Driving in at the deep end

Theresa and Ryan Mischkulnig with their trusty shitbox.


A NOBLE Park couple drove their ‘shitbox’ from Queensland to Tasmania to raise cash for the Cancer Council.
Husband and wife Ryan and Theresa Mischkulnig took part in their third Shitbox Rally in a Daewoo Matiz as Team Spoiler Alert.
James Freeman founded the event in 2009 after losing both parents to cancer within 12 months.
Participants drive cars worth $1000 or less across Australia, auction them off at the end and raise awareness and cash along the way.
“At the end of the day we’re doing it in the memory of people who’ve we’ve loved and lost,” Theresa said.
The Mischkulnigs started in Mackay on Saturday 7 May and drove into Hobart late afternoon on Friday 13 May after raising more than $4800.
They pushed their three-cylinder Matiz – “a shopping trolley, basically” – to the limit.
“It’s one of the smallest-engine cars on the rally. Up hills we’re a little bit slow,” Theresa said.
“There’s a lot of willpower and positive thinking to get up the hills.
“That’s the whole point of the rally – you get the shittiest car you can and see if you can make it.
“We were nursing the cars into the town each night and making sure that they’re ready to go the next day.”
Theresa said support vehicles filled with mechanics had saved all but four of the 200-odd vehicles from “car death”.
“Every night the mechanics tinker on the cars and do some creative MacGyver-ing to get cars back on the road,” she said.
“There’s a lot of cable ties and duct tape.”
Along the way the Mischkulnigs listened to music, ate lollies, and bonded with their six-car buddy group.
“We all have our own UHF radio. There’s quite a lot of banter between the different cars,” Theresa said.
Storms in Queensland caused a route change and in New South Wales, the rally diverted to Cobar after its intended destination Tilpa received 120 millimetres of rain.
“Tilpa picked up their whole operation and moved it 200km to feed us in Cobar,” Theresa said.
“The hospitality of these country towns …
“That was really heart-warming and shows you the spirit of the people that live in these country towns.
“The diversity of this great nation and what it has to offer has been phenomenal to witness.
“You get to see places in Australia that you’ve got no reason to go to otherwise and you get to meet these communities.”