Five Sporting Register members recently completed a four-day road-trip stretching from the flanks of Kosciusko in the Snowy Mountains, to the mouth of the Snowy River at Marlo. Kevin Riley drove his Mercedes AMG SL55, Glenn Campbell was in his BMW M3, Ray Youlden his Mercedes AMG C63, Rob Coustley in the V8 Mustang and your correspondent in his BMW Z4 35i. Day One covered 450km through the scenic Strathbogie Ranges and fertile valleys of central and northern Victoria, staying overnight in the pretty little town of Beechworth.
Day Two, we bade farewell to Rob who was heading home, and headed out through the hills around Stanley and on towards Murtleford before turning northwards to the Hume Weir. We parked near the dam wall and were surprised to see a TV crew setting up to record a segment for the TV show, Better Homes and Gardens with presenters Johanna Griggs and Karen Martini. Kevin was keen to be part of the show, but the make-up crew would have found the task too overwhelming. Instead, we went searching for the old Hume Weir racetrack, finding what was left of the Scrutineering Shed and some Armco fencing that pointed the way down to what was called Scrub Corner. A small lake now covers what was the Pit area and parts of the concrete wall which stood separating the main and back straights were found broken into sections and relocated.
Returning to the cars we then continued our travels following the lake northwards and then east to Granya for a run through the Granya Gap before crossing the border at Jingellic and heading for Tumbarumba for lunch. The Paddy’s River Falls necessitated a short stop in the afternoon as we headed back to Victoria through Tooma and Towong stopping overnight in Corryong.
Day Three, Mark Biggs, our friend from Drouin joined us for the final two days, driving his new Kia Stinger. We again entered NSW on some fabulous roads with beautiful scenery up through Khancoban and following the Alpine Way through Thredbo to Jindabyne – the run was spoilt only by the ludicrous 60km/h speed limit through much of the Kosciusko National Park.
The weather turned a bit showery as we approached Bombala for lunch, so the roofs went up on the convertibles for the afternoon run down to Cann River. It cleared up again with blue skies greeting us at our overnight destination in Marlo, which is where the Snowy River flows into the sea. Mark enjoyed the run in his Stinger and we only had to wait a couple of times for him to catch up through the twisty bits.
Day Four began with 54 kilometres of twists and turns through bushfire-damaged, but regenerating forests along the Orbost-Buchan Rd in Victoria’s far east – it was a great way to start the day. The weather was perfect for top-down driving and the pops, crackles and rumble from the AMG C63 in front made it even more enjoyable. It was also nice to catch a glimpse in the mirror every now and again, of the orange Stinger which managed to hang on to our tail most of the way.
We were soon back in familiar territory, so after morning tea in Bruthen, I parted company and made directly for home whilst the rest of the crew enjoyed a route encompassing the less-travelled roads and towns.
Over the four days we covered 1600km, crossed the NSW/Vic border numerous times without being stopped, washed the cars four times and encountered no mechanical problems with any of them. The Stinger, however, on its way to joining us in Corryong did lose its turbo boost at one stage and had to be Control-Alt-Deleted with a restart to bring the boost back again. The issue didn’t recur, so the cause remains a mystery
For what it’s worth, we compared our cars’ fuel economy after 350km of spirited driving from Corryong up to Thredbo and down to Cann River for the refuel. Ray’s C63 was thirtiest at 14.2 L/100km, next was Kevin’s SL55 with 12.6, Glenn’s M3 achieved 12.3, the Stinger 9.8 and the Z4 9.2.
A terrific four days on the road with great cars, nice roads and good company. Thanks must go to Kevin for planning the route, organizing overnight stays and for leading most of the way.
“Nice” (Rick Dathan)