IT was a motley collection of people who gathered in Orange yesterday for the start of the 11th annual Great Escape car rally.
Forty-four cars are taking part in this year’s rally, which leaves Orange at 8am today for a bush-bashing journey west.
Four teams from Orange and one from Molong will take part in the 10-day journey to Merimbula, via the Flinders Range, to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Australia.
Orange man Rick Smith is a veteran of the rally and this will be his 10th time on the circuit.
“There’s a great range of people going and you go to places you’ve never been to before,” he said.
Mr Smith is teaming up with Gary ‘Teschy’ Tesch for the long journey in their car, Black Val.
Former CF chief executive officer Terry Stewart says the main reason so many people take part is because the rally is a lot of fun.
“If you took the fun out of it they wouldn’t come back,” he said.
More than $4 million has been raised for CF Australia over the past 11 years, with much of the funding going towards a CF data registry, which provides data to research projects as well as contributing to improvements in clinical health care for people with CF.
Old cars are key to the rally, with a minimum 20-years-old rule applying for non-four-wheel-drive vehicles.
Four-wheel-drives younger than 20 years are allowed, but they are not able to enter all the awards.
Entrants will wind their way through western NSW to Broken Hill, Wilpena Pound in South Australia and though Victoria before finishing on the NSW south coast at Merimbula on Thursday, October 18.