Tiny Texas to play host to 200 road adventurers

Watch out Texas, the Road Boss Rally is on its way.
Watch out Texas, the Road Boss Rally is on its way.

More than 200 adventure seekers aboard 70 character vehicles are revved up and ready to hit the backroads from Brisbane to Booligal for the 2018 Road Boss Rally.

And all roads will lead to Texas when the Rally roars in for nightime stopover on July 10.

Dubbed “the Road Boss” for fearlessly taking participants where most rally organisers wouldn’t dare go, founder and organiser Jamie Lawson, of Toowoomba, said this year’s rally would travel through four states and zigzag the mighty Murray River.

“Most people who leave Brisbane to head south would probably take it nice and easy and cruise the highways, but we’re not doing that,” Mr Lawson said, “because we’re the Road Boss Rally.

“Anyone can find Easy Street but we take the hard road and the long way round.’’

Anyone can find Easy Street but we take the hard road and the long way round.

The "Road Boss"

The iconic Aussie rally will leave Brisbane’s historic HMAS Moreton naval base in Bulimba on Tuesday, July 10, heading via the Darling Downs for its first night’s stop in Texas. Then it’s off to NSW and Nyngan, Pooncarie, South Australia’s Berri, into Victoria’s Dimboola, Mildura and Quambatook before the finishing line in the NSW Riverina village of Booligal.

The drivers from across Australia and one from the US are looking forward to some amazing adventures led by Mr Lawson whose family have been organised rallies for 30 years. He and his father Allan have raised an estimated $20 million for charities in that time.

Mr Lawson said the Road Boss Rally would also live up to its mantra of “driving to make a difference” by helping communities along the way.

“It’s not just the tens of thousands of dollars that the rally participants spend along the way in some remote towns that are doing it tough but the fact we are teaming up with GIVIT to find out exactly what’s needed in the communities we visit. Rally entrants will help these communities get what they need.”

GIVIT’s CEO and Founder Juliette Wright said the rally raised $264,321 last year for the online-based charity.

“I couldn’t believe it when Jamie Lawson handed me that cheque last year – I actually had tears in my eyes,” Mrs Wright said. “The Road Boss Rally allows GIVIT to do what we do best, helping some of Australia’s most impoverished people.’’

Mr Lawson has a dedicated following among the rally entrants. One driver has competed in all the rallies organised by the family over 30 years.

The vehicles all have their own character like Groot, Car No 311, a modified  1945 Dodge 4WD military wagon. Owner Ian Rodgers, of Caboolture, says “Groot leaves its mark wherever it goes.’’

“Once you take part in your first rally you’re hooked,’’ Mr Rodgers said.  “It’s so much fun. You get to see countryside not normally seen. Jamie gets permits and permission to close off areas.’’

Mr Lawson and his wife Michelle spend several months before every rally mapping out routes, gaining property owner approval and organising catering, often a vital fundraising avenue for local CWAs or P&C groups.

First-time Road Boss entrant is recently retired Sydney police officer Alex Campbell who is travelling with three friends in their converted 52-seater 1993 Hino bus. The bus is decked out in the theme of the 1970s’ TV show, On the Buses. Mr Campbell’s vehicle will take the rally’s cruise course, the less adventurous bitumen alternative to the main rally.

The 2018 Road Boss Rally set off from Brisbane on Tuesday, July 10, with overnight stops in Texas (July 10), Nyngan (July 11), Pooncarie (July 12), Berri (July 13), Dimboola (July 14), Mildura (July 15 and 16), Quambatook (July 17) and Booligal (July 18).