Navy Bashers sail across finish line

Published on MIDN Aaron Wischusen (author), POMUSN Esa Thomas (photographer), Unknown (photographer)

Navy’s 2014 NSW Variety Bash team celebrate after crossing the finish line. (Left to right) Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Adrian Pay, Petty Officer (PO) Esa Thomas, LCDR Graeme Wong, LCDR Shane Tacon, PO Brett Ross, PO Anthony Tobias and Warrant Officer Brian Poole.  (photo: Unknown)
Navy’s 2014 NSW Variety Bash team celebrate after crossing the finish line. (Left to right) Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Adrian Pay, Petty Officer (PO) Esa Thomas, LCDR Graeme Wong, LCDR Shane Tacon, PO Brett Ross, PO Anthony Tobias and Warrant Officer Brian Poole.

After 6,000km, ten days, eleven stops, three flat tyres and one broken axel, seven exhausted yet excited Navy members have crossed the finish line of the 2014 NSW Variety Bash, in Sydney.
 
The two Navy Bash cars affectionately named the ‘sub’ and the ‘tall ship’ faithfully delivered their crews across the line, along with 550 other bash cars from across the country.
 
Navy’s NSW team organiser and Bash participant Lieutenant Commander Graeme ‘Soozie’ Wong said it was inspiring to see this year’s contingent of bash cars finish together.
 
“This year was a national event where Variety Bashes from all six states came together in Sydney at the same time, like us, some had finished, some were in the middle of their Bash while and one Bash was just starting.
 
“It was rather special having everyone together to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the event.” Lieutenant Commander Wong said.

Navy Variety Bash car 'the sub,’ en route to Bonegilla, Victoria.

Navy Variety Bash car 'the sub,’ en route to Bonegilla, Victoria.


The Navy team joined over 1,700 colour characters in Moore Park for a celebration of their achievements, which included raising almost $8 million this year alone.
 
Although Lieutenant Commander Wong admits the bash is challenging he said that it was worth while for the experience.
 
“At a number of towns we stopped in, we got to see first hand the work Variety is doing for Australian children.”
 
“Whether the children were given computers, iPads, sports equipment or bikes, it was evident the difference Variety was making to their lives.
 
“It was also rewarding to know that the money we raised on the NSW Variety Bash was going to such a great initiative.” Lieutenant Commander Wong said.
 
Team Navy raised $17,700 for Variety this year, contributing to the almost $2 million raised by the NSW Bash alone.

The colourful Navy Variety Bash team stop for lunch in Balranald, NSW.

The colourful Navy Variety Bash team stop for lunch in Balranald, NSW.


Lieutenant Commander Wong said that overall the trip was a resounding success and that despite the age of their vehicles they experienced few breakdowns.
 
“Aside from a couple of wrong turns, a suspension problem and a few flat tyres, we made it safely and together.”
 
This year’s team of Navy Bashers were: Lieutenant Commander Graeme "Soozie" Wong, Lieutenant Commander Adrian "Alphonse" Pay, Lieutenant Commander Shane "Taco" Tacon, Warrant Officer Brian "Pooley" Poole, Chief Petty Officer Brett "Roscoe" Ross, Petty Officer Anthony "Toby" Tobias and Petty Officer Esa "Ejay" Thomas.
 
Founded in 1927, Variety is an international charity that raises funds to support children who are sick or disadvantaged. Variety Australia, alone, delivers over $1 million in equipment grants per month to assist children in need.
 
All funds raised in Australia through the Variety Bash are used to help Australian children.