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It was as if the almighty had wreaked his revenge for the Priscilla theme night at the Silverton Hotel the previous night. The sight of 140 men dressed as tacky women and 60 women dressing up as men dressing as tacky women would have angered any higher being.

We were 300km out of Silverton on our way to Marree, one leg of the Shitbox Rally, when the Weekend Australian BA Falcon ute bottomed out on a giant culvert, putting a hole in the sump a small child and his dog could crawl through. Oil dumped onto the ground, the oil pressure warning light telegraphed disaster and the engine smelt like it was on fire — which it was.

This about sumps it up

This about sumps it up

My quick thinking saved the day. Thinking the ute was about to explode, we turned off the engine and ran screaming into the bush.

Of course this terrible event only occurred because the other nine cars in our team went the wrong way and got lost.

Naturally we had stopped for a hamburger and were a long way behind. Thinking we needed to catch up, we put what was left of the accelerator down. It was then that the culvert of fate cruelled our chase.

We spent the ensuing 450km of the leg to Marree suffering the ignominy of sitting in the back of an antique Mercedes piloted by two maniacal women from Byron Bay while the ute did likewise on a trailer.

At Marree, the Shitbox Rally’s finest mechanics were unable to perform a miracle on the sump. We were forced to bid the beast farewell, and send it to Adelaide for repairs while we and our gear spend the rest of the rally hanging off the back of various other cars in our team.

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