The Diamond Beach couple is revving up for their sixth event

Diamond Beach couple, Mark and Susan Hammond
Diamond Beach couple, Mark and Susan Hammond

The green flag is about to come down indicating the start of this year's Kidney Health Australia's six-day Kidney Kar Rally.

And sitting behind the wheel of their VS Commodore ute will be Diamond Beach couple, Mark and Susan Hammond.

Returning to the course for the first time in five years, the couple is counting down the days in anticipation and excitement, looking forward to the challenging event which will take them over the back roads of the State's Central West from Mudgee to Young.

While the ultimate aim is to raise much needed funds to help kids and young people living with kidney disease, Mark and Susan also are keen to test the merits of their 'new' Commodore ute, which replaces the well recognised canary yellow XT Ford Falcon sedan from previous years.

More than 50 rally vehicles - new and ancient, 4WD and utes, dressed-up and colourful - will line-up at the Mudgee start line, on Saturday, August 14.

Vehicles will venture across the countryside, driving through Meadow Flat, Lithgow, Oberon, Cowra, Adavale Lane, West Wyalong, Hay, Finley, Narrandera, before finishing in Young on Thursday, August 19.

"It is a great six days away and we get to see a lot of the countryside and raise money for sick kids," Mark said.

After competing in more than Targa Tasmania events than he can count on two hands, the Kidney Kar Rally is a relatively comfortable ride for confessed racing enthusiast, Mark.

The annual Targa Tasmania rally, a gruelling and sometimes event, covers more than 2500 kilometres over six days.

Attracting in more than 200,000 spectators, it starts in the north east of Tasmania then winds down to the west coast near Strahan, then across the bottom of the State to the finish in Hobart.

It is a great six days away and we get to see a lot of the countryside and raise money for sick kids.

Mark Hammond

Stages vary from 6-90 kilometres long.

Over the years the event has claimed some of the country's top touring car champions and Bathurst 1000 winners.

Back in 2012 Mark, driving his 1980 XJS V12 Jaguar fled past the black and white checkered flag to take 25th , which earned him a win in the classic competition class.

While the ultimate aim of the Kidney Kar Rally is to raise funding, the Hammonds admit there is a competitive side to the event.

Every car begins the rally with 1000 points, which are deducted and allocated for a variety of reasons; driving too fast, driving too slow, not complying with the average drive time to name a few.

"The aim is to start and finish with the 1000 points," Mark said.

"It is a lot of fun; Mark enjoys driving and I enjoy giving directions", Susan said.

With Google maps and GPS strictly banned, Susan gets her directions from an old fashioned paper road map.

"You need to be on your game."

The couple has remained relatively unscathed during previous rallies, except from a couple of dodgy river crossings, spending the day in Rylstone repairing a broken axle and pushing through backroads which had turned into bulldust during the drought.

"It is all good fun, challenging and it is nice to do it together."

Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: