MID-WEEK RUN, Darnum Stump Tea room to Darnum Hotel – Wednesday 15th January

The January mid-week gathering has a history of being lightly supported (only 20 members last year) – but we were in for a pleasant surprise when some 47 enthusiasts in 28 fine vehicles congregated at the Darnum Stump Tearooms. The smoke from the East Gippsland fires was thick but didn’t deter people from attending. If you had given up smoking recently it was as though you had revisited your old habit!!!

The coffee and scones, as per usual were accompanied with good company and friendly banter. At the designated time, our intrepid leader mounted the picnic table and proceeded to detail the day’s route. I think John Fowler must have an extremely good series of road maps or the latest GPS that doesn’t send you up the proverbial goat track. Well done John. It was disappointing that the smoke screened the beautiful views that the drive had been designed for. Even the cattle were sheltering under the shaded leafy trees.  We will have to revisit some of the roads on a fine and sunny day.

We exited Darnum past the school and turned right into East West Road. Now the deviousness of John’s mind came to the fore with many tricky turns to follow – Stockdales and Hamilton Roads to Lardner’s Track, right into Sheehan and left onto the Main South Road only to turn left into Torwood – Topiram Road (mate what a beaut little number that was) leading us to the Korumburra – Warragul Road at Tetoora Rd. The red Camera-car on the side of the road before the Eliinbank football ground did not photograph any of our cars because we were all under the 100kph speed limit. (Alan Richards went back and asked!) But wait John wasn’t finished yet! At the bottom of the hill past the footy ground, we turned right into Bull Swamp, right to Gainsborough, left into Hazeldean and so into Parkers Road and via the Darnum Allambee Road back to the Darnum Hotel (phew!). I believe that in all of these twists and turns there was only one occasion where some cars missed seeing one of the turns. They quickly realized they had overshot the mark and re-joined the group. Well done to everyone!

The hotel staff were expecting our large group of 53 persons (6 met us there) with a suitable number of tables being reserved. Luckily car people are very patient and understanding and enjoy a chat, as not a lot of extra staff had been employed for the large gathering, but good food came out steadily and good camaraderie made for a very pleasant end to the drive.

Thanks again John and Jan for setting us such a wonderful course. Pity about the smoke that prevented us from admiring the many spectacular views.

Happy driving,   Marg and Paul  (Z3 BMW). Photos by John Fowler

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BREAKFAST CLUB, Warragul – Sunday 12th January

Rumour has it that several keen participants had arrived and were in place almost an hour before the appointed starting time of 8am. Not a bad thing either, as desirable parking spaces were at a premium with perfect weather conditions encouraging an enormous assemblage of sports, classic and collectible vehicles to our gathering this month. Included amongst the 100+ cars filling the Warragul Woolies’ car park was a handful of Prince Skyline GTs enjoying a break during their scenic run from Melbourne which took them out through Yarra Junction and Powelltown. A couple of MX5s also made our monthly gathering a destination and so drove up from Fish Creek to swell the growing ranks of the popular Mazda sports car which included the ex-Fowler Eunos in the hands of its new owner and Sporting Register members Bob and Rhonda Speed.

Classic British sportscars are always well represented at these meetings and it was a pleasure to see Andrew McColl’s immaculate Triumph TR3a making its debut after a two-and-a-half-year restoration.  Others making debut appearances included Richard Rowley’s massive Lincoln Town Car which had already been converted to RHD and Gus Luke’s burgundy 1997 EL Falcon GT, one of only 250 produced.

Mark Sanford brought along a nice little Triumph GT6 that’s just been added to his impressive vehicle collection. It was his brother’s car and brought over from the UK before tackling the rust and mechanical rebuild.

A very tidy classic Cooper S turned up with the Prince Skyline GT gang and was immediately made to feel at home, finding a parking spot next to Graeme Longhurst’s similar Cooper S. With so many cars participating in this month’s gathering, there were probably several more first-timers that slipped my attention, so apologies to those I’ve missed.

Porsche Boxsters are becoming almost as popular as MX5s with examples of several models on display. A couple of 911s as well as a pair of 928s bolstered the Stuttgart marque, whilst there were plenty of Mercedes coupes, Bimmers and even a couple of Beetles illustrating the popularity of the German brands which were second only in number to their Pommy counterparts.

Club members were pleased to see Ed Denovan making a return to Club activity in his TR6 after a lengthy recuperation since falling from a ladder, and welcomed back Mike Whitford who is recovering from a knee replacement and driving his Fiat Dino again. Our thoughts and best wishes are also with several other Club members having their own personal health battles at this time.

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MID-WEEK RUN – December 2019

On Thursday 12th December our large crowd of 33 travelers packed into the Darnum Stump Tearooms for coffee, scones and a very social chat before we left on our last scenic tour for 2019. No-one was outside because of the light drizzle. (Graeme H. believes I ‘mozz’ the weather especially for him whenever he attends.) However, the weather cleared as the day went along.
With this tour our 18 Classic cars (a few were ‘moderns’ because some Classics were ‘broke’) all went north of the highway and spent much of our travels back and forth on parts of the earliest access roads into Gippsland – ‘Old Telegraph Rd’s and the ‘Old Sale Rd’. Some fabulous history here for you to look up.
The countryside looked green and in fine form, with some wonderful views, although a little hazy in the earlier parts of the tour. We did a lot of ‘zig-zagging’, and up-hill and down-dale, from Shady creek to Brandy Creek, to Crossover and back to Rokeby, to Jindivick and back to Drouin West, to Labertouche and finally across the Freeway to the Longwarry Hotel.
Some of the roads we had not done before, and some were done in a different direction to previous runs, so it all made for a very interesting and scenic tour on great driving roads. I was told that it was great to be part of the ‘snake’ of Classic Cars in front and behind, as we wound across the countryside.
At the Longwarry Hotel we had the back room to ourselves, and they also had a great selection of ‘Seniors Type Meals’ which those that had them, all thought were extremely cheap. The meals were generous and very tasty, and well worth going there again. It was a very social occasion with a lot of chatter and mixing, and a great way to finish the 2019 Club Year.
Thank you to everyone who has supported Jan and myself in attending these MWR’s in 2019.
Words and pictures by John Fowler

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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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