We just spent an absolutely magnificent weekend in South Australia for Lotus 2015, and with everyone home and buzzing we think it’s about time to check out the photos and tell you all about our adventures!
Read on for Ashton’s wrap-up, illustrated with wonderful photos by Simon Kalis, Syd Reinhardt, Ashton Roskill and Scott Testi.
By Ashton Roskill
Well, what can I say that hasn’t already been said?
This was a simply brilliant weekend, made so by the company we shared it with, the fun we had, and the weather gods shining on us (sometimes a little too much!)
Caroline and I had shipped our car down to Adelaide as I was unable to get the extra two days off when we originally planned the weekend. However, at the last minute, I was able to grab some cheap flights on Thursday morning and we fit in two days of fun before the real fun began at Lotus 2015!
We met up with Rob, Ed, John and Les at the CEVA depot in Adelaide, who had done a better job of getting Hartley and my cars there in time than they managed with Vicky and Ed’s! Having picked up the ladies, we headed to the Adelaide Hills via the south side.
Enroute we met Syd (in Ashton as it happens!) who had come down the same roads from Tununda that we were about to drive and so had twice the fun!
The route took us north up Corkscrew Road and Gorge Road, both largely clear although there were a few cyclists out to keep us on our best and most courteous behaviour. With the sun shining, we blew a few cobwebs away as we headed to Kersbrook for a lovely lunch and the first of many wine tastings at the delightful Kersbrook Hill Winery.
The WA contingent then split and headed south, while Hartley, Rob, Syd and C & I headed north to the Clare Valley and Mintaro Mews. Mintaro Mews is a delightful former coaching house on the copper rush route to Burra – although clearly they didn’t have to worry about Lotuses when they built it as they left the driveway a little low!
We continued on to a visit of the Seven Hills Winery, and then a slightly circuitous route to Tanunda via Martindale Hall, which felt as though someone had lifted a stately home straight out of the Yorkshire Dales and plonked it (lovingly) in the middle of nowhere! Fantastic.
Following the superbly organised Concours at Birdwood, where they also have an Austin 7 to remind us of where it all began, a small group of us headed off for a visit to Shaw and Smith and then back to Tanunda via Maggie Beers.
Sunday was an early start to get to Mallala for the sprints, particularly as we had enjoyed the auction dinner the night before (from which somehow I ended up with a model of an Elan S3, some quirky prints, and a copy of Mike’s book on the 12 – don’t ask!). I don’t mind admitting that I didn’t know what to expect from the track, as I hadn’t even looked at a map of it before we got there!
It turned out to be HUGE fun, with some challenging and rewarding corners connected by short straights, and one long sweeper. Given that I was running road tyres and with no idea of a good reference time, I was delighted to get into the 1.22s, although compared to the locals and high horsepower cars, clearly this is a bit off the pace!
Hit this link to head to the Natsoft site and check out the results.
I would like to note (for all those K Series doubters out there) that the only Lotus failures on the day were a Honda and a Toyota engine!
Dinner on Sunday night was wonderful, based at the Yalumba winery in the magnificent hall. The food was lovely and the company was not only utterly enchanting, but all dressed up to the nines as well. And to cap it all I got a trophy – YAY!! (You have no idea how happy this made me, thank you to the organisers for somehow rigging this!!)
Monday morning saw Syd, Hartley and C & I start the haul home as early as we could manage in order to get some miles under our belts before the heat caught up.
We pushed through to Mildura for a lovely lunch in Steve and Jonelle’s company, before pressing on through to Narrandera, where we arrived dusty (we even managed to find a gravel road), hot (thanks to Steve for the suggestion to wrap a cold towel around my neck as I managed to stay relatively comfortable despite the 37 degrees) and relieved to have avoided the emus and roos. We were just in time for a quality dinner at the local RSL, where the company was just as enchanting as the night before. Nuff said!
On Tuesday we hit the road early again to take the scenic route with a brief stop in Junee for coffee before pushing through to Gundegai (if you haven’t driven the Junee-Gundegai road, you must – it was beautiful!) for the final fuel stop and then up the Hume, with lunch at Gunning and home by 3.30.
The car got a tub (some of the bugs came off, some will have to wait for the next time), and so did I!
I was quietly relived and impressed that the little car managed to do so well, in not exactly easy conditions; the days tearing around the Adelaide Hills and Clare Valley, a day at the racetrack at Mallala, and the haul home could all have been expected to take their toll, but not a bit of it! The oil is a bit blacker, but it’s all there still, the brakes need bleeding but at least they work, and the tyres have a bit of life left in them for the next run!
Huge thanks are due to Andrew, Ian, Mark, Rebecca, Susan, David, Mike, Lee, Wayne and I am sure I have failed in my duties to remember the whole committee, but thank you all – you did a wonderful job, and even turned on the weather for us – perfect!
Thanks too to all those who came from near and far (particularly far!) to make this such a memorable event – at the end of it all, the cars are only the facilitator of the numerous great friendships Caroline and I are so grateful for, so thank you all!
I’m sure there are loads of other thank yous I owe, but my apologies that I think my brain is still suffering from the frying it got over the last two days!
Images by Simon Kalis
Images by Scott Testi
Images by Syd Reinhardt
Images by Ashton Roskill