A beautiful day for a drive, the promise of spectacular scenery through the Tarra Bulga National Park and award-winning fish and chips at Port Albert for lunch, enticed 18 cars and their owners to assemble at the Trafalgar Railway Station in anticipation of an economical day out.
Unfortunately, at the appointed hour Ian and Carol Mallows’ SLK Benz decided to emulate a time machine, whereby at the turn of the key, the starter failed to operate, but the dashboard clock began spinning rapidly in an anti-clockwise direction! Unprepared for time travel, Ian rang the RACV explaining his need for a new flux capacitor and after a short delay as well as being relieved of $260, he and Carol were able to join us later for lunch at Port Albert. Whilst they were waiting for assistance in Trafalgar, Ron Brooks turned up in his diesel Bimmer surprised to find that everybody else had left an hour earlier! Ron had misread the event details, thinking it began at 10:30, not 9:30! Using the route instructions that Ian and Carol were given, Ron set off in pursuit of the tail enders and was able to complete the course and join us for lunch. Sandy Goddard was not so fortunate, her daughter was going to navigate for Sandy in the MGB, but she had not arrived when the group departed at 9:30. Sandy waited with Ian and Carol for a while, but it seemed that some wires had become crossed and Sandy’s daughter was waiting in Traralgon! With no time left for gallivanting around the countryside, Sandy unfortunately pulled the plug on this event.
Whilst all the above was going on, the bulk of the participants were making their way up into the hills, driving economically through Thorpdale and Mirboo North where most stopped for morning tea before descending into Boolarra and on to Churchill and Traralgon South. The road then began to climb towards Balook and into the Tarra Bulga National Park where it became very narrow and twisty as it followed the Tarra River out of the hills towards Yarram which was the refuelling checkpoint.
The distance covered was 140km and the fuel consumption figures are posted below. It was a costly exercise for some of the V8 brigade, but interesting to compare figures. Ray Youlden (Mercedes E55 AMG) and Kevin Riley (Mercedes SL55 AMG) never drive slowly and they love to make use of the torque from the supercharged 5.5-litre V8s under their bonnets. Both cars are a similar weight (heavy!!) and they followed each other the whole way, yet lead-footed Ray used 20% more fuel! The Humphrey’s Subaru BRZ and the Whitford’s 124 Abarth showed just how economical modern petrol-powered cars can be, but being more frugal than a 540cc / 540kg Mighty Boy ute which returned 4.37 L/100k was beyond their capacity. Ron’s 535 turbo Bimmer was the only oil burner in this year’s event and it turned in a remarkable 5.56 L/100k – not at all shabby for a large, heavy, luxury cruiser.
Bill and Wendy Cropley’s 351ci V8 Mustang obviously likes a drink and I’m just glad it’s not me paying the fuel bill, which John Stoker (Boxster) should be able to relate to, as he merrily headed off to lunch from the servo in Yarram without visiting the cashier. Never-the-less, it was all sorted out and we all enjoyed sharing our delicious fish and chips with the seagulls on the wharf at Port Albert after an eventful morning’s drive. Thank you to all who participated.