Shit Box Rally – YES its finished!

Yes, it’s a sad day.

The very final report of what could be regarded as probably, if not possibly, the greatest athletic and sporting event since Philippides ran the approximately 25 miles or 40.2367kms to announce the defeat of the Persians to some anxious Athenians. Phil, (we called him Phil the Greek at the time which turned out to be prescient given the next Phil the Greek married Betty Windsor), ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the assembly, exclaiming νενικήκαμεν (nenikekamen, “we have won!”). He then karked it. Karking it is an old Australian expression meaning dropping off the twig, kicking the bucket, being brown bread and taking a dirt nap.

Like Phil we had another one of our group kark it today. Yes friends, having survived the worst of outback Queensland, outback NSW, outback Victoria, inback Melbourne, St Kilda and the Spirit of Tasmania could throw at us, the team of ‘Two Girls Ones A Dude’ in their very hot 1989 Mazda 626, finally succumbed in a Tasmanian world heritage area. SurfStitch executives Brett Nipperess and Vanessa Heaney did a courageous job but it was heart-breaking to follow the once mighty Mazda up the Tasmanian world heritage hill, with the smell of its burning heart and the puddles of its Asian royal blood dripping to the tarmac like engine oil on bitumen.

Friends, like the Athenians in their righteous war against the Persians, the IMF and World Bank, we had started this crusade with a regiment of nine cars and eighteen brave souls. It is with heavy heart I have to report that only five of our noble steads entered the car park in Hobart yesterday.

Those Tasmanians are like the Persians. Very cheeky and tricky little monkeys. For instance, the signs warning of possible wildlife crossing the road show a car having its way with a kangaroo or vice versa. The town names are ironic: Paradise, Plenty, Promised Land, Garden of Eden and Lovely Bottom. Others are more honest: Nowhere Else, Cape Grim, Little Hell Bay and Pisspot Creek.

We North Islanders left the city of Devonport (population 25,246 and ironically named a city by the son of Phil the Greek in 1981), and turned right towards the tin town of Strahan.  The words of my father were echoing in my head. “Son, you’re always right turning left.” If only Australia, Tasmania’s Prime Minister and our rally team had heeded those words.

I know you won’t believe this but three times unlucky. Yes, our group turned right and once again we were lost. The Tasmanian wilderness is a hard mistress. It is full of (Tasmanian) Devils, Tigers (Tasmanian), Tiger (snakes), Copperheads and about 40 other creepy crawlies that can kill you in a minute when you embarrassingly have your pants down answering a call of the Greens and other minor parties. After three or four hours, our glorious leaders recognized we were lost and graciously admitted their failure.

Like plenty before them, the Tasmanians had thrown everything at us and we had survived.

You may rightly ask what have we learnt from the last seven days driving 3,500 across Australia and Tasmania?

Well if the people that worked in shops in rural and regional Australia could be transferred to the cities, David Jones and Myer would be in the black. Lisa from Opposite Lock in Mackay could give WalMart a few lessons.

The basic tenet of many religions is reincarnation. The concept that after biologically karking it you can begin a new life in a new form. Friends can I respectfully suggest you do not come back as a shock absorber on a Shitbox rally car.