Vicky Rowe enjoys some magnificent adventures in Little Ruby, her S1 Elise.
The Adventures of Little Ruby
By Vicky Rowe
Let me say up front and honestly; this is not a story about Lotus in Perth. It is a story though and it does involve Lotus. Enough said perhaps, but I have another confession to make before you read any further. This little story is a little self-indulgence. You see, I had so much fun (in my Lotus) recently that I just want to re-live it again. So here goes…
By way of background, you may have heard me complaining about the lacklustre motorsport scene in Perth ever since the RAC track was closed. Pretty annoying as I’d only just gone back to the track after a break, but we must have had some foresight about 12 months ago when we bought little Ruby (S1 Elise) on the East Coast, in time for the Winton LOTD in 2015. Ruby has been sitting around gathering dust on the east coast since that event, so it was time to dust it off for the 2016 Winton LOTD.
The car was just as much fun as I remembered, with plenty of power from the Honda. We’d overcome some teething problems, such as the clutch, since 2015, but found a few more this time. To be fair, Ruby had it tough, with both Ed and I sharing the car over the two sprint sessions on a hot day. Despite this we really enjoyed the event, getting reacquainted with the car, and especially catching up with so many of our Lotus friends.
With a clear intent to better utilise Little Ruby, I booked myself into the MSCA sprints at Winton the following weekend, on my way to NZ for a walking trek. But in between was Targa High Country. How could I miss that? Last minute change of plans necessary! Problem was my hiking gear was still in Perth. So, I travelled home to Perth, picked up my gear, and then essentially headed back to Melbourne on the next available flight.
This allowed me some time to spend with family and to travel some of my favourite roads. Just me and my giant suitcase (carrying both race gear and hiking gear etc) strapped into the passenger seat. On Friday I drove from Ballarat through Daylesford and across the Macedon ranges, on to Euroa to meet up with Targa. I then followed the stage through Strathbogie ranges, on to Mansfield, then up Mount Buller.
There was a long delay on the mountain as they recovered a Commodore that had gone off the road, ending up a long way down the steep drop. Thankfully they were okay, but that must have been very scary. Up on the mountain everyone was in great spirits, looking forward to the upcoming stages.
A very icy (light snow) start the following day and I had trouble with traction going down the mountain. Everyone had to take it very slowly. Thankfully there was no mountain stage on the Saturday. But there was a stage in Mansfield which drew an enthusiastic crowd. This was the best opportunity to be a spectator and it was a great spectacle. You’re up close to the action and there’s a great atmosphere afterwards with the crowd mixing with the competitors and the cars on display.
With commitments now on the Sunday, I headed back towards Benalla. I competed at Winton with the MSCA and had another great day. Feeling a bit more confident with Little Ruby I improved my time by a whole two seconds compared to my best time at LOTD.
After a fantastic week of motoring, including two sprint events at Winton, joining in on the fun at Targa and driving some of the best roads Victoria has to offer, I jumped on a plane to NZ feeling exhausted but satisfied. I was ready for a different pace and trekking (or tramping as the NZ’ers call it) was perfect, with very few cars in sight the whole week.