Pre Rally Day - Port Macquarie
Before the excitement can begin, is the scrutineering stage. First up on Friday morning, the officials check over the Kar, making sure we have everything required as a safety measure - passed that without a hitch! For the first time in the Kidney Kar Rally, we had RallySafe monitors installed. These enable tracking on every Kar in case anything goes awry, it also enables us to call for help if required and to let us know if we are off track (lost, in other words!)
Due to the dramatic weather issues around Sydney, all flights Sydney bound were grounded for several hours which meant that the Kidney Health Australia reps weren’t going to make it for the media commitments, so they asked us to step in on their behalf. We had a very long session with Channel 9 (NBN) and then greeted Mia, a lovely Kidney Kid who had been flown up with her Mum and little brother to spend some time with the ‘Rallytives’. The local newspaper came by for an interview and photos as well.
Early afternoon saw the arrival of Supercar driver Chaz Mostert – what a charming young guy he is! Immediately started signing autographs and posing for photos with people, Chaz then attended the drivers briefing with us. From there it was on to a ‘meet and greet’ with locals who had been encouraged to come down and meet Chaz – he was extremely gracious and prepared to sign anything – one guy actually brought his Mustang down and had Chaz sign the engine!
Back to the hotel for a quick shower and then to the official Opening Dinner. Mia spoke beautifully about her journey with Kidney Disease and the CEO of Kidney Health Australia, Chris Forbes, interviewed Chaz (he had obviously been speaking to someone who knew some of Chaz’s secrets!).
During the Opening Dinner was the launch of the ‘Jules and Gerry Show’ as they conducted the auction to raise more funds for the cause, who would later be our MC’s for the rally (check them out on Facebook – they are a hoot!)
We offered the Ford Falcon Supercheap Auto Biante 1:18 Model with the #1 (of only 50) Certificate of Authenticity signed by Chaz into the Auction, selling for nearly triple the retail price! We also offered an Australian 2019 Baby Proof and Mint Set, selling for well over double its retail price. All in all, a successful night!
Day 1 - Port Macquarie to Uralla (430km)
Between fires around Port Macquarie and snow a little further west, we had two of today’s four stages cancelled meaning that Chaz and I only got one stage together, but he blitzed it without penalty! We said goodbye to him at lunchtime in Walcha where we were greeted by snow and hail. He was heading straight back home to the Gold Coast before flying down to Victoria to complete a test on Tuesday at the Winton Race Track. Seems it’s a busy time of year for Supercar drivers! We were very lucky and grateful to have him join us on the rally.
Ken was back in the driver’s seat for the one and only afternoon stage. Everyone finished faster than expected as we lost 2 points for being 2 mins late to finish.
Overnight tonight in Uralla where it has continued to snow - a ‘feels like’ temperature of -7.
Early start and long tough rally day tomorrow - fingers crossed!
Day 2 - Uralla to Goondiwindi (599km)
After leaving Uralla in the freezing cold at 7am this morning we had a couple of grueling stages to get us to lunch at Narrabri. Then another two full-on stages and a long transport to Goondiwindi through a lot of roadworks. We were happy to get to the motel at about 4.30pm after a very long and tiring day! More of the same tomorrow apparently!
After being equal 20th after the first day, we moved up today to equal 11th for the day and equal 16th overall! We lost 1 point for each stage by being either a minute late or a minute early.
Day 3 - Goondiwindi to Miles (646km)
A long and very dusty day today - our lunch stop was in Dalby before we headed out to Miles.
Currently sitting at 16th outright and 11th for the day. Two zero stages, a 2 mins early and a 1 min late. Not a bad result given the difficult and long stages!
Day 4 - Miles to Rockhampton (598km)
Started off the day with minus 2 degrees (who said it would be warm once we hit Queensland??)
Very dusty today. Only 3 stages, but they were all loooooong! A couple of lovely stories out of the region today – Kar 2 – The Aristocrats – who had received trophies for winning the previous day and kindly gave their trophies away to Kidney Kids from the local area. Arabelle, aged 4, was sitting outside her house waiting for the rally to go by, so Jules and Gerry paid her a visit and gifted her with the trophy.
Lunch today was at the Moura State School where some of the Rallytives participated in a soccer game with the kids – they all loved it!
And today? Two zeros again - yay! And 1 min late on the last stage where we dawdled and thought we were still early! Equal 8th for the day and still outright 16th overall! We are happy!
We’ve lost a few cars along the way, but fortunately our Subie rocks on! Heading to Rockhampton tonight, for a much needed rest day tomorrow.
Day 5 - Rockhampton (Rest Day)
Quite a busy day for a rest day! Dropped the Kar into Subaru (DC Motors) in Rocky to pop it up on the hoist and give it a quick once over (we had our fingers crossed) and fortunately while there were a couple of things they adjusted, nothing was broken - very grateful to them for doing this for us without charge! We then met up with a former colleague from the Royal Australian Mint, dealt with emails and a couple of conference calls and then it was time for dinner!
The Great Western Hotel in Rocky hosted us for dinner where we enjoyed a rodeo while we ate. Little kids as well as adults riding bulls – a lot of excitement! Of course, this was our fancy dress night – the theme was appropriately Country & Western.
Day 6 - Rockhampton to Gayndah (497km)
We had two relatively easy stages this morning and zeroed both. Then lunch at Monto State School where the kids had a ball and loved the Kidney Kar Rall medallions and little Biante cars we gave them.
This afternoon, the stages were tough. We zeroed the first and were 1 early on the last. So today we were equal 6th for the day, we are now equal 13th overall and 5th in the repecharge. Pretty pleased with ourselves really!
Staying overnight in Gayndah (Queensland’s oldest town) with dinner served at the Winton show ground by the local cubs and scouts!
Day 7 - Gayndah to Toowoomba (408km)
The day started with a flat tyre as we walked out of our hotel room this morning! Thanks to The Renewables (Kar 2002) for their assistance!
Only two stages today and then a long transport to Toowoomba. Lunch was at Jandowae where a local policeman dropped by and asked if we would all mind driving past the local aged care facility as many of the residents had asked to see us. We received lots of waves as we drove through the complex.
There are no scores posted for the last two days as they like to keep it a secret until the final dinner tomorrow night!
Day 8 - Toowoomba to Armidale (584km)
Our final day of this years Rally! And it’s a long one! 4 stages including a Class 6 (average speed of 40kmh). More to come!