Dy­namic duo raise $25,000

Benalla Ensign - - News - By Si­mon Rup­pert

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.

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