3,800km in an old Commodore in the name of cancer funds

Cobar’s David and Xenia Schraag are participating in the 2017 Shitbox Rally which will take them on a 3,800km adventure to raise funds for the Cancer Council.

Cobar residents David and Xenia Schraag are joining the Shitbox Rally next month to travel 3,800km to fundraise for the Cancer Council.

The 450 rally participants start from Adelaide and travel across the Australian outback finishing at Cairns seven days later.

David, who is employed at Endeavor Mine, and Xenia, who works for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, moved to Cobar four years ago.

It’s the couple’s first participation in a rally event.

They applied for the Shitbox Rally two years ago, but with limited numbers able to take part they only made it onto the participants list this year.

The rally gets its unusual name from the cars which are ‘shitboxes’ with a condition of entry that vehicles must be worth less than $1,000.

David and Xenia will be driving the ‘Team Schraagadelic Baby’ Holden Commodore wagon they purchased for $600.

Xenia said they chose a Commodore as it’s a pretty common car and, should they need to get replacement parts along the way, they’d have a good chance of finding Commodore parts anywhere.

Xenia said they are really looking forward to the adventure.

She explained the cars travel in teams of seven and if one of them breaks down the whole team stops and has 20 minutes to fix the car.

If the car cannot be fixed in that time it gets put on a trailer and towed to the night’s stop.

That’s when everyone will pitch in and try and get the car going to continue the next day.

Each team consists of experienced Shitbox Rally teams, new participants, mechanically minded people and first aiders.

Once the teams reach Cairns the cars will be auctioned off and it’s for this reason teams are advised to travel light as participants may have to fly back home.

Each team must raise a minimum of $4,000 as a condition of entry.

Teams are encouraged to raise above that amount with this year’s rally aiming to raise $1.4 million for Cancer Council.

Schraagadelic Baby have raised almost $6,500 so far through sponsorship and donations and, up until last week, were in the top 20 fundraisers.

Xenia said the Cobar community has been very supportive with various sponsorships, donations and discounted necessities for the car. They have also received a $1,110 donation from the Mt Isa chapter of the Harley Owners Group. (The couple moved from Mt Isa to Cobar.)

The pair have personal reasons for joining the rally after David lost his father to Melanoma in September 2013, his grandmother to brain cancer and grandfather to stomach cancer while Xenia lost her brother to brain cancer when he was only 35, her uncle to prostate cancer and her father is now also battling the disease.

“After seeing family and friends lose their battle with cancer, I feel very honoured to have the opportunity to do something positive to help future battlers in the fight,” David said.

“The idea of joining other likeminded people on this adventure is both exhilarating and humbling,” Xenia said.

The 2017 Shitbox Rally is in its eighth year and was started in 2009 by James Freeman after he lost both his parents to cancer within a 12 month period.