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Friends take part in wacky race for children's charity

Sam Fyfe (second from right) is preparing to take part in the 2017 Surf & Turf Variety Bash. Checking out the car are (from left) Taj and Kai Lang of Bracken Ridge and Sam's daughter Poppy.
Sam Fyfe (second from right) is preparing to take part in the 2017 Surf & Turf Variety Bash. Checking out the car are (from left) Taj and Kai Lang of Bracken Ridge and Sam's daughter Poppy. Michelle Smith

TWO Brisbane women are preparing to drive almost 4000km over 10 days to raise money for kids in need.

Sam Fyfe and Kirsty Arstall (team Penelope Pitstop) are taking part in the 2017 Surf and Turf Variety Bash from Caloundra to Airlie Beach.

This is the fourth Queensland Variety Bash for the friends of 15 years who, between them, have raised more than $45,000 for Variety - the Children's Charity which supports children and families who face challenges through sickness, disadvantage or living with a disability.

"In the first year Kirsty involved me we were just interested in doing a car rally,” Ms Fyfe said.

"We chose Variety and we got hooked. We got hooked so much that I also do the 4WD Explorer for Variety and Kirsty did the Variety Jet Trek (on jetski).

"We like that we are supporting children in need.”

The Bash leaves from Caloundra on August 30 and teams will travel 3981km to Airlie Beach, via Longreach.

"We'll be doing 11 hour days with stops, usually 400 to 600km a day,” Ms Fyfe said.

"Ninety-five per cent of the trek will be off road as in going through people's properties, along fire trails and dirt roads; only 5% will be on bitumen.”

The women will be driving a pink 1970 HT Holden named Penelope which has been decorated with giant red lips on the grille and eyelashes on the lights, and with Penelope's car, The Pussycat, on top.

"We use it to store tents and jerry cans; it's really a roof rack,” Ms Fyfe said.

They have driven Penelope in two of their previous Bashes, in 2014 and 2016.

"We've got a new CB radio this year, but there's no air conditioning,” Ms Fyfe said.

"She always does the job. Shane (Leighton) has done so much work on her that she's probably at her best for an old girl.”

Mr Leighton of Bracken Ridge has been helping repair cars for Variety Bashes for 13 years but now just focuses on Penelope Pitstop, making sure the car is up for the trek.

Ms Fyfe said she was looking forward to the Bash, which was always a lot of fun.

"We enjoy the camaraderie and meeting the children and families who benefit along the way.

"We bring the Bash to small towns. Sometimes we go to towns of 100 people and 300 of us turn up and they supply us with meals and they get the financial benefit. They make us feel really welcome.”

To sponsor team Penelope Pitstop go to www.variety.org.au/QLD/Donate/General-donation/ and quote 'Car 4000' in the comments.

Penelope Pitstop is a fictional character who appeared in the animated series Wacky Races; her car was named the Compact Pussycat.

Topics:  ht holden penelope pitstop surf and turf variety bash the pussycat variety bash variety childrens charity


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