Waggs Walkabout

Sunday, September 6, 2009

This Will Liven Up the Place

A couple of weeks ago, Alice Springs hosted a bizarre spectacular called the Variety Bash. I’d never heard of the Variety Children’s Charity, but here’s what I learned with a bit of research:

Bashing was created in 1985 by adventurer Dick Smith, when he took a group of friends for a drive he called “The Bourke to Burketown Bash".

The Bash is an eight day drive in the country with your mates. It is NOT a race or rally, it is a madcap event designed to put the fun into fundraising. Vehicles must be in standard condition and shall be models constructed prior to December 1974 (although run-on models will be accepted).The drivers and crews, however, are anything but standard issue with most Bashers taking the one major rule (don't take it too seriously) seriously.

I was relieved to find out that I didn't need to take Super Hurbert, "the World's Skinniest Magician" seriously. They say the camera adds ten pounds and this guy still looks way to skinny. He jumped down occasionaly during the parade to do a few magic tricks then he leaps on to the hood of the cars and hops back up to his roof top.

Each state has a chapter and they compete against each other to raise money throughout the year. The highlight is undoubtedly the annual Bash Run. Each year a different ending point is selected and bashers start from their home state and drive hundreds if not thousands of miles, at a leisurely pace to the national meeting point for a weekend of festivities. Since it’s Australia and the major sponsor is XXXX Gold (that a brand of beer, not naked stuff) it’s safe to assume that alcohol plays some role in this event. The bizarre and spectacular part of this event is the vehicles and costumes worn by the teams. You need to see it to believe it…..

Most of the cars sirens attached. These can be used to herald the arrival of Bash, just in case the local residents didn't notice several hundred wildly painted cars arrive in their town.....

This one is cover entirely in carpet.

Don't forget much of the route for the Bash is on dirt road and even in the winter the temps can reach 85-90 degrees here in the centre.

Participants are required to stay in costume for the duration of the trip.

These folks raise serious amounts of money. South Australia won this year by raising $1.904 million, New South Wales was second with $1.9 million and Victoria came in third with $1.406 million.

The following are excerpts from the Variety Bash website -

Rules of The Bash
There is really only one major rule in the Bash - don't take it seriously. All other rules are directly related to this rule. The idea is that for one or two weeks the people taking part can enjoy a drive in the outback and see parts of Australia they might not normally visit.

The only serious rules are about not damaging property, not
littering, looking out for wildlife and remembering that the Bash needs the co-operation and support of all the authorities in the towns and cities it passes through. This is not a hoons' picnic or yahoos' rally - the behaviour and attitude of everyone taking part reflects both on Variety and the sponsors.

The Designated Driver
So that everyone can enjoy the drive and the driving, it is best to designate a driver for the morning and the afternoon sections. The designated driver must maintain the minimum requirements required by law for drinking and driving.

The more you think about the logistics of the Bash you the more bizzare the whole concept gets. Most teams have at least two members and number go up from there and are only limited by the size of the vehicle. When you fill the car with bodies and beverages you might not have room for some of the extra comforts that are useful on a ten day trip. Especially given the size of some of the cars. Here's the rules for the baggage service:

The Baggage Truck travels with the Bash each day and for a fee you can hire space. This is to help you lighten the load in your Bash car but anything you put on the truck must be able to be lifted above shoulder height by one person ie: no spare engines, wheel to wheel axle assemblies or large spare parts. The truck is available between certain times at the overnight town in the evening and in the morning and details of where it is parked are on the daily route instructions.

For more about the Variety Bash, check out these links and be prepared to laugh and be impressed at the same time.

If this has tickled your fancy and you think you'd like to join in next year, here's the link to bash ready cars that are for sale.

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