GIVE CHARITY A BASH: Bob and Robyn Shackell prepare for another stint of dirt-road driving with this year's Variety Bash.
GIVE CHARITY A BASH: Bob and Robyn Shackell prepare for another stint of dirt-road driving with this year's Variety Bash. Yvonne Gardiner

Variety Bash heads for the Red Centre

ENTRANTS in this year's B to B Variety Bash are gearing up for an adventure with mates, driving cars that are 30 years or older through regional parts of NSW.

This is all in support of Variety - the Children's Charity, which helps disadvantaged kids with equipment, therapy and medical supplies.

Bob Shackell, from Pottsville, has been a Basher for 10 years, while his wife Robyn is a recent convert - 2018 is her third year.

From August 12-21, they and four teammates will drive their two cars - a 1963 Ford Fairlane dubbed "Pink Ladies" (no 52) and a 1968 Ford Falcon (no 49) - from Bonnyrigg near Sydney to Braitling in Alice Springs.

This B to B Variety Bash will cross over the Blue Mountains, to Bathurst, Broken Hill and on to Coober Pedy and Alice Springs, the Red Centre of Australia.

That's 10 days of riotous fun with hundreds of other Bashers.

"I love old cars and I love the Outback and dirt roads - that's what got me into it," Bob said.

"I realised what Variety does for special needs children.

"Being a Basher, you actually get to see where the money goes.

"They provide mobility equipment for children, heaps of equipment for schools."

Bob's car usually raises $11,000 to $12,000 for each Bash.

"The cars have got to raise $8500 - that goes directly to Variety," he said.

"Our expenses are on top of that. It usually costs $2200 per person.

"I do all the work on the cars myself.

"They've got to be reliable and strong.

"The mechanics scrutineer before the Bash."

Bob, as a transport company owner, attracts a lot of sponsorship.

Robyn and the Pink Ladies choose to fundraise.

"This year, we're having a barefoot bowls day, and raffling a holiday," she said.

She loves the playfulness of the event, and finds the Bashers to be warm-hearted and fun-loving.

"There's a real camaraderie among the Bashers and you see the effect Variety is having on communities," she said.

"I just love the fun, all the dressing up and the colour of the event, and the Outback too.

"You rotate your driving and the navigation.

"It's not a race.

"The girls travel quite slowly and are usually at the end of the pack."

Anyone wanting to join the Bash, or donate, find details at the website varietybashnsw.org.au.


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