The Riverina Redneck Rally is an annual charity event, racing for 5 days through the outback to raise money for Country Hope to support children battling against cancer, and their families.
This year, the Rally raised over $400,000 for Country Hope, which the charity has said can keep them running for months. It included 70 cars and around 160 people, two of whom were Liam Catanzariti and Jamie Bertolin.
Liam and Jamie formed the "Catz n Ratz" team, with Mr Catanzariti acting as the team's mechanical knowledge and Mr Bertolin looking after promotion and social media. Together, they succeeded in collecting $6805 for their efforts, and took out the best presented trophy.
It's an impressive effort for their first entry, but they've both been considering it for a while.
"We've always been talking about it." Mr Bertolin said. Mr Catanzariti mentioned he'd been seeing ads for the rally for years.
They both spoke about the event's challenges, but concluded that it was rewarding and both were keen to do it again in the future.
"It was a fun week, the first few days were a struggle just being the youngest people there and the newest, but by the end we knew everyone on a first name basis... we were surprised at how welcoming everyone was." Mr Bertolin said.
"I think the main thing is we know we directly helped the community. It's a hard five days, but the people we're helping have it much harder."
Country Hope aren't the only people benefiting from the Redneck Rally, with the pack assisting small towns along the way. The group often drop off books and toys to schools along the way, and often boost the economies by their presence in pubs and hotels before the next day's takeoff.
The event wasn't without challenges, and while the team had worked on their car for a year, they didn't quite make it for the full five days. Mr Catanzariti elaborated on the straw that broke their Ford Falcon's back.
"I thought I had it sorted, but we had to get it towed on the last day so that was disappointing... the gearbox blew up."
Despite, or maybe because of the challenging driving and a self-proclaimed tendency to overpack, both boys agreed that they'd do it again. Mr Catanzariti is sitting out next year due to other commitments, but has his eyes set on 2023. Mr Bertolin is already in discussions about a substitute for next year's rally.
"I'd encourage anyone up to the challenge to sign up... it's worth it."
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