Brothers rallying for the cause


By Jo Cranstoun

SOMERS resident Slim Cook and his brother Steve love the sense of adventure that comes from a car rally but admit they’re not in it to win it.

Slim Cook says he takes part in the Road Boss Rally for fun and to raise money for the charity GIVIT. The rally raised $250,275 for GIVIT – a national online not-for-profit organisation which connects charities with those offering essential, quality items on behalf of their clients.

Slim, 58 (“That’s what everyone calls me but my mum called me Russell’’) and Steve, 60, who lives in Queensland, left Brisbane on Tuesday 10 July for the nine-day, 3500 kilometre rally.

They headed south through outback NSW, into SA, Victoria and back into NSW to finish at the Riverina village of Booligal, 700 kilometres west of Sydney on Wednesday 18 July.

The Cook brothers, who shared the driving in their fourth rally together, admitted that their off-road adventures don’t always go smoothly in their 1986 Ford Fairlane, dubbed “Back to the ’80s’’.

“We’ve had a few interesting moments on the rallies. Once we ended up turning right instead of left and we might have arrived at Innamincka a day before the rest of the rally,’’ Steve said.

The brothers were lucky to make the Brisbane starting line in time after Slim encountered mechanical issues in the northern NSW town of Moree on the drive up from Somers. Steve blames the trouble on his brother’s “crazy’’ idea after last year’s rally to fit the car with a V8 engine.

Wheel man: Slim Cook alongside the 1986 Ford Fairlane he and his brother Steve drive in their rallying adventures. Above, the kind of country over which their vehicle is tried and tested. Pictures: Supplied

Slim says on the rallies their car is usually one of the first to leave in the morning and the last one in at night. “We always find something to stop and look at and take a few photos. We are there for the fun and to get away into the Never Never.’’

The annual rally of 70 character vehicles was led by the “Road Boss” Jamie Lawson, of Toowoomba, whose family has been organising charity car rallies for 30 years. The rally is known as an affordable, safe and challenging adventure.

No two Road Boss Rallies are ever the same and Mr Lawson takes pride in leading the entrants off the beaten track to areas most Australians will never see.

Road Boss entrants stop in some of Australia’s most remote towns to drop much needed items to charities along the route.

The brothers are huge supporters of GIVIT. “We know where the money we raise goes – we actually see it,’’ Slim says.

This year’s rally followed the six rivers leading into the Murray River.

“Jamie does a great job getting us out off the beaten track,’’ Slims said. “I know other rallies spend 800 kilometres on a straight, sealed road. That’s not for us. Jamie takes us to hard places but we always get through.’’

But the in-no-hurry Cook brothers make it to camp every night – always the last car to arrive.

First published in the Western Port News – 24 July 2018


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