There’s a lot to be said for organised events and races but sometimes it’s fun to just cruise around on a lazy Sunday and see what you find. With my own Fiat X1/9 project finally hitting the roads after seven long years in the shed, I used the vague excuse of the media briefing and scruitineering for the upcoming Scouts Rally SA Australian Rally Championship round (happening this weekend) as a way point and took the X1/9 for a drive.
It’s not uncommon to see a few Porsche’s in the hills on a pleasant Sunday but after about the sixth in a row I figured something must be up, so I followed them just down the road to Longview Vineyard in Macclesfield.
When it comes to Porsche it’s usually that trademark classic style that steals my heart, and even though this left hand drive 912 was definitely a looker there was something else that stopped me dead on this occasion…
The concept of Burger Meet is simple – a car park meet to get as many readers of Any Given Reason and their cars in the same place as possible. The emphasis is on diversity and informality, and the vague idea of standing around a car park eating burgers is about as far as the planning goes.
On the evening of Saturday 28th December, the readers of Any Given Reason descended on the Hagen Arms Hotel at Echunga in the Adelaide Hills to watch the sun set with burgers, beers, and of course, cars. And what a spectacular array of cars it was – but more on that later.
The thing that makes organising Burger Meet such an exciting, rewarding and completely terrifying experience is that I have absolutely no idea who actually reads and follows this blog. I get traffic statistics but they’re just abstract numbers and graphs, so when I put the word out that Burger Meet 3 was happening I had exactly zero idea who and how many people would actually come. I guessed about 80 cars and thought it would be pretty cool if we could fill the car park, but when streams of cars started pouring in and it wasn’t even the 6pm start-time yet, I started to get a little nervous/overjoyed. Continue reading →
Sometimes in life we are blessed by experiencing something truly incredible. Be it driving a particularly fast or rare car, making no mistakes on the perfect rally stage, finally hearing a favorite song live or witnessing the sun rise over a remote mountain range, these are the rare moments that are remembered vividly, never forgotten and used as comparison for everything that comes after.
These moments are bittersweet, because whilst experiencing them is something of a privilege, it is tinged with the knowledge that this is probably going to be the pinnacle.
Sitting back now and writing this post about the Goodwood Festival of Speed, I’m coming to terms with the fact that there’s probably not a lot out there that can compare to the magic of Goodwood. The sheer quantity and quality of cars, the peaceful forest surroundings, the relaxed and open atmosphere and the diversity is something impossible to replicate. Continue reading →
Going back through old travel photos is always a great way to burn a couple of hours. Long forgotten memories are instantly brought back sharp as day, as the pixels on your computer monitor instantly transport you back to a time and place where you were just that little bit more free and living a little closer to the edge than you do in your day-to-day life. Just re-reading that sentence, I sound like an old man reminiscing on days gone by. But no, these shots are just from 2008. I was barely 20, and it was my first overseas trip – a four week visit to my sister and brother-in-law who were working in Saigon for a year. They got some time off, and we headed all over the countryside and into Cambodia on an odyssey of discovery. Well, at least it was for me.
I had no DSLR or real interest in photography, and Any Given Reason wouldn’t be thought of for another three years. Even though I just bought a cheap Pentax snapshot camera before I departed, taking photos of the cars I saw just seemed natural. I guess the seed was there, even back then. Here are a few of my discoveries.
The Bentley in the lead photo and this Rolls Royce Phantom were both on display at a dealership just around the corner from where my sister was living in Saigon. It was quite funny because they had a strict no photo rule. After being denied, I went back at about 10pm that night, just to discover that the dealership was paying a group of locals to sit outside all night and stop people from taking photos. I managed to snap a few frames before legging it away down the street. Being a tall caucasian does have its advantages sometimes; they didn’t stop me.
I found the juxtaposition of these super-luxury cars in Vietnam fascinating. Here, on one hand is a finely sculpted piece of automotive engineering – the Phantom is as close to perfection as you’ll find. Yet it just looks so out of place driving down a potholed road, street vendors lining the sides and motorbikes whizzing by. It was like a moment of calm in a sea of utter chaos.
The local Suzuki dealership had P.G Andersson’s Super 1600 JWRC Suzuki Swift on display. It was the only racecar I saw for a month, the first time that had happened in a while. Continue reading →
Sandy Nott and David Langfield have delivered a superb effort in difficult conditions to win round 4 of the South Australian Rally Championship, the Scouts Rally SA. Despite the extremely slippery stage conditions in the Mt Crawford and Kutipo forest areas where the rally was held, Nott and Langfield climbed to first place early in Heat 3 and managed to hold off the charge from second place Declan Dwyer and Craig Adams in their Evo 6.
Dwyer and Adams sped to an early lead on Friday’s Heat 1, but were soon suffering from brake problems later in the day that left them with as little as 30% brake capacity at some points. The pair clawed back their lead with a trouble free run on Saturday’s Heat 2, however despite winning Sunday’s Heat 3 they still couldn’t quite catch Nott’s Evo 4. But when everything was working as it should, the recently purchased white Evo was unstoppable. It was an absolute pleasure to watch Declan drive – every time we saw him he was right on the limit, but never stepping over it. Comparing stage times makes for interesting reading – Declan’s time through the famous Tweeden stage would have placed him third outright in the overall ARC 4WD category, especially stunning when you consider that his Evo 6 has considerably less power due to its lower state championship spec tune, and is a full decade older than the Evo 9 and 10 that were faster.
Dan Day and Steve Glenney had another trouble free run to claim the final podium position in Day’s STI. This is a strong result for the 18 year old Day, as entry into this year’s SARC (and ARC) with co-driver and mentor Steve Glenney is purely an experience gaining exercise to learn as much as possible for future campaigns.
Fourth place was claimed by James Rodda and Jim Gleeson, who had another trouble free run to claim valuable championship points. Despite not yet managing to win an event this year, Rodda has proven that consistency is the key and went into Rally SA leading the state championship. Dwyer has since claimed that lead by just a few points, but Rodda is still firmly within reach heading into the final round in a few weeks time. But the big news from Rally SA is that Rodda won the 4WD class of the Rallyschool Australian Junior Challenge, securing his place in the Junior Challenge grand final at the Coffs Coast ARC round in October.
This edition of Rally SA proved to be one of the toughest on record as it turned into a rally of attrition. Despite the relatively dry weather during the event in some of the coldest and wettest parts of the state in the middle of winter, very heavy rain in the weeks leading up to the rally meant the roads, particularly in Kuitpo forest, were boggy even before the event began. In many places the roads were seriously slippery, even walking across them was a challenge in not slipping and making a fool of oneself. Continue reading →
It seems like just a few months ago that we were at Jarvis Subaru, launching the 2011 rally season with great anticipation. A lot has happened in the past twelve months in the rally world – new events, new cars, old favourites and a battle for the championship that came right down to the last stage of the year at Kuitpo. There’s no less anticipation this year, in fact there’s possibly even more with a whole range of new cars and competitors, a new event and the national shift toward 2WD cars. The 2012 launch night was a good kick off, and gave a really interesting insight into what we can look forward to in the coming months.
There are quite a few interesting cars coming out for the championship. The one I’m probably most excited about is Jeremy Browne’s Mini Cooper S. Continue reading →
The All British day is probably South Australia’s largest annual gathering of British cars, trucks and motorbikes. I’d never really considered myself much of a fan of British machinery so have never really made much of a point of going to this show in the past. Sure, there were a few makes and models I admired, but then I actually sat down and thought about the British cars I liked. I’m an obvious fan of Lotus. I appreciate the eccentricity of TVR’s, and the rugged simpleness of MGA’s and B’s and early Land Rovers. You can’t go past the stunning looks of the Jaguar E-Type and it’s predecessor the XK120, or the modern technology in the turbocharged Cosworth Ford’s. The stately elegance of early Bristol’s and Bentley’s can’t be ignored, and then there’s the legendary and inspiring stories of the works Aston Martin and Jaguar teams running the DBR’s and D-Type’s in when the mechanics drove them to LeMans to compete in the 24hr in the 50’s and 60’s, back in the days when the state of the art LeMans winners were still road registrable.
With all that in mind I put on my Ben Sherman shorts and Kooks T-Shirt and headed up to Uraidla in the picturesque Adelaide Hills to take in the best of automotive Britain – with the Beatles and 60’s Rolling Stones playing through the stereo on the way to get properly in the mood, of course.
Associating with car enthusiasts doesn’t usually present too many challenges. There are, however, a few instances that have the tendency to become a little awkward. Chief of these is the road trip. Every car enthusiast believes that they are the best driver of the group by far and should therefore be the one tasked with the responsibility of delivering the rest of the group safely to their destination. The problem is of course compounded when any sort of racing or rally driver is involved. Eyes dart shiftily around the room, and everyone becomes suspicious of everyone else’s motives as soon as the question of who should drive is raised.
I found myself in this situation a few weeks back. We were sitting around one Sunday night having a few beers at Mt Buller after the completion of the Targa High Country rally. Three of us were due to make the trip back to Melbourne the next day, and our transport, a gleaming new Mini Cooper S, was waiting patiently outside our chalet. I’d had my eye on it all weekend and had been hoping for a drive, so as I noticed the keys sitting on the counter top I casually mentioned that I’d be more than happy to drive us back to Melbourne the next day. With no objections from the group, the driver’s seat was now mine. Of course, it helped that one of my travelling companions was asleep and the other was in the bathroom, but those were rookie errors on their parts. They would learn that the tactical game of ‘who drives’ is constantly being played.
For me, the thing that appeals about going to an event like Targa High Country isn’t just the cars and the event itself. It’s the camaraderie, the friendships, visiting new places, doing new things and generally living life away from the daily grind for a few days. And the fact that its a rally event makes it even better – by it’s nature rally forces you to get out into the countryside, drive down new roads and do things like visit new little cafes for lunch. I love circuit racing too, but being stuck at that same circuit just doesn’t quite hold the same sense of adventure.
So, when Claire Ryan and Sammy Stevens kindly and graciously offered me the chance to ride along with their team for this event, I took it with both hands. This post is a small account of what went down that weekend.