Rallying for a cause hits the outback's remote tracks
WITH six rallies under her belt and counting, Donna Smith shook off the dust, rolled up her swag, packed her car and hit the unfamiliar surface of bitumen, travelling home to Bundy after the nine-day Road Boss Rally.
But that wasn't before Ms Smith joined 180 other participants in presenting national online charity GIVIT with a cheque for $250,275, after crossing the finish line in the tiny Riverina town of Booligal, 700km west of Sydney.
The generous adventurers drove to make a difference in the lives of Australia's most vulnerable people, tackling dust storms, sand hills, salt plains, tumbleweed hazards, old rail tracks, dry creek beds and corrugated outback trails.
Dubbed the Road Boss for fearlessly taking participants where other rally organisers wouldn't dare go, this year's 3500km rally travelled across four states, zigzagging the mighty Murray River.
Ms Smith said some of the tiny and remote towns they visited along the way were simply overwhelmed when the crew rolled into town and threw themselves into the community projects.
"Some of these towns only have a few people,” she said.
"One town was hoping to sell $100 worth of raffle tickets to help replace the roof on the community shed.
"The organiser couldn't believe it when she sold $600 and then $800 worth.
"It's not much to us, but it means everything to them.”
Ms Smith is already planning her next rallies, heading from Cowra to Caloundra next year and Tasmania to Darwin the following year.
GIVIT's CEO and founder Juliette Wright said the Road Boss Rally crew called themselves ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
"But we truly believe they are all extraordinary people doing incredible things,” she said. "GIVIT is incredibly grateful and humbled by their support for us. We are honoured to be able to work over the coming year to ensure every cent goes towards helping some of Australia's most impoverished people.”