Dynamic duo raise $25,000
Benalla’s Austin Hazledene and Ryan Merrett have recently returned after a successful Variety Bash, raising more than $25 000 for the children’s charity.
Austin and Ryan set off in a fullsize Hot Wheels car in August with more than 4000 kms of winding, undulating roads ahead.
Their 1977 Holden Statesman wrapped in authentic hot-wheels livery caused some issues, but nothing that would stop them reaching their goal.
‘‘We had a few teething issues with the car, including a very dodgy starter motor and minor overheating problem,’’ Austin said.
‘‘We also had a major breakdown in outback Queensland on the morning of day-five just after visiting Cameron Corner.
‘‘We snapped a diff housing after several hundred kilometres of dirt roads that morning and hitting some pretty big wash outs a bit too hard.
‘‘So we then spent the next 10 hours or so hydrating ourselves on the side of the road until the mechanics were able to pull the entire diff out of the car, re-weld the broken housing, and replace a broken axle — luckily we had two spares.
‘‘We got going again at around 8 pm that night and with another 400 km to go for the day we finally made it into camp by about 2 am the next morning, narrowly avoiding plenty of kangaroos on the road.
‘‘But that was the best day we had on the bash by far as we got to meet so many other cars who we hadn’t seen before who stopped to help us, and also provided so much entertainment throughout the day.
‘‘What the volunteer mechanics were able to do to repair the diff and get us going again in only three hours of ‘workshop time’ on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere was truly unbelievable.’’
On top of an amazing adventure they also raised a lot of money, beating their target by $366.
‘‘We reached our fundraising goal by the end of the bash,’’ Austin said.
‘‘The best part for me was meeting so many amazing people along the journey, including other Benalla locals like Peter Foott who owns Foott Waste Solutions and Paul Basse who owns the Tungamah pub.’’
Hard at it: Austin and Ryan get help from a roadside workshop to keep the 1977 Holden Statesman on the road for the whole bash.