The turnup was very good, 14 cars, umpteen punters. There was Arfur in the A Model, Rex Walrus and Chris in the SS1, son Tristan and Klara in my MG TC, Hobbit and The Bruce in the Essex, Kinga Roy in an Alfa GTV, the Baringhup Boys in a Rover, Oz and Barry in an A Model, Stuey in the Dodge Smoker, 4 C.U.N.T.S in the Fleetmaster, the Telfords,(aka Gyro and Gemby) in the Chev Pickup Hotrod, their son Young Bob in an XK Falcon, Stork and Pinky in the Chev Truck, the Brickie and Victoria Regis in the Nash, and Yandoit Andy and the Bobbergal in the Crossley, plus some several hangers-on, camp followers and fellow travellers to make up the crowd.
Deaf John and I decided that, as most of the punters were unfamiliar with trials, we would do a simple "Tulip" trial. This requires no navigation, but just a careful following of symbols and instructions. The actual starting sheet is shown on the right.
Ring! Ring! Call from Baringhup Ross. "Where are you? The Rover's giving trouble, and we're heading home to get another one." Fair enough. One down.
Ring! Ring! "Bull here from the C.U.N.T.S. Where the fuck are you?"
If the reader would like to look at the instructions above, they may notice that number 2 turned left. That was as far as the C.U.N.T.S. really got. Bull, Smack, and Dodgy Dave had even brought along a 13 year old kid in order to have some active brain cells in the car. Alas, they started arguing as to the meaning of the words attached, and instead of ignoring
Ring! Ring! "Dad! Got a rear flat tyre. What do we do?" Detailed explanation as to location of tools, and how to avoid axle damage on a centre-lock system.
Ring! Ring! "Dad! The bloody thing is boiling!" Detailed explanation how to refill the cooling system without cracking the engine.
Ring! Ring! "Dad! The engine has stopped!" Detailed diagnostic conversation ending with specific instructions as to where to find the low tension lead. Fortunately, at this time Arfur came along in the A Model and got him going again.
The Brickie, in the Nash, with his navigator, Victoria Regis realised that there was a problem, and more importantly, that the prize was still for the grabbing, and so did the only thing possible. They retraced their steps till they got back to where they had turned off, and were the first to come in from the right direction.
Yandoit, in the Crossley, with his navigator, the Bobbergal Leyah, also drove around for a while trying to work out what devious trick Deaf John and I had pulled on them, and psychoanalysing us from a distance, when Leyah came to the blinding conclusion that there was no trick, and they had simply taken the wrong road, and they too retraced their steps, and came in second.
Fortunately he was followed by Barry and Oz in the A Model van, Stuey in the Dodge Smoking Gun, and Gyro and Gremby in the 41 Chev Hotrod pickup, who more than adequately shifted the little 10cwt rocket out of the mire to get it going again.
This created a secondary problem. The 41 Chev has massive amounts of power because it runs a V8 diesel! It is also extraordinarily lightweight, which meant that on that steep slope it could not put the power to the road, but just spun the rear wheels, till a couple of the heavier punters got into the back. It just cruised up. (Memo to Greg: pack cement bags for the next one.)
Meanwhile, back at the Guilly, I had barely got back when Yandoit arrived, early, ahead of the Brickie, even though he had started after him. This earned him several penalty points, and as the Brickie was already way ahead of him, assured his second place. The Nash cruised in a little later, confident of success.
On the left are the winning teams.
Most of the rest said that they enjoyed the whole shebang, and learnt a bit from it, even if it was to never go on another one. They found the roads stunning and even found new ones that they had never travelled before, and some of these were even on the trial.
Many said that they would go on the next one. I suspect that that number increased when the Brickie wrote this:
"Wolf you may as well just give me the trophy now because those nuff nuffs couldnt find there way around there own back yard.You know and i know you could send them into a revolving door and the wankers would come out the way they went in.The only way they will beat my nash is if i run out of petrol and that wont happen
This resulted in a flurry of vitriolic emails, a number of which were immoderate, viscious, degrading, filthy and angry, all of which I have the pleasure of publishing, and which you can read by having a gaup at Hatfull of Arseholes, mentioned in the index.
After that a long, ominous silence ensued.
Half an hour after they all should have arrived, the Rover and Bull, neither of whom had actually driven the course, arrived.
Ring! Ring! It was Rex Walrus in the SS1. "There's something wrong with your directions. We followed them exactly, and we're in Creswick!" "There isn't, and you didn't!" was the only thing I could say.
Then, after another half hour, they dribbled in, all from the wrong direction!
The reason for choosing the Hepburn Pub (D on the map) was that there is only one road in from the north. You
There are very few things I miss since leaving The Club that is often mistaken for The Victorian Senior Citizens Club (quite unfairly, as the Senior Cits are a much younger demographic). One thing they did do well was run competetive car trials on public roads and my kids and I enjoyed them immensely, so when the Brickie asked me to organise an event with a bit of a challenge, I thought, "Why not? Why leave all of the fun to geriatrics?"
A competetive car trial is not a race, it's a game. It would be illegal to organise a race on public roads, so you have to be very careful or you could end up making roads rather than driving on them.
Of the Ferals, I've designed a few, Deaf John has designed a great many, and Arfur Long did a couple before he was banned from ever doing another one by the Faux Senior Cits.
His "crime"was that he organised a trial that ran in the back-roads of the Otway Ranges. Not only did he run the trial on some dirt roads which the delicate punters in their over-restored, over-polished, over-priced bits of Euro-crap think is a hanging offense, but he did worse.
Unbeknown to the "Powers That Be" he actually ran two trials at the same time. Half the punters got one set of instructions, and the other half got a different set. Both lots would start at the same place, and end at the same place, but do it differently. You would think he would be applauded for all of this extra work, but no.
Arfur ran them along some single lane logging tracks, where they not only had the chance to view logging trucks up close, but he ran half of them in one direction, and the other half in the opposite direction. When they met it would be a battle of wills amongst these Egotistic Pothunters as to who would advance, and who would reverse.
The smell of tar was strong at the next meeting and Arfur was wise to not attend.
We decided Deaf John and I would do the first two. We invited the C.U.N.T.S. the local Eldorados and the local Internationals, and anyone else who would be interested, and said that old cars would be nice, but come in anything you like.
We also told them that we would plan and test the trial in my MG TC, which has a ground clearence of only 3 1/2 inches, (the lowest point being the tin-can master cylinder). If we could do it, none of them should have a problem.
As explained at the pre-trial briefing, you work your way down the page. Your car always starts at the bottom of the symbol, and you follow the arrow. The first symbol means you go down the drive, then turn left. The second means that you turn left at the first road. Simple.
We set average speeds, for dirt and bitumen, that the punters must maintain, with penalties for speeding. And warned them that there may be secret controls which they must pass through and be timed at.
A suitable trophy was created for the punter with the most points over the two trials.
It all seemed so simple, what could go wrong?
After the briefing, each entrant was signed (and timed) out. This created some problems because of the Feral habit of parking where they feel like. Some punters were gassing on, and others could not get out because they were boxed in. Eventually, all of them buggered off.
Then the C.U.N.T.S. arrived late, had to be briefed again, and eventually they left.
A minor fuck-up occurred because we had unwittingly scheduled the frolic on the same weekend as the Castlemaine Swap, and Deaf John had a site there, so could not attend. A quick call to my niece's partner Owen to drive the TR7 and man the secret control, got us out of this problem. Thanks mate. (He will borrow one of my cars next time and compete.)
So finally I set off to the Hepburn Springs pub to time them in to lunch.
I needn't have hurried.
all unmarked tracks, they ignored the kid, and all tracks, marked and unmarked, eventually found some bitumen, gave up, and went to the Castlemaine swap instead. Well at least they got out of the drive! Just.
Odds on favourite to win was my sprog Tristan and his sister Klara (a founding member of the Ferals). He had the car that set the trial; fast, with a working speedo, odometer, and trip meter. He had also done Tulip and Navigation trials with me since he was 10, and thus knew what to do. Among the things he would learn was that things look different from the driver's seat.
could not fudge it and go around the block.
They had all reached the turnoff at the Kooroocheang Cemetery (A), Tulip 55, which was clearly signposted "Shepherd's Flat Road" (which by itself should have given some idea of the destination) and were travelling along it, when they reached a clearly signposted "Werona Track" (B). This track had had recent logging activity along it and so looked more used than the road they were on.
There appears to have been a collective brain fade at this point, because they all remembered "main track" and forgot about "this", and the second part of the instructions. Even those who had written down "Shepherd's Flat Road" on their sheet, still confidently sailed down Werona Track, ignoring the large track marker post. If they had chosen the other road in that fork, they would have all come out at Cricket Willow (C) and come in from the right direction. As it was, they all kept going, ignoring the fact that the roads, after the bitumen bore no resemblance to the Tulip map, and putting that down to a massive stuff-up by the incompetent organisers. They cruised around Daylesford for a while, checking out the pubs, till, by a process of elimination, they found me at the Hepburn Springs. All, that is, except two.
The Brickie and Yandoit Andy are competitive.
The rest meanwhile were on the verandah of the pub slagging off at me for stuffing up the trial. Their case fell to bits when The Brickie and Yandoit arrived.
I referred them to the Trial Notes : "The Judges decision is final. If you feel the need to contest the decision, the appeal must be made in writing, within one hour of the finish, and be accompanied by a $100 non-refundable fee."
Unfortunately, none took up this offer.
With only 2 competitors surviving, half the punters decided to head straight for the finish. I timed out the Brickie and Yandoit, and three others went as well, just for the fun of it.
The second stage was far wilder than the first, with an average time of 30mph for bitumen, and 15mph for dirt. It was good to see that those who went on it had learned their lesson, and no one got lost, though that does not mean that they came through without problems.
The route went north of Daylesford along the Porcupine Ridge Road, and along Limestone Track, and Shicer's Gully Track to end at the Guildford Pub.
One section of this track was a bit steep, but Deaf John and I had been up it twice in the MG TC so did not really think it was much of a problem. Well it wasn't for us.
Tristan and Klara again had problems. He'd stalled the car halfway up the hill, rolled back into the gutter and got stuck. Could not get the car out.
He claims that there was something wrong with the car, well...maybe...but if it was, then it fixed itself by the time it got home, apart from the leaking water hose. I suspect though that he just did not understand the car's configuration.
I have set the car up for highway use. It has a tall diff, and even though the engine is "worked" and has plenty of power for a little 1250cc motor, you have to know how to drive the thing. It has a quarter racing cam which means that it is gutless below 3000 revs, but has plenty of grunt above that. It also has a very minimal straight through exhaust which means it is noisy.
Drivers of modern cars are not really used to noise, so, I suspect that he shifted up too soon, ran out of revs and it stopped. I may be wrong.