MID-WEEK RUN to SAWTELLIS RESTAURANT, TOORADIN – Thursday 23rd February

Wow! What beautiful scenery we have in Gippsland. John and Jan planned another invigorating run, this time to La Casa Sawtellis restaurant in Tooradin on Sawtells Inlet, Westernport Bay. John thoughtfully planned two routes there – one direct and the other the longer ‘scenic route’. Most of us gathered at the Darnum tearooms before our 11am departure but some joined us en route and at Tooradin. After receiving route maps and briefing, most decided on the all-sealed road 84km scenic route. We were well rewarded with winding, hilly roads through the greening countryside.

We started off west along the freeway to the Warragul-Korumburra road then south to Stockdales Rd, right into Hamiltons Rd and left onto Larders Track. We turned right onto the Torwood-Topiram Rd where our Editor Steve had found a suitable spot in his MkI Austin-Healey Sprite to photograph the convoy. Kevin was setting the pace in his Mercedes-Benz SL500 AMG, the throaty 5 litre V8 warned Steve of our impending arrival. Our MINI Cooper was behind an immaculate maroon MGB which helped us identify the various bumps and undulations in the road – thank you! Those that had time were treated to a great westerly panorama from the ridge as we descended to the Main South Rd where we turned onto Timms Rd through Poowong North to join the Drouin-Korumburra Rd and on to Poowong. The truck that joined us before Poowong fortunately seemed to join in to the spirited driving too! At Poowong we turned right onto the Lang Lang-Poowong Rd with another scenic run down to Nyora with more top views from the hillside. Another quick drive along the ubiquitous McDonalds Track into Lang Lang then joining the South Gippsland Hwy and on to Tooradin. Unfortunately, there had been a slight altercation between two trucks which slowed the surprisingly heavy amount of traffic on the highway.

When we were all parked at Sawtellis we could appreciate the wide range of our member’s cars from Asia, Australia, Britain, Europe and the USA. They spanned around 60 years from a 1950’s MG TD, 1960’s Mustangs, 1970’s MGB’s, 1980/90’s Mazda MX5’s to a menacing black HSV Maloo ute complete with spoiler and thumping big V8 engine and on to Harry’s more sedate E-Class Mercedes-Benz. All the cars looked immaculate, but I was particularly impressed by the beautiful blue 1973, I think, Bolwell Nagari. Bill Petshack’s Austin-Healey 3000 sounded just how a sports car should as well as giving Bill a good driving workout too! Richard’s lovely white Daimler 2.5V8 handled the roads well with the Koni shockers complementing the 1960’s suspension well. John would like his Jaguar XJ-S to breathe a little more freely to really unleash the V12’s full potential.

Sawtellis were flat out catering for the 41 of us (I’m not sure if the leather-clad couple on the Moto Guzzi were with us or just arrived as we all did). We were nearly all seated in the under-cover al fresco area behind the main building. The main building itself comprises several joined dining rooms and is also an extensive art gallery displaying for sale big, bright, bold and colourful paintings with ‘rustic’ sculptures outside, also for sale. The service from the kitchen and bar was excellent with a wide range of Australian and Italian-inspired dishes available at reasonable prices. So, all-in-all, another most enjoyable outing thanks to John and Jan – well done again!

Words by Alan Humphreys, photos John Fowler, John Cobbledick and your editor.

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