IMGP0404Words, photos & organiser: John Waldock
After such a big break from Chapter events it was no surprise that the Southern Tassie Chapter turned out in force for the first run since February.
We had 12 cars and 23 attendees, with others emailing to express their disappointment in being unable to attend (particularly Ian Long who badly broke his humerus and is unable to travel in a car currently for anything but a short distance).
We assembled at Cambridge Park, all socially distancing, and ready to set off on the drive.
The route was a short one, a drive down to the Tasman Peninsula (towards the direction of Port Arthur) but taking a side road which has recently been sealed which gives a new set of views and, more importantly, new corners to enjoy.
We had a short stop at Dunalley, where coffee was supped by some, and new member Warwick and new potential members Peter and Nigel were introduced. We were blessed with lovely weather – clear blue skies which enabled the braver of us to put the top down and enjoy the fresh Tassie air.
After Dunalley we enjoyed the lovely winding Tasman Highway to Eagle Hawk Neck where we stopped to look at the view of Pirates Bay and have a chat.
We didn’t stay long as we were keen to get back on the road again and get to our lunch destination at Rosedale Homestead at Taranna where we enjoyed a lovely lunch and, for many, a good chance to catch up.

More photos of the run can be found here.

IMGP0404Words & organiser: Lawrie Pitt ■ Photos: Jill Steer, Lawrie Pitt, Alana McDougall

Uh Oh! The old favourite “U”-turn … again! This time high in the Mersey River valley in Tasssie’s Central Highlands.

Note: returning back along a great road though, gives another great road, but that is only a part of the story.

The theme of the first run after the lifting of Tassie’s COVID-19 restrictions by Premier, “Daddy” Gutwein, was to explore the Mersey River Valley – staying within the confines of the river valley, from high in the mountains to its eventual outflow into Bass Strait at Devonport, the home port for the Spirit of Tasmania, all without crossing any other river.

Questions were to be asked at the end of the day, so everyone was advised to stay alert and pay attention.

After convening at Deloraine Apex Railway Park, a pack of 16 snarling (well, purring really) MX-5s set out under a rather dull sky. With all of the crews being a pretty hardy lot, they
had the tops down. No doubt, all of the vehicles had their heaters on full blast, although no-one would ever admit to this. It was the middle of winter, but peer pressure is a marvellous thing. After all, they wanted a convertible!

The first river crossing was near Elizabeth Town, but alas, it was the Rubicon River, not the Mersey. So small though, it is little more than a drain at this point. No-one realised it
was a river, so event director, Lawrie, got away with this one. After the first bridge over the Mersey at Kimberly, the group turned towards Sheffield along the Bridle Track. Radio discussion considered it odd for wedding couples to have travelled this road enough in the past for it to acquire the name. Some bright spark reckoned it was something to do with horses. Duh!
Sheffield, the town renowned for its “Muriels”, gave our first rest break. Well-earned it too, as we had travelled a whole 35 minutes.

Out of Sheffield our little convey passed under the towering escarpment of Mt Roland before a sharp, challenging climb up to Bald Hill Lookout, part of Targa Tasmania’s mighty Cethana Stage.
Bald Hill gave a good photo opportunity. After a brief stop, it was back at it. We pulled on to the road behind a BMW Z something or other. Similar to the MX-5s. Following the Beema for about
20km or so, our speed peaked out about at 85kmh. Didn’t want to tear past it and blow it to the weeds because Chapter Captain Alana said we shouldn’t, so we couldn’t, and we wouldn’t. The roof was still up on the Beema, so it was suspected the driver was not too used to the car.
So, you all think this is all bad? But no, it was all good!

These roads have taken out their fair share of tarmac rally competitors. There are some damp, slippery corners under the gum trees and, at this pace, no-one was caught out by these treacherous suckers, so we avoided skidding off the road into the wilderness, the realm of the elusive Tassie Tiger.
Crossing the Mersey for the second time, the course took Ferry across the Mersey 15 us further up the valley on a road created during the construction of the hydro power scheme. They build
good roads, they do. Still, an occasional rock had tumbled down on to the black stuff, threatening 40 profile tyres.
At the end of the bitumen was the U-turn. Woowee!

This is near the iconic Walls of Jerusalem National Park, set aside for bush walkers and therefore of little interest to sports car drivers. Of little interest to four-wheel drivers, as well. Horses are OK though. This region is where the Tasmanian Mountain Cattlemen Association was founded.
At this point, being high on expectation but low on opportunity, it became apparent that a brisk dash was required down the valley to the “the conveniences” at Mole Creek.
Going up and back down the valley gave two more crossings of the Mersey, as well as filtered views through the trees of the glass-smooth Lake Parangana. By this time, it was a still, cloudless day. One of the joys of Tassie’s winter.

“Wrong Way” Darren managed to take a wrong turn out of the middle of the pack at a “straight on T-junction”.

A pretty fair effort. His explanation was convoluted and unintelligible … so it has been decided not to cause any further embarrassment by naming Darren.
Mole Creek was a busy place: another car club for a recently cancelled manufacturing brand, a pack of motor cyclists and heaps of other tourists.
(I think some of those chicky babes thought we were pretty cool). We moved on, crossing the Mersey again and the Gogg Range and dropping down into Paradise. Yes, it does really exist.
Skirting Sheffield the run continued down to Railton and the Mersey Lea flats. Here there is a new bridge across the river on the flats, similar to Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge,
only smaller. Chapter Captain Alana announced that the slippery, old wooden bridge had previously been washed away by floods, now possibly treasured driftwood on some distant shore.
At the end of the flats it was a short uphill run through some apple orchards, well, we are in Tassie, to Highway 1 and on to Devonport for a late lunch on the lawns near the Vietnam
Veterans’ Memorial and the Bass Strait Maritime Centre at the mouth of the mighty Mersey River.

Lisa won the prize for naming the river crossed but the question was incorrectly asked by the event director.
He should have asked, “Name all the rivers crossed”, which would have included two tiny little streams. The Dasher, crossed twice, and the previously-mentioned Rubicon, once. We crossed the
Mersey seven times.
So in the confusion there is no recollection of who were awarded prizes. Apparently Dale also received a prize, as well, for some reason.
So chaos ruled once again. And amongst the chaos everyone had a great run, including Tail-end Charlie, Nigel and Natasha. We poked a bit of fun at each other and carried on like teenagers while enjoying our mighty MX-5s.

Doing our part in creating a legend! Which can only mean we must be legends too!

To everyone’s family and friends, all MX-5 owners and Club members, especially in Victoria, stay safe and healthy and soon, we will all be out in our little cars … meanwhile remember, do not be afraid to make a U-turn.

More photos can be found here.

IMGP0404Story: Organiser: David Pitt ■ Photos: Rob Tanner, David Pitt

Bruny Island is located about 40 kilometres south of Hobart and is a popular weekend and holiday destination.
Generations of Tasmanians have spent their summers enjoying barbecues at their shacks, walks along the long
sandy beaches or watching penguins return to their burrows at night.
The island is separated from the Tasmanian mainland by the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, meaning that the only way to visit was by a short car-ferry ride from Kettering.

Historically the roads have been bone-rattlers – unsealed and corrugated, but the regular visitors and residents didn’t mind as they discouraged the less adventurous from visiting.
Things have changed in recent years though. The main road on the island has been sealed from the ferry terminal at Roberts Point to the island ‘capital’ at Alonnah, and the main holiday town of Adventure Bay. The road is
of a good standard and is a pleasant drive, particularly in MX-5s. Several small enterprises have sprung up
along the way, ranging from a honey farm and chocolate maker to eateries.

Unfortunately, the island isn’t the best destination for a regular Club run – there is the cost of the ferry and there can be considerable waiting times, both disadvantageous to a largish group.
But it’s a great destination for a small group on a mid-week run.
On a coolish Thursday in February, three couples met at the Chapter’s semi-regular meeting point in Rosny. Chris
and Elaine brought their spotless red NB, Sandra and David Pitt were in their white NA, while Rob and Di Tanner
were driving David and Sandra’s other MX-5, a 2002 NB Titanium edition. This was most appropriate as Rob and
Di had recently sold their own Titanium.
The group set out across the Tasman Bridge and through the city to the Southern Outlet on the way to the ferry
terminal at Kettering, about 40km away.

On arrival at Kettering there was a short wait for the ferry – just enough time to buy a coffee. Soon we were loaded on to the ferry Mirrumbeena and had time to watch some last-minute work being done on its replacement which was berthed alongside.
The trip across the Channel takes about 15 minutes and is a pleasant break to chat and admire the scenery. We were
bemused to see a small tug boat waiting to assist us with berthing if necessary. Perhaps the poor Mirrumbeena needed some maintenance.
Our cars caught the attention of one of the ferry’s crew as we disembarked, commenting that the “RX-7 Club” was on board. Oh well, at least he knew they were Mazdas.
Once on the other side we set out in convoy on the 40km drive to Adventure Bay, the site of two visits from Captain Cook during his voyages of discovery. The road is of good quality, gently undulating and pleasantly windy in places. It passes through some lightly wooded country, farmland and skirts along the side of the water at The Neck.

At Adventure Bay we stopped for some photos and a toilet break before heading off again Mid-week run to
Bruny Island what we can look forward to….to Alonnah, about 20km away. Alonnah is where the last remaining piece of Hobart’s unique floating bridge can be seen, where is acts as a jetty.
After negotiating some roadworks, where there was another comment about our cars, we arrived at Bruny Island Premium Wines for lunch. It claims to be Australia’s southern-most vineyard and offers a good lunch menu.

More photos of the run can be found here.

IMGP0404Words: Craig Dixon ■ Photos: Craig Dixon, Julie Neal ■ Organisers: Loz Thomas

Our first run with our home chapter, North-Eastern Victoria, Tastes of the North East, was a tasty morsel of what we were hoping for. Bring on the next course!

Julie and I rolled up to our meeting point, the magnificent Bilson’s Brewery in Beechworth, for our first time out with North-Eastern Chapter. It’s amazing what has been done with this historic property, and it’s an excellent place to meet.
Complimentary tastes of their beverages and cordials by an excellent host, along with great coffee, was a good start to the day.

The weather was supposed to bring some rain, but at the time we left it was roof-off weather. Thirteen cars with 21 intrepid ‘tasters’ started off with a most enjoyable run to the hamlet of
Stanley and our first stop at High Grove Berries. The drive through the magnificent entrance lined with large plane trees was a great introduction. Picking our own berries whilst enjoying the
wonderful views from this property was a delight. This also gave us an excuse to justify eating the rest of the day, being replenishment for our labours. It was good to see all the ‘quality
control testing’ being done during the picking.

Dragging ourselves away from the berries, we took a short drive to Snowline Fruits, when the weather started to turn. As we parked, some put their roof up while the rest of us decided it would be OK to leave them off. Our misplaced optimism lasted about two minutes when there was a quick dash back to the cars. Our boots now laden with apples, walnuts, honey and all other manner of goodies, we set off for Myrtleford, along the very enjoyable Carrols Road.

Now it was time to sample the chocolate coated pumpkin seeds at the Australian Pumpkin Seed Company that we had heard about over coffee. Didn’t sound all that appealing to me I must admit, but a few bags went in our boot! Another great opportunity to taste what is in our backyard and to help support the businesses up here that are doing it hard due to the huge visitor decline caused by the bushfires.

The weather turned good again before we left and the rooves quickly retreated to their rightful place – out of sight. Now for a very pleasant run over to Oxley.

After tasting all this lovely produce, we were then dragged kicking and screaming to our outdoor table under the trees at Sam Miranda Winery. Oh, OK, we did force ourselves to endure excellent platters of food, with wine, in an idyllic location, but only because it would have been rude not to.

This Tastes of the North-East is a tough gig. We next had to choose whether we went to Milawa Mustards or the Milawa Cheese Factory – or both! Such difficult decisions are hard to make on an empty stomach …

Our touring ended; it was time to head for home. For us, that is Mansfield and the Whitfield to Mansfield road, my favourite road in Victoria. Somehow though, we were magically pulled back to
Bilson’s at Beechworth where we did some more sampling and had a good look around. Well worth a visit.

Thanks to Loz for an excellent day out – both the drive and the venues. Put our names down for next year now please. ●

More photos can be found here.

Story: James Lang

IMG_0177After the last attempt at a “fish and chip run” in February 2014, which was unfortunately cut in half by the Devon North fire, we thought a second attempt to get fish and chips from a jolly nice seaside town was worth a try.

This year’s target that we would unleash our happy bunch of drop-top funsters on would be the not-so-sleepy salt-sprayed hamlet of Inverloch.

All signs looked good for a trouble-free and uneventful run this time – no fires, no insanely hot and strong north-westerly winds. We had a very good turnout with a few travellers fronting up from the eastern side of the Central Chapter – a total of 15 cars which was many more than expected. We even had one very keen participant, Siddique Fisher, who had only had a short amount of sleep after going on the Great Ocean Road night run not so may hours previously!

So, after making sure that all put their signature on the run sheet, a drivers’ briefing was held and I found myself on the extreme opposite end of my preferred ‘Tail end Charlie’ run position. I suppose one of the benefits of organising and leading the run is that you have the wide open road in front of you. At least that’s the theory. After reminding everybody that I was Captain Slow, and to just relax and enjoy driving through the rolling hills of South Gippsland, we set off.

The run through Sunny Creek Road, a perennial favourite slightly north-east of Trafalgar, had a few varied obstacles tossed in for flavour – such as wandering livestock, waterfowl, and a free shower courtesy a potato farmer’s crop irrigator drenching the road, so I hope nobody got damp. After a straightforward run through Mirboo North and Mardan, we took over a fair chunk of the Leongatha McDonald’s car park over, ordered our coffee and proceeded to ‘chew the fat’ for a while before setting off to Inverloch via the Outtrim road. This is a great little bit of twisty uphill tarmac which Peter Ferguson suggested to make the run to lunch a little more interesting. Peter told a story later in the day of being a pillion passenger some years ago on the back of a friend’s motorcycle going downhill quite quickly on the same stretch of road, and being very relieved when he got to the end of the journey in one piece …

Our lunch stop arrived soon enough, and we all managed to park together within a short walk of the fish and chip establishments. Some of our colleagues had to leave the run at Inverloch, so after we bade each other goodbye, the convoy headed straight back to Trafalgar in the most direct line – which did not have as many fun bits, but left us with the maximum amount of time to view the Holden Museum. So we all arrived back at our starting point without any issues or dramas.

The Trafalgar Holden Museum is well worth a look if you are passing through town. It documents the history of Holden from its humble beginnings in the mid-19th century (when the company first made saddles) to the current day, and features models from the FX humpy Holden onwards.

It’s good when almost everything runs more or less like clockwork, but it gives you less material to work with when you are trying to write an interesting run report that will not put people to sleep!

Story: Alan Bennett

_N8E8229 red MX-5 sVery romantic, this Valentine’s day thing. Red roses, chocolates, wine, candlelight, soft music …

… or getting up early, checking the weather forecast and 5 1/2 hours sitting in a tin box on wheels, in three stages with spurs (and just 50 shades of grey clouds) attached no less – what a choice!

Yesterday’s task was to wash the car in the middle of a thunderstorm with lightning amid heavy rain and overflowing gutters. Early this morning (5am alarm for some) it was cross-the-fingers whilst checking to see if there was any sign the run would be called off.

When Geoff and Bronwyn did their practice run four weeks earlier to check the traffic and run notes they were thinking of bush fires and the possibility of a cancellation due to heat. However this was all for nought as a brave but even dozen clean and wet cars with optimistic occupants and rooves up arrived at Maccas in Doncaster East before Geoff set us off on the first of a three-legged run.

Part 1 – From Doncaster. A quick 40km run, arriving at Kinglake where there were another seven shining MX-5s facing us (a case of Central meets Western) so we did the only thing natural and lined up head to head across the road and went for a chat!

Part 2 – 80km of corners, ups, downs, twists and turns but it was 70km before we saw any dry roads as we approached Healesville for the first time. Many of us took the chance with the weather and dropped our tops and it wasn’t long before the optimists were smiling as fog sank below the clouds and tested our vision. A brave lyrebird rushed across between the lead cars and disappeared into the brush.
And then it was a loop up and over Mt Donna Buang before stopping for a picnic stand up lunch under the still threatening weather and shelter. Not a cloud in the sky over the MCG where Australia were starting to give another cricket lesson to the Poms. Question without notice – of the 19 cars how many left their roof down over lunch? Answer: one. Brave but correct decision.

Part 3 – 105km to Healesville via Marysville. This didn’t seem the longest leg at the time due to the pleasure of navigating the aforementioned turns and twists. Yellow road markings – left, right and centre – were amusing at best. Getting finer by the kilometre but patches of wet kept me honest and without a passenger to suggest an ever so slower speed occasionally. It was more a case of get there as quickly as the depressingly slow speed limits allowed whilst maximising driving pleasure and minimising risk. Maybe more of the former than the latter.

What I do not enjoy is 4WDs hovering over my bumper when there is a string of cars in front, solid white (or even yellow) lines and more curves than a weight watchers festival – one got close enough to read my number plate (no problem with that you may think) but what I did get a bit upset about was he seemed to be using braille to read it …

A most enjoyable day with a minimal number of cyclists all heading towards us, a slow sedan on the last stretch back to Healesville but we’d had our fill by then. I will have to make up the lack of romance to my partner in other ways – perhaps I’ll let her wash my car tomorrow as those wet roads didn’t do my one day old wash any favours?!

So what did you do on Valentine’s day while we were out enjoying ourselves?

Story: Greg Jordan

Sometimes, in the middle of your Monday, you look back and think:“What did I do on the weekend?” Sometimes you get there and just smile. Sometimes you drive nearly 1,000km.

After Saturday lunch I washed the car and headed from Melbourne to Yackandandah. It’s only 320km. The wash was a waste of time. Although Melbourne was sunny, the rain started as I made my way out through Lilydale and continued through Yea and almost to Bonnie Doon. A brief coffee stop there, then on towards Benalla and the freeway to Wangaratta. Taking the Beechworth Road, Yackandandah was soon reached and I checked into the motel. A walk around town and dinner at the Yack Hotel and an early night in preparation for Sunday’s drive.

After a great night’s sleep I woke to light drizzle despite a forecast of 37°C. I set off to meet the NEV Chapter at Isaacs Park at about 8:30. Greetings, a chat and the briefing, then we were off for Mt Beauty via Carrolls Road, and the Happy Valley Road and a huge sense of déjà vu as we passed my uncle’s old farm and childhood memories of milking, chasing calves and fun flitted by. Back to focussing on the road, we arrived in Mt Beauty and the bakery for morning tea.

Relaxed and sated (carbed and caffeinated), we headed along the Bogong High Plains Road into the Alpine National Park. This is a great road. Hairpins, sharp curves steady climbs with occasional short straights (to pass cyclists and vans) – ie, designed for the MX-5. Google lists it as only 30km, but with the constant gearshifts, brakes and turns it’s a test of skill, concentration and a reminder to do more arm weights in the gym. I must thank the non-MX-5 drivers who pulled over when safe to let us pass.

Through Falls Creek and we were greeted by the high plains. Cool with a gently undulating landscape, wildflowers and sweeping curves. It was a relaxing drive after the twists and turns to get there. We stopped for a group photos at the Rocky Valley Dam and were then into the cars again and off down the mountain. Around the same standard of hairpin bends and curves, only downhill this time.

On to the Omeo Highway we headed along the relatively newly sealed, and still gravelly, road over Mt Wills to lunch at the renovated Mitta Pub. Cold drinks and great meals, lively conversation and more chips (potato not paint) than could be eaten.

The sun was out with force as we prepared to leave. The temperature had reached near 40° as promised and a number of us put the roof up as well as the air-conditioning on cold and high. Over lunch, the Bright/Myrtleford group had decided to turn off early rather than to go back home through Yack.

We all took the back road to Eskdale, but somehow the ‘Bright’ group at the rear disappeared and so the rest of us waited for these “lost souls” in Eskdale. Having decided they had turned off early (or earlier than we expected) we glided over Lockhart Gap, through Tangambalanga then back to Yack. My tacho was at 308km as we stopped at the Yackandandah Café.

Reminiscences of the drive with my fellow MX-5ers and cool drinks finished, I was then back in the car for the evening drive to Melbourne. Breaks every hour with a walk around and coffee, I put the roof down in Yea and cruised over the ranges to home.

Summary: 642km in the day. 308km of the best roads I have ever driven and the most fun you could have on a weekend. I’ll be back for my third Mitta Mitta run next year. Join me?

 

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Randy at Phillip Island, 31/1/15

Story: Randy Stagno Navarra

Certainly for me excitement levels are high. Seems forever since I’ve done a track day. Plus Phillip Island is a great circuit and one of my favourites, I couldn’t wait for the working week to end so I could head down to the Island.

Saturday dawned and it looked like it was going to be a perfect day and, with a shot of coffee to get the morning started, it’s off to the circuit we go.

As always one of the highlights of getting to the track is meeting up with everyone. This is my 10th year of motor sport with the Club so I’ve been lucky enough to build a great extended Club family. One person I always enjoy catching up with as soon as I can is Robert Downes, whom I regard as my mentor. I’ve always enjoyed the tussles we had when I first started and his words of wisdom were, and still are, always welcome.

So, lots of hellos and well wishes, lots of smiles and happy people who were about to take on the Island … and, more importantly, the weather was great. Plus today held a bit more importance for me as my dad was competing as well. Not in a MX-5, mind you … but at least his Mini starts with M!

Scrutineering and drivers’ briefing out of the way and off we went for the first session. Two corners in and I knew it was going to be a bad day in the office. I’d been chasing a miss all week and thought I’d solved the issue. I was wrong, couldn’t even rev the car past 6,000rpm! Ah well, back in the pits to see if anything can be done. Swapping the coil packs around was a desperate measure but it seemed to work. Rather than a constant miss it became a random miss. My day was done. It became a test day for me, trying a few different things to see if they worked out. Still ended up enjoying myself – how could I not?

Turned out to be a great day for quite a few people. Great fun chatting in the pits and hearing what was going on out there. Now, social members might not know this … but we are a competitive bunch. There are small groups of drivers who are always trying to best their mates.

One of the most competitive is the “Noel, Peter and Max Class”. The sledging that goes on between these guys would make an Aussie cricketer blush. They definitely take no prisoners. As always, Brendan Beavis flew the flag in his well-modified aero machine to scare some of the guys in cars with fancy brand names. And per normal Paul Ledwith was hard on his heels, followed by Russell Garner.

Most impressive to me was Colin Denman-Jones (right). I always enjoyed the tussle with Colin in Standard NC Class, but now with a few quality mods on his car he has really shown what a well-driven NC can do. His time of 1:55.7 is tremendous and well worth mentioning. It’s fantastic to see all his hard work finally rewarded. It was good to chat with a few of the new guys and hear about their experiences on a new track. The comments are always positive and you can’t wipe the smile off their faces.

On a personal level I enjoyed spending the day with my dad, from whom I got my love of motor sport. It’s only his second event after a 30-year break and, after each session, he was really happy to have knocked a few seconds off his initial time – which is what our track days are all about. I was lucky to do three laps in his Mini JCW GP, but that is a story for another day.

So, time to get my car sorted and ready for the next track day. Can’t wait!

20.-Group-PhotoStory: Karen Bradshaw

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie ~ Oi, Oi, Oi !!

It’s our Australia Day Run – what better way to celebrate our great country than zooming around in a MX-5 with a terrific bunch of like minded Aussies?

We started with nine cars meeting Jeff Woolf at Phoenix College in Sebastopol to travel out to the Royal Palace of Everett in the Kingdom of Wallinduc. In true Western Victoria Chapter tradition, a tradition that was set in concrete by former Chapter Captain, John Gleeson, a U-turn was performed at Smythesdale with Jeff having turned at a town too soon!

Zooming through Cape Clear they decided to check out the lighthouse without an ocean before travelling on to the Everetts’ for morning tea. What a sight the convoy made rolling into the royal driveway where King Alan and Queen Dawn and their loyal subjects – the Gillicks and the Roches and, last of all, we commoners the Bradshaws.

After lots of chit chat and an over indulgence of morning tea, Captain Ian welcomed everyone to the run, including new members Travis Bawden and John Thorne on their first run as well as those from the Central Chapter and North-Eastern Victoria Chapter – great to see new faces joining us.

We then lined up at the palace gates and, with 13 cars in our royal convoy, headed off to Lismore where we went past the old, now-dilapidated flax mill. It was then on to Pomborneit to meet up with two cars from Geelong and one from Melbourne … although we had to send Ian in search of them – they had gone walkabout around the Pombo Market.

After this we zoomed around Lake Purrumbete and onwards to Cobden for a “quick” toilet break but, with 17 cars, there was nothing quick about it! Rounded up once again, we ventured on to Simpson for lunch with the rain putting in an appearance as we pulled up, so the roofs were quickly raised and a mad dash was made for the undercover area. A little rain was NOT going to dampen our enthusiasm for fun!
Some had to search for food at the local supermarket as the only takeaway shop was closed – for a 90th birthday. After grazing and yacking for about an hour we headed off again, (some with the roof up, some down); this time we went a round-about way to Gellibrand then had a regroup at Beech Forest, where we had a quick talk before heading on to tackle the non-stop curvy corners of Turtons Track – which presented a few more challenges than usual with a lot of traffic going in the opposite direction.

We did another regroup at Forrest where we farewelled four MX-5s which headed back to their homes. The remainder of the convoy headed off towards Colac then Cressy where new member Travis left us. We had a change of leader with King Alan and Queen Dawn leading their royal convoy  of loyal subjects back to their palace for an Aussie BBQ.

We had a right royal time talking about everything under the sun and bragging about our MX-5s, making new friends and of course feeding our faces. We celebrated Patrice Van Velzen’s birthday, which was the next day (26 January – Australia Day) and Bob de Bont’s birthday from the previous day. Of course the birthday cake was a passionfruit sponge that was quickly devoured, even though we were stuffed to the hilt! All too soon it was time for everyone to abandon the Palace of Everett and head for our respective homes, after a day thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

A big thank you to Alan and Dawn for welcoming us into their home for morning tea and our Aussie BBQ. It was very much appreciated by your royal subjects.