Kidney Kar Rally

Kidney Kar Rally: Day 7 (22/8/14)

Action shot of Downies Kar 888! Action shot of Downies Kar 888! Courtesy of Bruce Williams Photography.Kath's update for the second last day of the Rally! Only one day left!

Today was St Arnaud to Mulwala. We started with a Class 3 followed by another long Class 3 before lunch in Heathcote. Once again a lot of mud but also a lot of dust! No major dramas and we think we were fairly close to correct time.
The lunch menu from Heathcote Primary! Delicious! The lunch menu from Heathcote Higher Elementary School! Delicious!
We were treated to something special for lunch today...the kids from Heathcote Primary School put on an amazing meal which they had not only cooked themselves but had also grown the ingredients themselves! The school follows the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation Program of "growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing" the food.

As for the food? It was absolutely superb! Well done to all those kids and teachers involved and thank you so much for sharing your food and your culinary skills with us!

Heathcote Higher Elementary School Heathcote Higher Elementary School

We were more than happy to leave each of them with a 2014 Kidney Kar Medallion as a memento of our visit!

After lunch, we had a Class 4 - probably the toughest stage so far from a navigators point of view. We were weaving through forest on tracks that were barely visible, often not really there at all! We made one wrong turn but quickly recovered and we think we also made good time on that one! The final stage we spent eating the dust of the mustang. (Moral: never be so courteous as to invite someone to go in front of you at the start of a stage!) we were so far ahead on time at the end of this stage that we crawled with the mustang to kill some time, only to then discover that we had kept left where we should have kept VERY left and as a consequence had to head back to the previous instruction to correct our route. By that stage were ended up very late!

No results were posted last night as they like to keep us in suspense for the final day. It's not that we are rallying for sheep stations here, we just like the suspense!

So last day ahead. Day 8. Mulwala to Cootamundra. Let's go!

Kidney Kar Rally: Day 6 (21/8/14)

Here's an update from Kath for day 6 of the Kidney Kar Rally!

Well today was going to be a long one, we just didn't appreciate how long!

The first stage was a Class 2 with a lot of changes to the planned route due to the need to avoid drowning the kars in the bogs! But there were still bogs aplenty! It was 125km long which is a big stage! We were 4 minutes early in that one (from mt gambier to naracoorte).

Stage 2 was a Class 2 again of over 90km. There was lots of sand which was exceedingly tricky. We were making really good time until, about 10km from the end of the stage, we blew a front tyre. By the time we changed it, waited for it to cool down and re packed the car, we had lost 12 minutes. We proceeded to Bordertown and began our search for a new tyre...not so easy, although lots of help from locals in Bordertown, Nhill and finally Horsham, where we bought a second hand tyre just so we could continue and have a spare. As a consequence of not wanting to risk rallying without a spare on board, we missed Stage 3 entirely and suffered a 20 point loss.

Once we had the spare we rejoined the rally for Stage 4 which was a long Class 1 of some 114 km from Horsham to St Arnaud. Once again we were 2 minutes early in completing that stage although were congratulated for coming into the final control checkpoint from the right direction as many kars hadn't!!!

We retrieved our other good spare tyre off the gear truck once we arrived in St Arnaud, got some help to change the tyres around from our friends from Bendigo and then proceeded to the Sporting Club for dinner. From our great results yesterday, today's mishaps have slipped us back a ways, but tomorrow is a whole new day so fingers crossed!

-Kath
Click here to view the full gallery over at our Facebook Page! Click here to view the full gallery over at our Facebook Page!

Kidney Kar Rally: Day 4 + 5

Update! Day 5 - Rest Day!

Rest day? Didn't really rest much! Took the kar to the local Subaru dealer to ask them to have a look at it for us, just a quick check underneath to hopefully answer some of the questions we had about creaking and cracking noises etc. The staff at Carlin & Gazzard were really helpful and a young guy named Chris came out and took the kar for a spin then popped it up on the hoist to have a look underneath. Did some 'mechanic speak' about D rubbers and rear controller arm bolts and sway bars! Anyway, he tightened up a few things and voila no more creaks and cracks!

Very grateful yet again to a local Subaru dealer who has assisted us without charge. So thank you Carlin & Gazzard, and in particular Chris!

All the laundry done and fuelled up and raring to go in the morning for a very long day before we hit St Arnaud tomorrow night. We have been told to expect lots of boggy mud! Yay!


Below is Kath's run-down for Day 4! It looked like a great day for the Downies team and leads in to a well-earned rest day in Mt Gambier!

I may have already said this on a previous day, but today was our BEST day!

All the stages today were supposed to be relatively easy... We began with a Class 3 of 72 km, then a Class 2 of 109 km. we blitzed both of these without losing a single point, so our timing and Ken's driving were spot on!

We had lunch in Hamilton which was quite rushed as we had a 40 km drive to get to the start of the next stage - a Class 1 for 112km. This was always going to be a quick stage with an average speed of about 85kmh. The sun was actually shining today for the first time with blue sky - it was very pretty driving through the forests.

This stage turned to disaster for many kars who got stuck in either or both of the very deep bogs that had formed after recent rains. In one instance there were apparently more than 20 kars being held up while kars tried to help each other out of this deep dark sloppy mud. Being early to set off, we were fortunate to miss the drama and sailed through the bogs without a problem. We ended up losing just 1 point for being a minute early for this stage.

During a short transport to the start of our next stage, we saw a large mob of emus running along the side of the road - I have never seen so many together before!

The final stage for the day was a Class 2 for 76 km. this was a very pleasant section, a little tense at times with a great deal of sand! A lot of it was through plantations and in some parts Ken thought the sand was just going to swallow the kar, but we made it through by following a few other kars and while the pace was full on, we could react to any issues they were having by taking a different option. As a consequence we came through 2 minutes early for a loss of only 2 points!

And so we arrived in Mt Gambier and set our watches back. We checked in to our motel and prepared ourselves for the "Hillbilly" theme night. What an interesting bunch of people these Rallytives are! (Some a little more "interesting" than others!). Also tonight was the drawing of the Ambo's raffle which raised a great deal of money for the Kidney Kids. The Ambo's raise a lot of money for the cause over the year and they award it to 3 rally kars to put towards their fundraising for next year.

So at the end of day 4, we find ourselves equal 5th for the day and equal 14th overall. Tomorrow is our rest day so we will be washing some mud off clothes and kars and trying to relax a little before we start again on Thursday morning.

-Kath

Click here to view the full gallery over at our Facebook Page! Click here to view the full gallery over at our Facebook Page!

Kidney Kar Rally: Day 3 (18/8/2014)

Here’s Kath’s update from Day 3 of the Kidney Kar Rally!

So it rained all night in Sale - not a good sign. But when we went to bed last night, we had already been told that the first two stages today had been cancelled due to the rain and its impact on the high country tracks we were supposed to be navigating this morning. (A kar goes out 24 hours before to check the rally route and reports back on road conditions. Another goes out an hour before and does the same - safety is always of primary importance to the organisers and they won't let us travel the planned route if there are dangerous conditions).

So we headed via the most direct route to Yea which was to be our lunch stop. Of course, the most direct route wasn't the same for everyone! Amazing what happens when Rallytives are left to plan their own journey!

Anyway, most arrived eventually and we began the 1st of 2 rally sections for the day - this one a Class 3. The roads were indeed wet and slippery, but there were also some dry dusty patches. We ended up running in our usual trio of Australiana, Tumut Transplant Team and then us. Given that our departures are spaced it is obvious that if we travel together, the second and third of us are going to be too fast, so we finished that stage 3 minutes early. (-3 points).

The final stage for the day was a Class 4 and a long one! Once again lots of mud, lots of rock and some very nasty boggy patches which caught a few kars out! Quite an exhilarating but exhausting stage. Travelling as the trio once again, we came in just 1 minute early for the loss of just 1 point.

So tonight we are in Ballarat and might I just say - this is one COLD city! Results have us at equal 21st after 3 days (remembering we lose an additional 2 points a day for having an AWD kar, but once again I am eternally grateful that we do!) We were asked today why we don't opt for a standard 2 wheel drive - we are not here to win this event, we are here to raise funds and awareness of Kidney Disease and its impact on young people - and yes we also have some fun and meet some incredible people along the way!

Tomorrow, we head to Mt Gambier via Hamilton. Until then...

Click here to view the full gallery over at our Facebook Page! Click here to view the full gallery over at our Facebook Page!

Kidney Kar Rally: Day 2 (17/8/2014)

Here is Kath's update from day 2 of the Kidney Kar Rally 2014!

Well the end of day 2 and once again we have survived!

Wow this was a truly BIG one! We awoke to rain. So, when the rain is relatively light it means there is no dust on the dirt tracks, so we see this as a plus. However as the day progressed, the rain got heavier and the fog in the forests got thicker and the water running over the causeways and roads got deeper...

Stage 1 today was a Class 4 - we thought it was a pretty good 4 as it was challenging but not too difficult. We managed to get through it a minute early, so only lost 1 point.

By stage 2 (a Class 3), the rain was getting heavier and more rivers seemed to be appearing in the roads. Still we got through it 2 minutes early and lost 2 points. Lunch was in Orbost. The most yummy pumpkin soup and the best savoury scones ever!! Just perfect in this weather!

After lunch, we proceeded to the start of Stage 3 (another Class 4). This was to be our most challenging section yet. There was mud, lots of rocks, mud, fallen trees, mud, deep creeks, mud, gutters, mud, humps, mud etc etc. There were two particularly bad creeks that were at the bottom of very steep slopes. These proved to be the end for the majority of the kars. A hasty turn- back of many kars had to be co-ordinated by the officials. We of course, having an all wheel drive, got through these relatively easily (never have I been so grateful to have a Subaru) and carried on oblivious to what was happening behind us!

Stage 4 was yet another Class 4 through forest and across the Nicholson river. The road was completely blocked at one point by a tree, so we had to drive through the scrub around the tree to get back on track. A longer wheel base would not have made it around. We were so pleased to get to the end of this stage, but again had survived a pretty tough one.

So the evening is being spent in Sale. Due to the number of kars having issues in the conditions today, the Road Director cancelled Stages 3 & 4, so despite us completing them both, we shall get no benefit in the results, but boy did we have fun!

(By the way it is still raining...)

Click here to view the full gallery over at our Facebook Page! Click here to view the full gallery over at our Facebook Page!

Kidney Kar Rally: Day 1 (16/8/2014)

Here's Kath's update from Day 1 of the Kidney Kar Rally!

Well, we have managed to make it through Day 1 with all our tyres and wheels intact so that's a big plus! It was a long one today with 4 sections covering over 500kms in total. Started with a class 3 (average speed 70kmh) and then 3 x class 4's (average speed just 60kmh). Causeways, rivers, rocky river beds and lots of forest, dirt & dust!

We had a roo chaperone us for a few hundred meters on the first section, lots of road kill (mostly wombats which I find quite sad) and cows on the road along the way.

Already a few casualties along the way with gearboxes dying and cars going a little further off the road than intended, but fortunately no injuries.

We think we did ok today, maybe a few minutes late on the last section (it was particularly hairy!), I am grateful we have an AWD kar even though we are penalised for it in the scoring! We will find out later tonight how well we really went when the official scores go up!

Click to view the full gallery over at our Facebook Page! Click here to view the full gallery over at our Facebook Page!

Kidney Kar Rally 2014 - Ken & Kath Hit the Road

A note from Kath – The Journey to Gundagai:

Not too much to report tonight. After the lovely farewell from everyone at the office (and of course our beautiful grandchildren!), we cruised up the Hume. We stopped at Glenrowan and met up with Kar 250 from Bendigo with whom we convoyed the rest of the way. Stopped again at Tarcutta for a coffee and finally arrived in Gundagai about 6pm.

The kar ran like a dream.

It was the last opportunity we will have to actually enjoy looking at the scenery for a while! On the rally Ken is busy focussing on the road (or should I say track) while I have my head buried in the maps, my eyes on the terra trip and the stopwatch!

We checked into our hotel and headed down to the Gundagai District Services Club for a well-earned drink with all the other rallytives who have already arrived. Lots of catching up to do!

-Kath

2014-08-14c Rallytives rally


The 2014 Kidney Kar Rally starts Saturday, August 16th, and Downies is once again proud to participate! Ken and Kath Downie will be tackling the rally, which kicks off in Gundagai, NSW, goes through Victoria and the edge of South Australia, ending up in Cootamundra, NSW.

The adventure begins!
Ken and Kath set out this morning from the Downies head office, and were cheered on by Downies staff!

Leaving

They will make their way to Gundagai, NSW, where on Friday the 15th, the safety briefing and rally rules will be presented to the competitors. They’ll stay overnight in Gundagai, getting their rest for the race start on Saturday!

Where is the rally going?

KKR Map

Location Activity Arrive Leave
Gundagai, New South Wales Race Start!   16/08/2014
Araluen, New South Wales Lunch 16/08/2014 16/08/2014
Merimbula, New South Wales Overnight Stay 16/08/2014 17/08/2014
Orbost, Victoria Lunch 17/08/2014 17/08/2014
Sale, Victoria Overnight Stay 17/08/2014 18/08/2014
Yea, Victoria Lunch 18/08/2014 18/08/2014
Ballarat, Victoria Overnight Stay 18/08/2014 19/08/2014
Hamilton, Victoria Lunch 19/08/2014 19/08/2014
Mount Gambier, South Australia Rest Day 19/08/2014 21/08/2014
Bordertown, South Australia Lunch 21/08/2014 21/08/2014
St Arnaud, Victoria Overnight Stay 21/08/2014 22/08/2014
Heathcote, Victoria Lunch 22/08/2014 22/08/2014
Mulwala, New South Wales Overnight Stay 22/08/2014 23/08/2014
Ganmain, New South Wales Lunch 23/08/2014 23/08/2014
Cootamundra, New South Wales Finish! 23/08/2014  

It’s a jam-packed week – the rallytives are going to need that rest day in Mount Gambier!

How can I help?
There are two ways you can help support children and families who are touched by Kidney disease.

The first is to donate directly to Kidney Health Australia here. Your donation helps gives children a reprieve from the illness through attending Kidney Kids Camps, and it helps out mum and dad, too!

The second way you can help is to purchase an exclusive 2014 Kidney Kar Rally medallion. Every cent of the retail price goes to Kidney Health Australia – a feat made possible thanks to the contributions of Downies, Perth Mint and Printgraphics. Each donated the time, expertise and raw materials necessary to make this project possible – and allow you to secure an exclusive medallion while helping a good cause! Click here to get your medallion!

What happens next?
To keep up-to-date with the progress of the rally, follow us on Downies Facebook Page daily updates and check back here for regular journal entries from Ken and Kath!

Kidney Kar Rally 2014 - Ken & Kath Hit the Road

A note from Kath – The Journey to Gundagai:

Not too much to report tonight. After the lovely farewell from everyone at the office (and of course our beautiful grandchildren!), we cruised up the Hume. We stopped at Glenrowan and met up with Kar 250 from Bendigo with whom we convoyed the rest of the way. Stopped again at Tarcutta for a coffee and finally arrived in Gundagai about 6pm.

The kar ran like a dream.

It was the last opportunity we will have to actually enjoy looking at the scenery for a while! On the rally Ken is busy focussing on the road (or should I say track) while I have my head buried in the maps, my eyes on the terra trip and the stopwatch!

We checked into our hotel and headed down to the Gundagai District Services Club for a well-earned drink with all the other rallytives who have already arrived. Lots of catching up to do!

-Kath

2014-08-14c Rallytives rally


The 2014 Kidney Kar Rally starts Saturday, August 16th, and Downies is once again proud to participate! Ken and Kath Downie will be tackling the rally, which kicks off in Gundagai, NSW, goes through Victoria and the edge of South Australia, ending up in Cootamundra, NSW.

The adventure begins!
Ken and Kath set out this morning from the Downies head office, and were cheered on by Downies staff!

Leaving

They will make their way to Gundagai, NSW, where on Friday the 15th, the safety briefing and rally rules will be presented to the competitors. They’ll stay overnight in Gundagai, getting their rest for the race start on Saturday!

Where is the rally going?

KKR Map

Location Activity Arrive Leave
Gundagai, New South Wales Race Start!   16/08/2014
Araluen, New South Wales Lunch 16/08/2014 16/08/2014
Merimbula, New South Wales Overnight Stay 16/08/2014 17/08/2014
Orbost, Victoria Lunch 17/08/2014 17/08/2014
Sale, Victoria Overnight Stay 17/08/2014 18/08/2014
Yea, Victoria Lunch 18/08/2014 18/08/2014
Ballarat, Victoria Overnight Stay 18/08/2014 19/08/2014
Hamilton, Victoria Lunch 19/08/2014 19/08/2014
Mount Gambier, South Australia Rest Day 19/08/2014 21/08/2014
Bordertown, South Australia Lunch 21/08/2014 21/08/2014
St Arnaud, Victoria Overnight Stay 21/08/2014 22/08/2014
Heathcote, Victoria Lunch 22/08/2014 22/08/2014
Mulwala, New South Wales Overnight Stay 22/08/2014 23/08/2014
Ganmain, New South Wales Lunch 23/08/2014 23/08/2014
Cootamundra, New South Wales Finish! 23/08/2014  

It’s a jam-packed week – the rallytives are going to need that rest day in Mount Gambier!

How can I help?
There are two ways you can help support children and families who are touched by Kidney disease.

The first is to donate directly to Kidney Health Australia here. Your donation helps gives children a reprieve from the illness through attending Kidney Kids Camps, and it helps out mum and dad, too!

The second way you can help is to purchase an exclusive 2014 Kidney Kar Rally medallion. Every cent of the retail price goes to Kidney Health Australia – a feat made possible thanks to the contributions of Downies, Perth Mint and Printgraphics. Each donated the time, expertise and raw materials necessary to make this project possible – and allow you to secure an exclusive medallion while helping a good cause! Click here to get your medallion!

What happens next?
To keep up-to-date with the progress of the rally, follow us on Downies Facebook Page daily updates and check back here for regular journal entries from Ken and Kath!

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