of what has been an eventful rally for us, but we have plugged on regardless! Our last day takes us from Casino to Armidale through some beautiful country.
The first section of the day was a class 3 and boy was it a tough one! Lost a couple of minutes with one wrong turn, but no biggie. Lots of rocks, beautiful forests, very deep ruts and gutters and a water crossing, all made for an exciting start to the day. We made it through having lost just a few minutes we think.
The second section was a class 4 and I have to say I was a tad apprehensive of the cars ability to make it through a difficult stage. But we were determined to be there at the finish line today, so we decided to proceed and maybe just take it a little easier. Interestingly, this stage was nowhere near as rough as the first, but slower, with many tight turns and windy roads. We made it through unscathed!
Lunch was at the lovely Ebor Falls, a beautiful spot to just stretch the legs and relax a little before we started the last section for this year.
The last section, another class 3, we zipped through fairly easily. The countryside was just beautiful (or at least I think it was, given the speed blur and dust I was looking through!) so we made it to the finish line! Yay!!!! All the rally kars and rallytives gather at the finish line to welcome the kars and enjoy a cold ale to wash away the dust that now, after 8 days, is lining your entire body inside and out as well as everything you have in the car!
Then, once all the kars had finished we convoyed into Armidale. The cb radio was rife with yahoos and yippees and lots of high spirits. What a great feeling to finish and with such a fantastic group of people who all share the common goal of helping the Kidney Kids.
So after a drama free day, we arrived in Armidale and unloaded all our surplus items from the gear truck. The car was packed to the roof! A quick relax at the motel and then we headed off to the City Bowling Club for the final presentation dinner.
And so the awards started – there are some fun ones and some serious ones. The fun ones include such things as the Kraziest Krew and the Best Themed Kar. The Serious ones include:
Outright Winners – congrats to:
Kar 11 – The Blues Brothers (1st place)
Kar 508 - Amy’s Team (our fellow Victorian friends – 2nd place)
Kar 26 – The Red Baron (3rd place - also Victorian!)
Highest Fundraiser -congrats to Kar 68 – Artline - who raised an amazing $52,100!
Best All Female Krew - congrats to Kar 1308 – Sister Act
The John Hogg Memorial Trophy (Best & Fairest) which went to Kar 99 – Crazy Frog – congrats to you guys
The Supreme Achiever Award – this is awarded to the person who dedicates the most time and effort to promote the cause of the Rally and Kidney Health Australia – congrats to Khaled El Sayed
The Redex Award – for the person or krew who have endured all kinds of misfortunes throughout the event and have shown perseverance and resilience to continue through to the end – well, we had our ideas about a couple of krews who would likely win this one, but were extremely surprised to win this one ourselves! So congrats to us! We felt very honoured indeed! The trophy itself is huge and we were concerned about getting it into the Kar for the return trip home, but we managed!
We were especially honoured to receive the award from Becky Johns – a Kidney Kid from Bendigo – what an amazing young woman she is and we hope we will get to see her again soon.
All in all we had a great night and we all said our goodbyes to all the amazing rallytives. We are extremely grateful to all the people who helped us over the course of the event in so many ways and to the organisers who run a very safe and challenging rally. And thankyou to all those of you who contributed to our fundraising efforts – but be warned – we will be turning up the heat next year to go even higher!