When the Variety Bash kicks off its 25th event in Two Wells this Saturday, August 10, it will be the second time in the acclaimed South Australian tour’s history it has passed through the main street.
The “bashers” will head off for a week of fun around SA, finishing at McLaren Vale on August 17 – but back in 1988, Two Wells was the first “pit-stop” on the tour, with hundreds of locals leaving work early and businesses shutting up shop to witness the event at the town oval.
Kids from the local school also came along, forming a guard of honor as the “bashers” left for their trek to Bourke.
Someone who was there taking part with his aptly named car TWAAT (Two Wells Alcohol Appreciation Team) was David Stodart, who has long been a well-known and loved member of the Two Wells community.
David remembers the fanfare and excitement of the event as it passed through on its way to Bourke, the official start of the bash, which would end in the Northern Territory at Blatherskite in Alice Springs nearly two weeks later.
Taking part with his 1954 Ford Customline, Car 202 consisted of David, Ian Carmichael, Joe Cremona, and Bob Rowe, with Malcolm Goss and Brian Carter acting as support crew.
During their stop-over in Two Wells, the team helped raise more than $300 for Two Wells Primary School to purchase books and reading materials for children with learning difficulties by channeling their inner Ned Kelly and collecting “fines” from other participants.
“I thought it’d be good fun,” David said as to why he took part.
“I had the car (and) we made some great friendships out of this, absolutely brilliant friendships.”
In the lead-up to the 1988 event, one publicity brochure described the team as a “crew of rascals” who were “sure to leave a mark on the 1988 Bash”.
And so they did, impressively raising more than $10,000 and taking out the Best Daily Run award on Bash day 5.
The support crew was also given a special award for “Best Support Team” throughout the event.
David is looking forward to next month’s kick-off in Two Wells, saying the stop over in 1988 was a terrific event for the town.
“It was such a great atmosphere, the whole town turned out,” he said.
“Gave us a hell of a thrill to see so many there when we drove in, towards the rear of the field as usual.
“Hopefully this year’s event will see the same.
“When you go and see one you really just want to jump in the car and join in.”
David has also participated in the Royal Flying Doctor Service’s annual trek for the best part of a decade.
This years Variety Bash “Off the Beaten Track” will travel from Two Wells to McLaren Vale, taking in Cowell, Streaky Bay, Wudinna, Mt Ive Station, Quorn and Burra along the way, and hopes to beat last year’s result of $1.8 million raised.