A great day out with your car cruising through picturesque NSW countryside, with all proceeds going to charity – that’s Can Cruise in a nutshell

Photographers: Kirsten Broadley

BLOODY car hoons! Always gallivanting around the countryside, uniting the community and raising money for those less fortunate. At least that’s how it goes out Mudgee way, where the local car club, Cudgegong Cruisers, has been staging its annual Can Cruise fundraising event for the past nine years.

 In that time the event has raised a massive $70,000 for its principal beneficiary, the local branch of Can Assist, which helps local cancer sufferers overcome the many hurdles associated with being a cancer patient in a rural area.

The 2017 running of Can Cruise saw $10,500 added to the tally, along with $2500 for the local Lions Club, and $1000 for Blaze Aid, a charity set up to assist victims of the recent bushfires that ravaged the area.

 The Hunter Valley Monaro Club is always well represented at the event, and on this occasion one of its members, Don Tilney, had his VZ CV8 smashed into on the way up to Mudgee. As soon as he got to town he got in touch with local repairer Hawkins Panel Beating, who worked into the evening to repair the damage, ready for the event the next morning!

 250 entrants in 130 cars and a handful of motorcycles fronted up for Can Cruise 2017, which started and finished at a new venue – Parklands Mudgee – and took in a new route, heading east to Rylstone, then back to the picturesque Bunnamagoo Estate for a barbecue lunch whipped up by Can Assist volunteers. From there it looped out through historic Gulgong, and then back to Mudgee for a charity auction and a few frothy ones, covering some 180km in total.

 Rain aside, the event was a runaway success that drew entrants from as far afield as Victoria, but with the 10th anniversary of Can Cruise looming, organisers are already turning their attention to next year’s event.

 “The push now is to do something unique for the 10th annual Can Cruise, which will happen on the weekend of 17 March 2018,” said Glenn Box from Cudgegong Cruisers. “We’re looking at a number of options, including expanding the event to two days across the weekend.”

Can Cruise really is a win-win event. You get to have fun with your car, meet great people and do your bit for those in need. Put it in your calendar for next year – we’ll see you there!

 A Nissan 200SX, an HR Holden and a Chev-swapped Jag XJ6 parked side by side at the drivers’ briefing – pretty indicative of the wonderful variety of vehicles at Can Cruise.

 Can Cruise was a family day out for local fella Grant Rutkowski and his oh-so-cool VW Beetle.

 This Chevy truck was one of two toys at Can Cruise owned by Glen Cox, the other being a rather tough-looking maroon Impala.

 Cudgegong Cruisers member Jim Cottee is a very talented bloke indeed. Not only did he build this gorgeous humpy ute, but he also hand-makes the trophies for many club events and typically puts together something special for the Can Cruise charity auction. This year it was a beautifully crafted custom coffee table built from engine internals, and it fetched a very tidy sum for Can Assist.

 We’ve featured Peter Rohr’s 10sec VK Commodore in Street Machine LSX Tuner, and this beaut old CL Valiant Regal belongs to his better half, Amanda. They had a ball at Can Cruise with their sons Sam and Harry riding up back.

 This little LJ Torana came all the way up from Victoria, with its owner Caz MacPherson claiming the Best Dressed award with her partner for their 70s-period attire, along with the Furthest Distance Travelled award.

 Local bloke Darren Price wheeled his killer ’36 Ford rod out for the event.

 Local lady Del Scott owns, drives, cleans and maintains this gorgeous ’57 Chev coupe.

 A solid crowd of onlookers gathered in the Mudgee CBD to witness the Can Cruise procession roll through town.

 Dave Dixon has a veritable arsenal of toys, and this red ’58 Chev pick-up is indicative of how well he keeps them. Here we see it cruising up Mudgee’s main drag followed by Kellie Perry’s Mustang.

 Tom Williamson travels from afar and is a Can Cruise regular. His T-top Corvette is the perfect vehicle for airing his glorious locks.

 Mudgee fella Craig McGrath took the opportunity to dust off his EH ute for a cruise with his young bloke, Liam.

 Ken Mortensen rolling into Bunnamagoo Estate in his ridgey-didge original HT Premier.