Team Shoalhaven prepares as Variety’s bash hits 30

IN workshops throughout the Shoalhaven the finishing touches are being added to old cars in preparation for the 30th Variety Club Bash.

BUILDING A BOMBER: Bill Rigney and John Lawrence have a few ‘minor’ adjustments to make to their Variety Club Bash car before entering this year’s 30th anniversary event.

BUILDING A BOMBER: Bill Rigney and John Lawrence have a few ‘minor’ adjustments to make to their Variety Club Bash car before entering this year’s 30th anniversary event.

To mark the anniversary, six state and territory bashes will converge in Sydney for a celebration in August.

The 2014 Variety Dick Smith B to B Bash will start in Brisbane and arrive in Sydney.

A parade of more than 700 outrageously themed vintage vehicles will cross Sydney’s Harbour Bridge on Sunday, August 17.

As always there will be a strong contingent of Shoalhaven bashers, among them, John Lawrence and Bill Rigney.

Mr Lawrence has completed 10, while Mr Rigney has done 12 bashes.

“I am excited about the magnitude of this bash and its epic arrival into Sydney,” Mr Lawrence said.

“It is such a wonderful accomplishment that Variety has kept this event going for this long. What an achievement.

The Bash really is the definition of joyriding with children at towns along the way delighting in the colourful costumes and themed cars. 

Given the Bash criteria is that the vehicles must be pre-1974, Mr Lawrence’s team is aiming to stand out with their 1972 Ford Fairlaine which is decked out with rockets that smoke and includes F1-11 decals along each side. Even the number plate reads F1-11.

While some bashers ‘retire’ their beloved cars after one too many mechanical problems, Mr Lawrence and Mr Rigney are so attached to the Fairlane they keep patching it up.

In the last three years this has included a motor replacement, differential and axle replacements, full rewiring. They are waiting on new side sills and rust removal in time for this year’s bash.

“Our Bash car is a never ending job, but we know this car inside out, so we’re sticking with it,” Mr Lawrence said.

Their persistence has seen the team win the perseverance award in 2011, when after experiencing a broken axle, they spent the night on the side of the road east of MT Barnett, WA waiting for a tow truck to arrive.

“We got into Mt Barnett in the early hours of the morning, had two hours sleep before welding up the axle,” Mr Lawrence said.

“We were thinking we were good to go when the starter motor jammed and so we put the car on the hoist in Mt Barnett to fix it and then the hoist broke.

“After two more hours of manually winding the car down with a pair of large spanners, we finally got back on the road.

“That’s what sets a Basher apart from the crowds; stubborn determination.”

NSW’s colourful convoy of 350 Bashers and 110 vehicles will set out from Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on August 8 and visit 17 regional and remote towns across Queensland, NSW and Victoria throughout the 10 day, 4929 kilometre adventure.

The Bash entrants will roll into Bundaberg, Blackwater, Barcaldine, Burrenbilla, Brewarrina, Broken Hill, Balranald, Bonegilla and Bowral along the way.

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