Bluedog gives back with Variety Bash
The 3000km Variety Bash convoy through outback Australia kicks off September 30, and the boys at Bluedog Training are stepping up for the third year to help kids who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs.
"We first did the bash two years ago, and now each car has run one," Bluedog Training Director Brad Deas said.
"The entry fee per car is $8,500 and that goes to Variety Children's Charity.
"Bluedog Training contributes the entry fees and we raise money on top of that through our Everyday Heroes account.
"We're hoping to raise $35,000 this year.
Brad decided three years ago to take part in his first Bash with his trusty Holden HG ute, running a notoriously reliable 186 and a few other goodies.
The following year he entered his tough-looking Holden HK wagon with a slightly more potent 350 Chev under the hood, which mind you chews through more fuel than he'd care to discuss!
The engine work in Brad's two cars has been done by well-known engine builder Jeff Hayley from J&L Machining, and they look and sound the part as a result!
This 2016 Bash will see Brad and his good mate Peter Pollock run both cars, the two Holden's covered in Bluedog Training livery and plenty of stickers.
The comradery on the long distance run is legendary and it ensures everyone makes it to the finish line, because things can go wrong and when they do, it's good to know you're not alone.
"Everyone chips in on the bash and we make sure everyone gets through," Brad said.
"We did a diff in Sydney and within two hours we'd replaced the diff centre and we were back on the road.
"I've even seen gearboxes and motors pulled, in particular a VW one year!
"The team spirit is great and everyone just gets involved for a bloody great cause."
Brad says the line-up of cars is sensational, and while there is loads of variety, classic Aussie makes are the most common.
"It's mostly Fords and Holdens, with a couple of European makes.
"Parts availability makes Fords and Holdens a popular choice, and they're easy to fix."
The event is built around the 'Bashers', as they're respectably known, meeting with locals, school children, parents and brightening their day with much-needed equipment and services.
"We go to remote schools and towns and really make a day of it.
"We've given the kids rides in the cars before and they love it."
The most memorable moment in the two Bash's Brad has done so far, is one particular donation that changed the life of a young girl.
"My most memorable moment was in Emerald when they donated a wheelchair.
"The wheelchair was motorised and going to a little girl who needed a custom design so she could sit up in it.
"The headmaster was so thankful, he was so appreciative and it just makes such a big difference."
Along with all the stops along the way, the teams have plenty of fun, too.
"It is fun too, there's a lot of practical jokes!
"They've got great themed nights, Aussie Night, Ladies and Tradies, Oktoberfest, and others.
Brad's advice is that if you hear or see the cars, don't be shy.
"If you see the bash cruising through, say g'day!"
Peter Pollock, Brad's long time mate, will be heading along this year in one of the cars and says the Bash is close to his heart.
"I've got disabled children myself, so I like seeing that we're helping," Peter said.
"It's also great meeting such good people and seeing a bit of the country along the way."
Each of the Bluedog Training teams will dress up this year, but at this point their theme is under wraps!
This year's Bash will see 84 teams and 131 cars in total including officials and mechanics, take to the roads of Queensland and News South Wales to help those who need it most.
The 2016 'Dusty Swags to Chequered Flags' Variety Bash kicks off in Warwick on Friday September 30, and 3000km later, entrants will arrive in Bathurst just in time to watch the mighty V8 Supercars at the Bathurst 1000.
TO DONATE, visit Bluedogtraining.com.au and scroll down to the donation section.
Bluedog Training is a finalist for Queensland's training provider of the year and trained the apprentice of the year for 2016.