GIVING IT A BASH
TAKE A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT KIDS, ADD CAR PARTS, CAMPING AND TOO MANY SAUSAGE SIZZLES TO COUNT, AND YOU HAVE THE MAKINGS OF THE VARIETY BASH, WHICH CAN BECOME A BUCKET-LIST TICK, AN ENDURING OBSESSION, OR BOTH. WORDS: SHARI TAGLIABUE
It’s a fantastic concept that’s been going since 1985 when Dick Smith took a group of adventurers from Bourke to Burketown in old cars, raising money for children’s charity Variety along the way. So how do you get involved? Find a two wheel-drive car that’s over 30 years old, modify it however you like comfort or safety wise but not performance wise, and hold fundraising activities or find sponsors to pay the $385 entry fee, the fundraising minimum of $8500, and the provisions fee, which is around a grand.
You don’t have to be mechanically minded, there are “AWs” or Auxiliary Workshop support cars that travel the route, helping out bashers who have mechanical issues.
Then all that’s left is to pack your swag and fuel up, then take off on a route that follows a web of dirt roads, stopping at small towns and bringing cheer to sick, disadvantaged and special needs kids, stopping for meals, a beer and a laugh along the way.
During the Bash Variety make donations of equipment to local communities, this is where the most seasoned Bashers will freely admit to shedding tears.
It’s a rewarding, fun experience by all accounts, each State holds their own Variety Bash and every four years there is a National Bash. This year the Queensland Bash kicks off from Warwick, before spending ten days driving on dirt roads ahead of hitting the finish line at Bathurst in time for all the action of the big race at Mount Panorama. Townsville Bashers not only have to drive to Warwick in time for the start, they have to drive back home after it’s all over. Not that they seem to mind, this is an adventure with a feel-good-factor that keeps Bashers coming back year after year.