Keep Holden on...

Marty, whose passion is charity road rallies, is preparing for a  3500km nine-day event leaving Brisbane on July 10, with his “rev limiters’’ aboard – wife Rowena and daughter Karen, who alternate as navigator and “gate opener”.

The family are entrants in this year’s Road Boss Rally, departing the historic Bulimba Barracks and heading south to the heart of outback NSW, South Australia and Victoria and zig-zagging the mighty Murray River to finish at tiny Booligal in NSW’s Riverina on July 18.

The iconic road rally attracts entrants from around the country and overseas. 

Marty, who turns 70 in September, has competed in rallies since 1997 and always looks forward to the next rally in his trusty Holden.

“It’s the only car to drive, you don’t want to drive a Ford,’’ he says.

Rivalry is keen between the Holden and Ford drivers on the course.

Marty says the rallies are always great fun and he enjoys the camaraderie.

“In all the rallies I have taken part in, I have never seen a dispute. Everyone gets along. It’s amazing really,” he says.

The Road Boss Rally raises funds for national online charity GIVIT. Last year it raised $264,321 for the charity founded by Brisbane woman Juliette Wright.

Juliette says the enthusiasm and camaraderie of the entrants is something very special.

“The Road Boss Rally family allows GIVIT to do what it does best – looking after needy Australians.’’

Every year the rally’s organiser and “Road Boss’’ Jamie Lawson, of Toowoomba, plots a new route, ensuring entrants always experience a different part of our vast country.

Jamie and his dad, Allan, have been running charity road rallies for 30 years and during that time have raised more than $20 million for a range of charities.

“We go places, see things and gain access to parts of the country that very few people get to,’’ Jamie says. “Anyone can find Easy Street but we take the hard road and the long way round.’’

One of Marty’s most memorable rallies was through the Simpson Desert.

“The desert was pretty special at night. We were just watching the stars and having a beer. It doesn’t get much better than that.

“I’ve got to see most of Australia in a 2WD. It’s a big challenge to get where Jamie puts us like the Simpson Desert. Some people have said ‘you’ll never get through’ but I’ve only ever needed two tows when I got stuck on top of sand dunes.

“My wife counted 400 sand dunes in just one day. We went straight up and over them. The next day we did 200 dunes and then she got sick of counting them.  But we all managed to get through and we travelled east to west on the Simpson Desert.

“One other year we had water over the bonnet of the Holden in croc-infested waters.’’

He ha called his Holden Mammary Masseurs, a tribute to his dairy cows.

“I find I have to explain sometimes to the people we meet that we’re dairy farmers but a sign on the back of my wagon reads ‘panel and paint by A. Farmer’ so they finally work it out.”

Marty has won six rallies over the years but insists winning isn’t his main goal.

He says he just sets out to have fun while helping GIVIT raise vital funds, but getting his two “rev limiters” home safely is his main aim. or