Dunga Derby

Kickin Up Dust at Dunga Derby

Image source: Contributed

This inaugural Sunshine Coast Dunga Derby kicked into gear to drive rust-bucket cars from coast to country to raise funds for families in need. Georgia Beard discovers how this crazy convoy of cars rallied for some very worthwhile causes. 

One early morning this July, a muster of rusted, dented and gloriously dilapidated sedans and station wagons waited outside Aussie World. Their sides were slapped with sponsor stickers and roof racks stacked with swags, flags and mascots – anything from cow skulls to Barbies. 

Driving teams secured their gear one last time before piling into their hunks of junk. On the steps of the Banana Bender Pub, two boys gave their fiercest cries: “Start your engines!”

Soon after, these decades-old dungas rolled out onto the highway, heading off on their first leg of the four-day Dunga Derby. Traversing the Western Downs, dungas and their drivers journeyed from Killarney to Thallon to Chinchilla, stopping at camp sites in rural towns overnight. 

They faced waterlogged roads, breakdowns and bitter sleep on cold, hard ground – all to raise funds for Rally for a Cause. The community charity kicked off Dunga Derby in 2015, marshalling teams from the Fraser Coast to support families and individuals affected by life-limiting medical conditions, or lives disrupted by detrimental circumstances. 

In 2020, Rally for a Cause expanded their reach to people in need on the Sunshine Coast. After gaining enough support in the region, this year’s inaugural Sunshine Coast Dunga Derby came into its own. 

Five new driving teams jumped on board, totalling 24 teams and 14 support vehicles, including a mobile coffee van! 

Our own Business Development Manager Jakki Goodall took on the backroads in a two-person team, raising funds above the minimum amount with several businesses behind her. 

Dungas or the Dunga Derby itself can receive sponsorships from businesses and individuals, whether in the form of funds, locations or other resources. Often, dunga drivers are business owners themselves, gathering their network around them to give back to the community. 

This is the reason Tammy Lee from Loan Wize joined Rally for a Cause. 

After years of supporting charities and getting involved in derbies like the Shitbox Rally, she shifted to a local focus and joined the development team for this year’s Sunshine Coast Dunga Derby.

“I just leapt into it,” she said. “I tried hard to push the brand, the name and the wonderful cause for the families.

“I’m a cancer survivor and I’ve been very fortunate so I just like to give back. I want to help make the Dunga Derby a success on the Sunshine Coast.”

Before the Dunga Derby hit the road, teams based on the Sunshine Coast raised a total of $128,080.29. Together with Fraser Coast teams, the funds equalled a staggering $583,926.18.

These funds go straight to families in need. Recipients are nominated year-round and assessed by the selection committee, who decide what level of support the nominees may need. Others are encountered on-route – the recipients of spontaneous fundraising – with loads of fun. 

“We like to acknowledge the communities that we go into, and by doing that, we find a cause we can help while we’re there,” said Event Officer Fiona Martin. 

“En route from the Sunshine Coast, we raised close to $20,000 to give directly to the communities we visited, including a donation to a Rural Fire Brigade and helping a town build a playground. 

“We helped a little boy who was touched with a family member dying from pancreatic cancer, and he just wanted to raise money. Together, we raised $2600.”

Another family with connections to the Fraser Coast received support after their young son developed a brain tumour. Funds poured in from a bra auction at Westmar Pub (where the bras still hang), and the Dungarians didn’t stop there. 

“Two teams donated a remote-control car, and we decked it out with Dunga Derby stickers,” Tammy Lee said. “Then another team, the Logan Bogans, got together about $2000 worth of food vouchers, presents and things for the kids. In the end, it became about a $7500 donation in total to this family.”

On night three, the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast teams came together for an auction night in Chinchilla.

“There were two families in Chinchilla who had been touched with suicide and car accidents all around the same time,” Fiona said. “All the money raised from the auctions were split between them.” 

The impact these funds have on the lives of recipients is profound and transformational. Young Archer, one of the boys who gave the starting cry at Aussie World, received funds to buy a backpack-sized ventilator for his sleep-related breathing disorder. Now he can move about freely and experience childhood to its fullest extent. 

“We really appreciate the hard work a lot of teams put in,” Fiona said. “There’s so many opportunities for fundraising. Team just have to come up with the plan and the ideas, and we can help.”

The Dunga Derby has a focus on fun with special events and camradery and friendships made on the road. 

“You grow as a person, and you grow an even bigger heart than what you started with,” Tammy said. “I’d love to see more women jump on board because it’s a lot of fun and a great personal challenge. It’s totally lifechanging.” 

Drag your dusty dunga out from the shed, round up a team and secure your sponsorships! 

Registrations for the 2023 Dunga Derby open in January. For guidelines and expressions of interest, visit
www.sunshinecoast.dungaderby.com.au or call 0439 045 002.

Money raised is distributed throughout the year to people in need, as they need it. Applications for assistance can be made via www.rallyforacause.org.au

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