By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier

Two thousand five-hundred kilometres of regional NSW has been bumped, rallied and bashed in the name of needy children in the annual instalment of the Variety NSW AHA Bash. 

Over 220 people in 75 customised vehicles fitting the description of pre-1974 ‘old, distinctive and much-loved’ traversed this year’s course through the NSW South Coast, Southern Highlands, Riverina, Central West and Hunter, raising money for charity.

This is the third time the AHA NSW has sponsored the week-long event, which has raised $2 million in that time.

AHA NSW director of policing and membership John Green once again took part in the Bash, which wound up yesterday in Newcastle. 

“The event is not a race, it’s about putting back into the community, which is why it is such a good fit with country hotels as that is what they do so often,” Green said.

“The looks on the faces of children in small country schools when they receive gifts, performances and much-needed funds is the winner.”

This year saw even more AHA NSW members participating, from Scone, Cessnock, Newcastle, Harrington and Shellharbour, with Newcastle’s Bar 121 licensee Brett McGovern – dressed as Toy Story’s ‘Woody’ in ‘AHA-3’ – receiving the award for “Most Enthusiastic Virgin” (first-time Basher).

The hotel crews, including the Newcastle Sub Branch and AHA NSW together raised more than $100,000.

This year the “Beer of the Bash” was Carlton Cold, provided by Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) with 50 per cent of the sale in each pub donated to Variety. 

“Every afternoon you would come over a hill on a dirt road and find a small country pub surrounded by weird and wacky pre-1974 vehicles. Country pubs as we know are doing it tough, so to see a licensee do a week’s trade in the time we visited was heartening.

“We also provided our diamond sponsor St George with an opportunity to have their regional staff jump in our car for a morning or afternoon leg… there is nothing quite as pleasing as seeing a banker emerge from the back seat of the EH, covered in dirt but with a beaming smile!” said Green.

He said planning is already underway for next year’s route, which will be announced later this year, and that a national ‘Brisbane to Busby’s Bore’ Bash event is scheduled to take place in August.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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