Mike and Di once again hosted our annual Christmas motorkhana and BBQ at their very scenic dairy property just a few kilometres north of Neerim South. The front paddock and house gardens had been beautifully prepared and they offered the perfect venue for a grass motorkhana and our garden-party BBQ tea. Although it was quite warm and muggy, the anticipated cool change with a few drops of rain, held off long enough so as not to disturb our proceedings.
Although we could only rustle up 11 competitors, it was nice to see a healthy number of members and neighbours bringing their cars out to support those who were competing, and staying on to attend the BBQ. Once again this year we need to thank Ian Holdsworth for arranging to borrow Warragul Rotary Club’s excellent portable BBQ, which our members put to good use.
Five motorkhana tests were conducted, the first being the traditional 6-flag pick-up event that required co-ordination and teamwork between the driver and their passenger. The subsequent four tests were all variations on more traditional tests which required the driver to navigate a set course around a series of witches hats laid out on the somewhat slippery grass paddock. Several courses tested the competitor’s memory recall as well as their driving skill, those who got it wrong earned themselves a WD (wrong direction) which is scored as the slowest correctly driven time on that particular test, plus 10 seconds. A penalty of 5 seconds is also given to a driver for each witches hat they dislodged during a test – those heavy of right foot and exuberance tallied up a few of these as well.
Spridgets always do well in motorkhanas, they have pin-sharp steering, good weight balance, power and traction, so it was no surprise to see Allan Richards top the table after some clean and accurate driving in the MG Midget. Locky Fowler driving his father’s Sprite wouldn’t have been that far behind Allan had it not been for a WD on the second test which relegated him to seventh place overall. Ed Denovan placed second outright in his Alfa GTV despite scoring a WD on the second test. Ed actually beat Allan on the final test and drove the Alfa enthusiastically to make up for his earlier brain-fade. John Fowler drove his MX5 into third place, but like many others had to overcome the penalty of a WD on the third test. The all-wheel-drive WRX placed fourth with Ron Brooks behind the wheel. The advantage of extra traction being somewhat offset by a tendency to understeer under power. Mike Whitford tried to make the best of his home-ground advantage, but came home in fifth place driving his circuit racing BMW E30 shod with race tyres. It was obviously not that well suited to off-road use. Never one to let an opportunity to open the throttle go by, David Anderson drove his V8 MGB into an entertaining sixth place with several lurid spins around cones that were not necessarily in keeping with the test layout. Glenise and Rex Connor made welcome return to Sporting Register activities after a 2-year hiatus. They took turns to drive Rex’s very tidy gold RX7 which they trailered down from their home in Melbourne. Rex was unfortunately stung with penalty times from two WDs which dropped him down to 10th place. Glenise beat her hubby’s times on two tests, but also had to carry the penalty of a WD on the third test to eventually place in eighth. Ed Denovan’s son, Trent, was given the keys to the Alfa and like a good son, who might one day like to drive the car again, made sure not to eclipse his father’s times. Trent also copped a WD on the last test to come home in ninth place. Half way through the afternoon Paul Mogensen turned up in his bright yellow MGA-powered Milano and gave it a run on the final three tests. He was fourth fastest in the second-last test, but also scored a WD on Test 3.
Special thanks to Phil Barnard who parked his Porsche Boxster and stood out in the sun all afternoon shooting off over 400 photos. These were culled to the mere 150 that you see here. Enjoy !