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No drought about it as LandCruisers put wheels in motion for good cause

Statewide

A quirky country car rally is back for a second crack at raising money for drought-affected Queensland communities.

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The convoy of 30, 40-Series LandCruisers leave Brisbane today (August 27) for the 3000-kilometre trip in a loop throughout the state’s central west, returning to the capital on September 4.

Along the way the rally goers will raise funds for parched Queensland communities, while generating some welcome economic activity along the way.

Last year’s inaugural Long Drive for Drought event raised more than $50,000 for drought relief.

This year the target is $80,000, with funds to be distributed to Queensland-based charity Drought Angels to provide some relief to farmers and communities in the 65 per cent of Queensland that remains drought-declared.

The Local Government Association of Queensland’s (LGAQ) commercial entity Peak Services is supporting the rally for the second time, swinging in behind its managing director, Brent Reeman who only had hopes of one event when he ignited the plan last year.

The Long Drive idea came to Reeman during the summer bushfires of 2019-20, when he says he was motivated to try ‘something meaningful’ for the bush communities he loves.

So, he tapped into his connections in the ’40-loving fraternity’ – devotees of Toyota’s iconic 40 Series LandCruisers, all manufactured from 1960-1984 as genuine ‘paddock-bashers’ – to test their support and was overwhelmed at the response.

It’s a family affair for Brent this year as well, with his brother Scott taking the reins of his 1973 edition LandCruiser ‘Jim’ and his 81-year-old father George joining the group again as support crew but this year travelling in a 1985 60 Series LandCruiser so he can fit in with the crowd.

Brent Reeman will be in the oldest vehicle in the fleet, his latest project an all original 1971 FJ45, affectionately known as Rex and complete with untouched ‘patina’ paint job.

At 50 years old with its original petrol motor and three-speed gearbox it will certainly be tested on the run out west.

Reeman said with more than 30 participant vehicles and 60 people taking part, it was shaping up to be a big event.

“I thank everyone for their great support of this important initiative – keeping drought front of mind and raising much-needed funds to support the wonderful work that Drought Angels do for Queensland communities that are doing it tough,” he said.

“We are overwhelmed with the support we are receiving this year. We have some excellent partners who really care about the communities affected by the ongoing drought including Hastings Deering, Toyota Fleet Management, Telstra, QRL, Queensland Outback Tourism and RACQ Foundation.

“We have many other generous sponsors and donors who we are so appreciative of.

“Local governments involved in this year’s run are also really backing the drive, gearing up with lots of great community events along the way.

“We will be travelling off the beaten track to some really unique places in Queensland to provide support to those little towns in particular.”

Drought Angels CEO and founder Natasha Johnston said last year’s $52,000 went towards helping 12 Queensland farming families.

“The money raised last year on A Long Drive for Drought meant families were able to pay some substantial bills,” she said.

“We were able to provide pre-paid visas and in one case a new quad bike as the family’s vehicle was broken down and they had nothing to get around the farm on.

“We always try to tailor the assistance we provide to our families. We don’t use the cookie-cutter approach – we understand each family has different circumstances and different needs, so we listen to what they need.”

 

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