Help Needed to Send This ‘Work of Art’ on its Way

Brook Ratcliff with the 1993 Mazda 121 Bubble Trouble

The Cancer Council describes its fundraiser, the Shitbox Rally as a ‘… challenge to achieve the unachievable.’ Undaunted by this, local Brook Ratcliff is joining with friend Tim Robinson in a Mazda 121 to drive the 4,000 kilometres from Melbourne to Townsville via Birdsville in October.

The team is holding a gala fundraiser on Saturday, 15 June to help reach its $10,000 target. 

Bubble Trouble, a 1993 Mazda 121, nicknamed the bubble car, is now resplendent with the artwork of local well- known mural artist Tracie MacVean who used materials she had to hand. The car looks the goods on the outside and mechanically, Brook hopes is up to the challenge of the rally.

“Since Tracie painted it, Bubble Trouble has definitely been attracting attention, which is what we wanted. I have had people taking photos at traffic lights, honking their horns, giving the thumbs up and that was before the sponsor stickers went on.

‘The rally is about celebrating life and is meant to be fun, so Tracie’s artwork is a perfect representation of that,’ Brook said.

Artist Tracie MacVean snazzes up Bubble Trouble.

Under the rules of the rally the car has to be valued at under $1,000, mechanically sound and roadworthy. The Bubble Trouble team paid just $300 for the car.

‘I’ve been driving it around for a few months now and it hasn’t missed a beat, so fingers crossed it can make the distance,’ Brook said.

Driving four thousand kilometres over six days from 19 – 25 October with another 249 entrants won’t be the only challenge for the two drivers who will spend their nights out under a tarp.

‘What we take is limited because of the size of the car. It was a deliberate decision to have a small car and take the bare minimum, unlike some other participants who might have room for tents and swags.

‘One of the other reasons the crews are limited to two, is that you need to keep the back seat free in case you have to take extra passengers whose cars might break down,’ he added.

Most meals are organised along the way and the teams stay in hotels for the two nights after the rally ends.

While driving long distances isn’t new to Brook, fundraising including attracting sponsors is.

The route bubble Trouble will travel. Image credit: Cancer Council

“We had to raise $5,000 to be able to be part of the rally which we did through a number of events including a massive garage sale, but have a number of major sponsors for the car including Specialised Heating and Cooling, Border Just Foods, Dude Hut Barbershop-Two Fingers Whisky Bar, Baklava Bar, Bartlett Automotive and Auto One Albury.

“We’ve also had a fantastic response for our call for goods for our fundraising dinner at La Maison, who with Moppity Vineyards and Bridge Road Brewery are sponsoring the dinner. To date we have $4,000 worth of goods, so if we can raise at least that through the silent and live auction at the dinner we will go over our target,” Brook said.

Items include dinner packages, wine, an original oil painting, firewood, hair and beauty services, bespoke jewellery, and an accommodation package as well as vouchers from a range of businesses and Albury and Wodonga.

To help them reach that target Brook has enlisted the talents of Chris Pidd as auctioneer for the live auction, and entertainment including a circus performer and two musical acts to complement the three-course dinner and drink on arrival at La Maison Restaurant, Lincoln Causeway.

And what becomes of the Bubble Trouble car after the rally?

‘Manheim, a major sponsor of the rally auction off the cars, or the Cancer Council donate some.

I don’t think we’ll be buying the car back. Fingers crossed Bubble Car will make the distance.’


What: Gala Fundraising Dinner
When: 6pm Saturday 15 June 2019
Where: La Maison Restaurant, Lincoln Causeway, Wodonga

Cost: $70 includes drink on arrival, three course meal and entertainment. Book here 

Businesses interested in making donations or sponsorship of Bubble Trouble can contact Brook through the Try Booking page, and donations can be made to the team at