Cool overcast and wet conditions greeted the owners of the fourteen or so vehicles gathered in the Warragul Woolworths’ car park for the commencement of the Philip Island run (end destination altered to San Remo). Following a briefing by Ron Brooks outlining the proposed route with the promise of great driving roads with stunning views, some of which Ron suspected, most drivers would not have travelled before. Perusing the route instructions I recognised some of the excellent roads i.e. the Torwood/Topiram and Bass Valley roads that I had travelled on previous occasions , but there were a number that were unfamiliar to me and I was keen to see what they were like to drive.
As we all headed off to our first destination, morning coffee at Kernot, the skies started to clear the further we travelled from Warragul, making the drive more pleasurable but this still didn’t encourage any of the roadster owners to put their tops down. The roads on the first leg didn’t disappoint, especially the Kernot-Krowera Rd which had all the right ingredients of a great driving road – winding, narrow and stunning views. How lucky we are to have these roads so close to home.
Travelling on the ‘follow the leader’ principle with each driver keeping a’ line of sight of the following vehicle’ meant that the group travelled at a good pace, no one got lost and all arrived at our destination around the same time. Trish and Colleen arranged for a morning coffee break at the Kernot Food & Wine store including being entertained by a local band (requested to start playing a little earlier to coincide with our arrival). The coffee and the band were excellent and made you appreciate why the Kernot Food & Wine store is such a popular destination each weekend for locals and those in the know. I would recommend it if you’re looking to do a weekend drive with great roads, and a destination with good reasonably priced food and wine plus very good music. The Kernot Food & Wine store ticks all the boxes.
The second leg of the run was to take us to San Remo on back roads via Woolamai, Kilcunda and Anderson. Once again the roads did not disappoint with some of the roads providing great elevated views of Western Port Bay and with the skies now cleared it was quite a stunning vista. On arrival into a busy San Remo we all hunted down an appropriate parking spot and made our way to the Western Port Hotel for an efficiently served and pleasant lunch.
Following our satisfying and relaxing lunch Trish Brooks introduced Phillip Island Winery owner, singer and motoring journalist Tim O’Brien to give the car club group a talk on the life of a motoring journalist and how the industry operates. Tim is a very warm and open speaker and his revelations on how the car industry controls and manipulates car reviews was an eye opener for some and reinforcement for others. Tim’s opening words of ‘never never never’ rely motor vehicle review, were reinforced by his stories of how car manufacturers, with inducements of travel, luxury accommodation, gifts etc, ensure only positive reviews ever reach the public domain.
Tim grew up on a farm in East Gippsland and has had quite a varied career from a school teacher, motoring journalist with the VACC, an online motoring review developer as well as a singer (he released a single in 1968 which reached number eight on the Australian charts). To finish off his talk Tim sang three songs and his singing and guitar work was excellent. With such talent it made you wonder why he didn’t continue his singing career rather than becoming a motoring journalist. It was a pleasure to listen to him.
Finally we must thank Trish Brooks and Colleen Eccles for an excellent event which provided a variety of great roads, music, food and a very interesting talk.
Words by Phil Barnard. Photos by Ron Brooks.