Three blokes, a reincarnated 1976 Fairlane, 12 days of travel, and hopefully for their sake, not a can of baked beans in sight. Wangaratta’s George Prothero, Neville Johnson and Allan Jewell are gearing up for one hell of a road trip that has sick children at heart.
The trio have entered their first ever Variety Bash, which this year celebrates its 21st anniversary, and will take its hundreds of participants from Melbourne to Tasmania, where the whole island will be toured.
“Basically we’re in it for the fun, and to try and raise $30,000 to help underprivileged kids,” said George, who has assembled the team to represent his company, Alpine Truss Pty Ltd.
“I’d always threatened to do it and we’re all raring to go.”
“We’ve had great support so far and raised close to $23,000 for Variety, which is good. We’re doing it because we know the money goes direct to underprivileged kids. We’re very keen to raise more, of course,” said George. (If you would like to support the fundraising phone 03 5721 6000, mobile 0407 423 491, or email [email protected]). “All the funds raised go to support underprivileged children, and we’re really looking forward to the opportunity to get out and help promote Wangaratta,” said George.
All three are into cars, with George and Neville both owning classic 1956 and 1955 Chevs, and Neville also being a mechanic by trade.
But it’s fair to say the most experienced member of the team will be the 1976 Fairlane.
“It’s been in a fair few bash events before,” said George.
“It’s a beast of a car, powered by a V8 302…it guzzles the fuel, but rides quite comfortable.
“I picked her up in Mornington and we’ve been doing quite a bit of work to meet the stringent roadworthy standards, as a fair bit of the event involves off road driving.
“You’ve got to take a heap of spare equipment and we’ve built a compartment on top of the roof to accommodate all the gear.”
Bash events are known for the ‘wackiness’ of the entrants, their often ‘outrageous’ vehicles, and the various stunts and activities they pull to help fundraise along the way and engage with the communities visited.
The trio’s mighty Fairline is plastered with supportive local sponsors, has a dab of fluro here and there, a flotilla of orange emergency lights and of course sirens and a loud speaker, complete with the formidable Mr Whippy tune.
“Yeah, it should be great fun, but we’re not getting dressed up,” said George.
“We’ll all take turns driving, but I don’t reckon we’ll sleep when Neville’s behind the wheel.”
2011 Bash Route
Day 1 Monday 22 August – Melbourne to Warragul
Day 2 Tuesday 23 August – Warragul to Station Pier / Spirit of Tasmania
Day 3 Wednesday 24 August – Devonport to Stanley & Smithton
Day 4 Thursday 25 August – Stanley & Smithton
Day 5 Friday 26 August – Smithton to Strahan
Day 6 Saturday 27 August – Strahan
Day 7 Sunday 28 August – Strahan to Hobart
Day 8 Monday 29 August – Hobart
Day 9 Tuesday 30 August – Hobart to Freycinet Peninsula
Day 10 Wednesday 31 August – Freycinet to Launceston
Day 11 Thursday 1 September – Launceston
Day 12 Friday 2 September – Launceston to Devonport / Spirit of Tasmania