2021 started out as a year full of hope and promise. COVID may have been lurking in the background, but here in Western Australia we were living the high life. The racing calendar was full, and there were plenty of car shows and opportunities to display our amazing car around the state.
The Mer-cat had taken it’s first passengers, we’d had some serious media exposure, and gift cards had been recieved in christmas stockings ready for a new year of excitement.
Then the crew chief found found a little bit of shiny in the oil filter, which on closer inspection started to show that there might be some serious engine damage. He pulled a face and said “no fire ups, cruising or rides allowed at Motorvation 35”.
Andy’s usual smile dropped to a sad face, but we still joined with Breast Cancer Care WA for a fantastic weekend. And even though the Hell Cat didn’t roar once, we still managed to put lots of smiles on lots of faces – including back on Andy’s when she was presented with the Best Euro Car trophy.
The engine was pulled out and pulled down, and the list for new parts was being compiled. There was serious damage to the main bearings. It could have been worse, but it still wasn’t good. We knew right away that not only was it going to take time an expense to fix, but most of the parts for this unique engine have to come from the US – so even more delays were expected.
So with the realisation that we wouldn’t make it back on track until the new season anyway, and parts were scarce, the decision was made to do the future planned upgrades. Make the engine stronger and a little more powerful, but mostly more bulletproof.
But although it’s our big drawcard, Therapy on Wheels isn’t just about a one of a kind race car.
Andy got to designing the Mercedes Hellcat and Fearless shirts, opening the online shop ready for everyone to look cool.
The team started collecting “Containers for Change” locally, starting out with only a small donation from family and friends, and finishing the year with a huge total in the $1000s due to a regular recycle collection spanning the whole metro area. The Therapy on Wheels Scheme ID is now even available to use for donations in Queensland.
Andy’s book “Don’t Wait for the Green Light” increased in sales – requiring a fresh print order – and an expansion onto a serialised audio pod cast. “Re-reading my own book for the pod cast is actually quite emotional at times,” but this just makes for a more engaging listening experience.
This year also saw fundraising challenges a plenty for every cause, and Therapy on Wheels wasn’t about to feel left out. The Squat Challenge raised $2835 throughout the month of April and was a fun way for everyone to be involved while being reminded that exercise has great benefits for physical and mental health.
With media interviews, school and club talks, magazine articles, and even a few shed visits Andy and the Therapy on Wheels team have stayed focused and true to finding lots of ways to create and share smiles and inspiration. “Andy brings enthusiasm, happiness and a sense of motivation into any room she enters, and when she speaks she is captivating, knowledgeable and instantly makes people feel at ease.”
COVID tried to lock us down in WA for a short while, and segregated us from the rest of Australia. And problems with our unique engine build may been keeping us from sharing the racing with others. But that has just allowed us to focus on what’s most important. Family. Our team has focused on time spent together, whether it’s working in the shed, supporting our fellow racers, or helping out someone in need. This year has been an important year to focus on being there for each other to rekindle those smiles, and share that laughter. And while it’s been a year to be strong, it’s also been a year to be inventive and have a little fun.
So while it’s been an interesting year with many surprises, we wouldn’t be here without the faith and support of so many. Those who are donating so much time into the repairs, those who help us share smiles, and those who simply check in to see we’re still ok.
Unique engine builds come with their own unique problems, so while unfortunately we don’t have set date to return to the track for racing and passenger rides, we can assure all our patient supporters that every effort is being made to be there as quickly as possible. But we’re also very mindful of not rushing the process either, so when we do return we will be stronger than ever.
Thank you for your support and patience.
Keep sharing your smiles – and keep following our socials for more news.