Team Tonka raises big money for the 2016 NSW Variety Bash

Over $820,000.00 was raised for the 2016 NSW Variety Bash by 84 cars and due to your generous support, Team Tonka raised $ 11,213.75 of that amount, a record for us, so for that a very big THANK YOU.

We covered 3,888 km travelling from Newcastle through to the central west then heading north to the Queensland border town of Goondiwindi, then returning through the hinterland of northern NSW.

It’s a tough job, seven nights away from home, breakfast at five schools with two others provided by other community organisations, six lunches hosted by schools and  dinners hosted by town clubs or hotels. 

We were able to see firsthand the positive effect that Variety the children’s charity makes.

In Collarenebri the principal of the school explained that the mini bus supplied by Variety was not only essential for the development for the students, it also assists in building community.  Without it the students would not be able to participate in excursions and the sporting teams would simply not be able to get to games.  Things we take for granted in the urban environment.  

On Saturday morning at the Tuncurry school we were introduced to a couple of disabled youths, who through the assistance of Variety, participated in special equestrian activities.  It gave them a sense of purpose, which their respective parents explained was a real hurdle for their children.  One example is the story of a young lady who was bed ridden up to two years ago and through a simple spa bath provided by Variety was able to stand next to her proud mother on the morning who explained how the bath helped with her rehabilitation which then  led to the love of horses, which now provides a sense of purpose. 

This was great to see, it reminded us that we were doing something good not just driving from town to town in an old car having a good time.

Another joy of the bash is getting out there and seeing what this country looks like, meeting the people that make it the place it is, from the community which provided us lunch at the most isolated school in NSW, Marra Creek,  with only 7 kids, the closest living 15 klm away and the furthest living 70 klm from the school.  Listening to the young indigenous school captain at Collarenebri, stopping at an isolated pub somewhere near the Queensland border chatting with a couple of concreters, to the “out there” residents of Nimbin, nothing could have prepared me for that visit, are all experiences that will stay with me forever.

This year we nursed the ute around with some major problems appearing less than a week before leaving including  major oil and fuel leaks. Throughout the bash it continued to run hot. Although not the toughest bash we had been on, it certainly took its toll on the ute.  Most likely the effect of previous bashes finally catching up with the 45 year old ute, it will need an engine, gearbox rebuild and suspension upgrade.

On the second last day we lost the left hand side rear axle (see the attached photo), with the right spare parts on board, it took less than an hour to get back on the road with a lot of help from Darren and Mark from Car 21 and a little help from the mobile workshop.  Darren that morning had pranked us by stealing the keys out the ignition just as we were leaving South Grafton Public School, holding everyone up behind us.  The guys went past us did a U turn and got stuck into helping us out as if it was their car they were fixing.  The spirit of the Bashers is amazing, sharing the week with this unique bunch of people is another reason it makes us want to go back.

A big thank you to Damian, my crew mate this year, who had a major influence on the amount we raised, introducing many generous supporters.  Oh and he wasn’t a bad bloke to spend the week with either, tells me that he has never really driven on a dirt road, you wouldn’t know as he did a pretty good job both behind the wheel and with the directions.  We enjoyed a few beers, good stories, some karaoke and some good “craic”, as far as the rest goes what happens on the bash stays on the bash.  Rumour has it he may be entering a car of his own in the near future.

At this stage I plan to fix the old ute up later this year, keeping it as original as possible in keeping with the spirit of the bash and lining up again next year.

So again thanks for your support, rest assured from what I have seen the 93% which gets to the kids really does make a difference.

Again thank you so very much for your generous support. Click here to see the many supporters who kindly donated to the Bash.
Nick Zardo
Car No 120G

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31 May, 2016