STONY CREEK GO-KARTS, Sunday 20th May.

“Who’s silly idea was this?” I asked as I pulled up beside El Presidente in his Merc at 9:15am – to wit I received a colourful reply…
The previous night’s rainfall had left Gippsland soaked, so Ray with Ian Holdsworth navigating and myself, were about to set off to Stony Creek for a spot of go-karting in the wet. Gumboots seemed more appropriate than suede racing boots…

It was looking like there would only be three of us, but fortunately Alan Humphreys arrived running solo in his Scooby-do BRZ to swell our numbers to an impressive four – Margret being in the United States of Trump visiting their son and DIL.

We set off south from Warragul up the Warragul Korumburra Road, turning off onto the Grand Ridge road and on through Trida where the fog descended and the intermittent showers came in at 45 degrees. At Hallston the rain clouds cleared and a crack of sunlight appeared – could South Gippsland be dry? Onto the Strzelecki Hwy, then up Mardan road to Dumbalk and from there to Meeniyan, with Stony Creek Go-Karts a further few minutes out of town. We all arrived to a soaked Go-Kart track… Barry Sheen’s immortal words rang in my head: “Welcome to Victoria – gateway to hypothermia.”

Undeterred us brave and hardy four signed up for a 10 minute session, thinking that it wouldn’t be long enough to get completely soaked. I let the three more senior members go out ahead of me – out of respect of course – only for my kart to splutter to a halt on the first corner. Frantic waving to the marshal had me restarted – only for it to die again on turn two…  Second times a charm? Restarted again and allowing the kart to warm up for a lap, I started in my pursuit for the others.

Cold slick tyres and a soaked track aren’t a preferred combination, and getting a 360 degree view of a single corner in 1.65 seconds isn’t confidence inspiring… I eventually caught El Presidente at the bottom hairpin. I like to think my rate of approach must have concerned Ray, for he performed a beautiful 180 degree pirouette to make way for me. Ian on the other hand proved more difficult to catch… The karts were, in a corner, either suffering from chronic understeer or oversteer – with nothing in between. On the straights they were fine, but how Ian managed to spin in the middle of the main straight though, remains a mystery…

10 minutes were finally up (thanks heavens) and we retreated to the clubrooms to dry out a bit. Times? Fairly irrelevant because of the conditions, although one could argue a particular RX7 owner came out on top. But we won’t tell him that. Discussions then turned to lunch, with the suggestion of Wood Fired Pizza in Meeniyan being the consensus – at the very least we could all dry out next to the oven.

After consuming the delicious pizza’s (and a glass of boutique ale) we said our goodbyes and headed home. Many thanks to Ray for planning the route over to Stony Creek and booking the Go-Karts – although booking dry weather will be a definite requirement next time…

Lachlan ‘Damp’ Fowler.

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