BREAKFAST CLUB & XMAS RUN to PICNIC POINT – Sunday 8th December

It’s taken about five months, but at last a fine, sunny Sunday coincided with our monthly Breakfast Club gathering – as well as the Christmas Run to Picnic Point (Longwarry North) which followed immediately afterwards.

Unfortunately, your correspondent was so preoccupied with making signs, organising keys to unlock the gates at Picnic Point, finding something to take for lunch, fitting the largest possible folding chair into the Fiat Spider, charging batteries, fuelling up and setting tyre pressures, that the trusty camera was left at home! The result is a much smaller gallery of mobile phone photos that doesn’t really do justice to the variety and numbers of cars on display. There were over seventy special vehicles gracing the Woolies’ carpark this month, ranging from Hot Rods to classic and modern sports cars.

It was good to see Steve Trapnell’s yellow Porsche 911S which has been forlornly sitting in his shed for many months just waiting for the right opportunity to turn a wheel. It was also hard to miss Trevor Batt’s Kermit Green Mk.1 Escort making its debut appearance. Trevor has been ironing the bugs out of this recent acquisition that’s powered by a warm 2-litre Pinto engine. Ross McConnell surprised us at the Geelong Revival with his Renmax sports car racer, but he’s also found himself a FPV Falcon GT which he brought along this month – talk about chalk and cheese! Another debut appearance this month was that of Grant Buck’s black Nissan 350Z, one of I think, three of this particular model in the club now.

A 1920’s Fiat 501 Tourer belonging to Brodie Bishop teamed up with a similar vintage Model T Ford and Mark McKibbin’s Austin 7 Special to represent the early days of motoring whilst a stunning AMG Mercedes GTC Coupe illustrated the current thinking in supercar design and performance.

Come 10am, the select group of members who felt like a drive through the hills to Picnic Point, departed Warragul and headed off in the opposite direction to that of our final destination. The 53-kilometre route took us out through Buln Buln East, along the Mizpah Settlement and McDougal Roads to Neerim South before turning west to Jindivick, then south to Labertouche and eventually Longwarry North. It was a pretty drive through lush, hilly farmland, it’s just a shame that some of the roads are in a pretty poor state – and have been for a number of years. Glenn and Pam Campbell met us in Jindivick in their BMW M3, but followed on later after enjoying the café’s scones with jam and cream.  Ray Youlden, having been entrusted with the Shire’s key which opens the gates to the large grassed and treed area at Picnic Point, took a direct route to the park and had found the most suitable area for our picnic. Over 30 cars and 50 people joined us there for lunch and stayed on well into the afternoon.

From all accounts, it seems like everybody had a terrific day, but after two weeks of cold, blustery westerly winds and below-average temperatures, it was nice to just spend a day outside and if you had a roofless sports car, it was even better. Thank you to all who participated.

First 4 photos by Andrew Wilson.

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In search of that perfect road – THE SNOWY MOUNTAINS 4-DAY ESCAPE. November 19th to 22nd.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult and fraught with consequences to enjoy the roads close to centres of human habitation. So what better way to appreciate the performance of some very capable drivers’ cars than to take them on a mountain escape.

Participating in this four-day 2000km romp were Sporting Register members Kevin Riley (SL55 AMG), Ray Youlden (E63 AMG), Ian Holdsworth (RX7 Turbo), Glenn Campbell (M3), Steve Schmidt (Z4 35i) and regular ring-in Rob Morley (SL350). Plans were made to exclude major roads where possible, but to search out routes where a car’s handling and performance could be exploited.

Day One began with a breakfast at Frankies in Warragul before heading east through the back blocks north of the Princes Highway to Lake Glenmaggie, Genaladale and onto Bruthen for lunch. From Bruthen we headed for Buchan – purely so that we could drive the 60-odd km from there to Orbost on a delightful piece of road that rarely straightens out. Unfortunately, once at Orbost, there was no alternative than to join the truck and caravan convoy east along the Princes Highway to Cann River where we took the opportunity to refuel before heading north to Bombala. The pattern of fuel consumption evidenced here was typical of each stop. The rotary-engined Mazda was always thirstiest by a fair margin from the two forced induction V8 AMG Mercedes, then came the V8 M3 BMW, the 3.5 litre V6 SL 350 and then the twin-turbo 3-litre straight six BMW Z4 which averaged 9.6 l/100km for the whole trip. Traffic was light as we headed north on the scenic Cann River Highway and the truck drivers were courteous enough to allow us to overtake when the opportunity arose. Our overnight destination, the coastal town of Merimbula was reached by traversing the ranges through the small picturesque hamlets of Cathcart, Tantawangalo and Candelo. Once settled in and visiting the obligatory car wash, we all enjoyed a Mexican meal in a café overlooking the harbour.

Day Two saw us back-tracking to Candelo before joining the Snowy Mountains Highway for the climb across Brown Mountain. Unfortunately, one particular caravaner spoilt our fun until the road opened up after the summit. Beneath cool, blue skies with little wind we made good time crossing the Monaro High plains, the three convertibles enjoying the perfect roof-less conditions. A pause at Dalgety for morning tea gave us a chance to renew acquaintances with the café owner and an over-the-road neighbour who remembered us stopping here during a similar run twelve months ago. From there it was northwards around the eastern side of the Eucumbene Dam to Adaminaby for lunch. Continuing northwards on beautiful roads through the Kosciusko National Park we noticed in our mirrors a car catching us from behind. We slowed to let it pass, thinking that it may have evil intentions, but it turned out to be a harmless tradie who knew the road well and was having a bit of fun sticking to our tail. A twenty-minute stop for roadworks just south of Talbingo gave us a chance to meet our tag-along tradie as well as a caravanning family who offered to let us go in front of them once the road opened up again. After being escorted seven kilometres down the hill and past the site of the afore-mentioned roadworks, which was nothing more than a blocked lane as they filled a table-sized area of damage in the road, we turned off to Talbingo which is a pretty little town on the banks of the Blowering Reservoir. The 40km run alongside the reservoir to our over-night stop in Tumut was uneventful for all except Kevin who must have frightened his Merc’s roll-over sensor into believing disaster was imminent – it duly activated its pop-up roll-over bar with an unexpected explosive bang startling the wits out of Kevin. Figuring out how to retract the bar, took a couple of phone calls and some research of the owner’s manual back in the motel carpark, but it was eventually reset and the roof closed for the night.

Day Three began with a refuel before we turned south towards Tumbarumba and the scenic Paddy’s River Falls. A certain Z4 driver was on point duty, but missed a critical signposted left turn onto the Elliot Way which was going to take us the long way around through the mountains to Corryong. No-one else saw the sign either, so we ended up on a scenic valley drive that still arrived in Corryong, but a couple of hours early! The day was warming up quickly, so air-conditioners and fixed tops seemed to be the way to go, although Kevin decided to keep his roof stowed. The run along the Murray River was a nice drive, but the fun stuff began once we turned south through the Mt Granya State Park. Lunch then followed at Tallangatta which was becoming quite hazy as the hot northerly winds carried the NSW bushfire smoke south. With temperatures now in the high thirties, we headed down the Kiewa Valley towards Mt Beauty, then across the Towonga Gap to our overnight destination, Bright.

Day Four dawned nice and cool after a thundery, but dry, cool-change overnight. The cars needed a decent wash to clear the combined dust and sparse raindrops from the overnight storm, but with a carwash nearby, relief was in sight. We breakfasted at a café overlooking the Ovens River with lycra-clad cyclists and leather-clad, trike riders who had descended upon Bright in plague proportions. During breakfast the council lawnmower contractor decided it would be an ideal time to mow the parklands surrounding the car park where our recently washed vehicles were parked, so some car shuffling was required to avoid them being showered in clouds of dust and grit, unfortunately the café patrons couldn’t avoid such a fate. After breakfast we farewelled Ian who needed to save time (and fuel) by taking the direct route home. The rest of us headed back over the Towonga Gap to Mt Beauty and up the mountain to Falls Creek. The last time we attempted this route it was snowing heavily and we were forced to abandon our plans to cross the Bogong High Plains to reach the Omeo Highway.

This time, the weather was in our favour, the roads were clear and the only snow in sight was small patches in sheltered hollows. The run across the roof of Victoria was magnificent and we made such good time to the Blue Duck Café (Anglers Rest) on the Omeo Highway, that we arrived well before their opening time. It was decided to continue on to Omeo for lunch. Rob had followed Glenn’s M3 down from the high plains and had obviously worked his brakes hard. When leaving the Blue Duck as Tail-End-Charlie, Rob found he had no brakes. Heat from the brakes whilst stationary had boiled the brake fluid resulting in a very low pedal and next to no retardation. With no way to contact the rest of the group who had walkie talkies, Rob continued on at 40km/h reaching Omeo just as the rest of the team were finishing lunch and about to send out a search party. The brakes eventually recovered and Rob was able to continue on home to Traralgon with no further problems, but it’s probably worth thinking about how long it’s been since your brake fluid was last replaced.

From Omeo to Swifts Creek and on through Tambo Crossing to Bruthen is a great drive with a mixture of open flowing roads and some tight twisty sections over the ranges. At one stage we caught up to a newish Corolla that was being stirred along nicely at a speed slightly less than what we were sitting on. We overtook the Corolla, but didn’t shake him. He tagged on the back and followed us all the way to Bruthen. I hope he enjoyed the ride, because we’d had a terrific four days driving fine cars on some magnificent roads in great company.

Many thanks to Kevin for piecing it all together and running point the majority of the way. One day we’ll go back and drive that Elliot Way.

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INAUGURAL NAVIGATION TRIAL – Sunday 24th Nov

The trial started in the Woollies’ Car Park, 12 cars and their passengers braved the perfect weather to be issued with a map and instructions, the objective to navigate to Noojee via various points of interest by the most direct route, odometer readings were noted.  The instructions had a list of destinations with a question for each to verify arrival also there was a list of roads that could not be traversed and few that had to be.  The Bush Lawyers who were certainly getting into the spirit of the event took this to mean driving onto a compulsory road, doing a U turn and then going a more direct route, this was allowed  as I did not state they had to drive its entire length, something I will do next time.

Everyone arrived at the Red Duck Café handed in their sheets with odometer readings totalled.  The consensus seemed to be positive and it appears that no divorce proceedings have resulted.

During lunch the sheets were tallied, and the result was a draw but after adding 1Km for an incorrect answer the eventual winner was Karen and Steve Austen by a short half head.

Results:

1.       Karen & Steve Austen 92 Km

2.       Pam & Glenn Campbell 93 Km

3.       Carol & Ian Mallows 94 Km

4.       Marg & Alan Humphreys 95 Km

5.       Richard Adams 98.7 Km

6.       Jenny & Ian Honey 99 Km

7.       Ann & Kevin Perry 100 Km

8.       Sue & Peter Bradley 106 Km

9.       Kate & Frank Columbine 108 Km

10.   Judy & Phil Barnard 110 Km

11.   Alan Law 123 Km

12.   Ray Youlden (no Navigator)

Mark 

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GEELONG REVIVAL, Sunday 24th Nov

Beautiful weather, big crowd, interesting cars and the chance to run the curved quarter mile at Geelong’s spectacular Eastern Beach. For the uninitiated the Revival is like a two-day Breakfast Club with noise and speed added. There are numerous static displays from various clubs and industry groups, but the focus for most spectators and participants is on the quarter mile sprints. Modern cars run on Saturday with Historic cars and bikes featured on Sunday.

The Sporting Register was represented by four competitors in Sunday’s sprints, Jane Vollebregt drove her road-going 1974 MGB GT and recorded consistent times over her four runs, the best being a 17.16 second run to earn her a 4th in Class. Dave Anderson left his MGs at home, opting instead to run the 350ci Pontiac Firebird muscle car. His first pass was the quickest, stopping the clock at a very quick 14.22 seconds. Ross McConnell brought along his recently purchased 1965 Renmax 23b racing sportscar and improved from a 16.1 on his first run to a blistering 13.76 on his third run to place second in class. Ross was still learning how to get the most from the little racer and there’s probably still a few tenths to be gained yet. Steve Schmidt’s 1967 Mini Marcos put down 3 consistent runs in the high 15s, but stuffed the final run with a missed gearchange. A best time of 15.76 happened to be the same as that achieved at this event over the past 3 years.

Our thanks to the organisers of this event for the very efficient way in which they manage such a large and multi-faceted event. It certainly showcases Geelong and the historic car movement in a favourable light.

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NOVEMBER MID-WEEK RUN to MOE RACECOURSE

After coffee and scones for some and a natter for others, 27 cars and 44 Club members, gathered at the Darnum Stump Tearooms before heading off to Moe, where they were joined by 5 more cars and a further 8 Club members. 

Lord John Fowler handed out maps at the start of the run and gave us our instructions. We headed towards Trafalgar on the freeway before turning into Sunny Creek Road and winding our way up into the hills. Along the way we were stopped for roadworks, which gave us time to listen and enjoy the Bell Birds. Onwards from there we travelled through tall timber and then out into the undulating hills with a patchwork of rich red paddocks in the potato country around Thorpdale. 

All along the way there were creeks running, dams full and overflowing, fat sheep and cattle contentedly grazing on green paddocks, and cyclists groaning as they struggled up the steep inclines. Having travelled through drought stricken far-western New South Wales over the last couple of months, the contrast is unbelievable. 

We passed the site of the World’s Tallest Tree (375 ft) on McDonalds Track, and later enjoyed more picturesque winding roads taking us through Narracan and Coalville. 

There was a little confusion at the Two-Mile Road intersection, with some going straight ahead and others turning onto this road, which wasn’t a problem as we all ended up at our destination, the Moe Racing Club Bistro for lunch. 

We had a beautiful meal with lots to choose from on the menu and room for everyone. There was a lot of chatter and catching up with members before we made our way home. 

Thanks again to John & Jan Fowler for their organising of another great run around the beautiful area we live in, together with the follow up great meal. We look forward to the next rendezvous. 

Graeme and Elaine Longhurst (Mini) – Photos by John Fowler

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MONTHLY MEETING, Drouin Golf Club – Thursday 14th November

Our final meeting for the year was a popular one with around 60 members and friends in attendance. The catering crew seem to have worked out how best to serve at a function like this and there was plenty of food to go around.

With our President still touring places far afield, the role of chairing the evening fell to our DP, Ray Youlden who dispatched the business side of things very proficiently with reports from the usual suspects before introducing Rob Nolan and his recently acquired and immaculate 1999 Porsche Boxster S.

Rob explained that this was his second Porsche, having previously owned a 924 Turbo model many years ago. This particular Boxster was originally delivered to Melbourne, but was then later sold on to the second owner in Adelaide from whom Rob purchased the car several weeks ago. The odometer shows only 82,000 kilometres and it is equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission and the 3.2 litre flat six engine. The mechanicals are hidden from view behind the seats and in front of the rear axle which makes access to the engine rather tricky, but the car is extremely well balanced and the layout frees up space for both a front and rear boot.

The Boxster S is no slouch. The engine delivers 250bhp and 305Nm of torque which is sufficient to push it up to a top speed of 260km/h with a 0 to 100km/h time of 5.6 seconds. This particular car has been set up for club competition work with lowered and adjustable suspension, a baffled deep sump, larger wheels and a performance exhaust, which according to Rob has an annoying drone at certain revs on long runs. However, it is quite comfortable to drive and corners extremely well.

We thank Rob for making his car available at short notice this month and look forward to seeing it at more club events in the future.

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