RAAF on board for bush bash

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Sergeant Nathan Pearse (left) and Leading Aircraftsman Nathan Ward, pack up their trucks at Lang Park ahead of their departure on the Variety Bash.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Sergeant Nathan Pearse (left) and Leading Aircraftsman Nathan Ward, pack up their trucks at Lang Park ahead of their departure on the Variety Bash. Patricia Reed

HURLING a big 18-speed Mack truck across the outback is a big ask, especially when you are picking up the tail of a field of adventure-seeking fundraisers.

It's a job that members of the Amberley RAAF base have been happily taking on for 20 of the past 25 years of the Variety Bash - an outback rally that raises money for sick and disadvantaged children.

Sergeant Nathan Pearse and Leading Aircraftsman Nathan Ward will this morning set out on a 10-day adventure from Brisbane to Sydney, via some of this nation's most iconic little outback posts.

The Cane Toads to Cockroaches 25th Anniversary Bash will wind through the dirt tracks linking Millmerran, St George, before dipping into NSW and passing through Burke, Dubbo and Bathurst.

Supporting the field of 130 cars will be the two Nathans from the RAAF, each driving a Mack fleetliner full of swags, bags, merchandise and equipment.

"This is my first year and it was one of those things where I knew straight away I wanted to give it a go," Sgt Pearse said.

"The RAAF has been doing this for 20 years so I knew it would be a good thing to be involved in."

The support trucks will leave at the back of the field, but arrive ahead of the field at each destination as the procession winds its way across the country, taking the quicker, bitumen roads while the rally drivers take the outback route.

Leading Aircraftsman Ward is a mechanic, however Sgt Pearse said he hoped his specialist skills would not be required on the adventure.

"We will be happy to get out there on the open road - it's a lot easier than driving these things around town - fewer gear changes," Sgt Pearse said.

As for the rally drivers themselves, they will surely have their work cut out, as they bash their minimum 30-year-old vehicles about the tracks.

The Variety Bash will visit more than 500 children across 11 schools, along the way, assisting local children and community groups as they go.

Money raised will also go on to assist children throughout the year.

Variety spokeswoman Penny Cameron said the assistance of the RAAF had been of great value to the event over the past two decades.

"The RAAF will once again provide two trucks and personnel to assist with moving swags, luggage and other event equipment from location to location, ahead of the rest of the Variety Bash cars to ensure everything is set up in town before they arrive," she said.

"It's an integral role in the enormous logistic movement that is the Variety Bash and Variety - the Children's Charity is incredibly grateful of the support given by RAAF."

Topics:  raaf base amberley variety bash

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