Western Australia’s Quokka Talk for May, 2018

Image thanks to Ellie Hamilton

The May 2018 edition of Quokka Talk is an important one, as it bids thank you and farewell to Eddie Lankhorst and Vicky Rowe, long time shepherds of the Western Australian Lotus community, and welcomes Steve Pretzel, who’s kindly taken over the position.

Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication, Eddie, and welcome, Steve!

Big Shoes to Fill

Eddie Lankhorst was the first person I spoke to when I was toying with the idea of buying a Lotus.

I’m sure you all remember buying your first Lotus.  You’ve lusted after one for years and now, finally, the stars are aligned.  You either own a sensible car already or your kids have left home and taken the dog with them.  Either way, two seats are now enough and one by one all the other practical objections fall away.

But there is still this one nagging doubt.  What’s it like to actually own one?

So you start reading road tests and forums.  You get sucked down the vortex of Elise vs S2000.  You hear the horror stories of bent tubs, of cracked clams, of Rover head gaskets.  But, you also you hear the rapturous tails of alpine roads, of the Oxley Highway, the Old Pacific Highway.  You watch a hundred YouTube clips showing how to get into and out of an Elise.  How to put a Series 1 soft top on in the rain.

You have a friend with a Ferrari who bemoans the money pit he’s bought.  A Lotus is like a Ferrari isn’t it?  Will it be off the road more than it is on it?

But you persevere because, well because you’ve had this itch since the very first time you saw an S1 and you’re not about to give up now.

And then you luck out.  Somehow you stumble across an actual, live Lotus owner.  Someone who tells you that they’ve actually been using a Lotus as a daily driver for years and no, they don’t suck at that.  And if you’re really lucky this actual, live Lotus owner will be connected with a Lotus club and they’ll invite you along to see a track day or have a drive with someone on a club run.  And they’ll patiently answer all your newbie questions and tell you all about lightness.  They may even point you in the direction of a car they know that is for sale, by an owner they know who’s a decent chap.

And suddenly this whole Lotus thing doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

And I’m sure you remember standing in the garage or on your driveway, just standing there staring at this most exquisitely beautiful car that is sitting there.  Your very own Lotus!

Fast forward eighteen months and you’ve immersed yourself in the Lotus culture.  The evening ‘meet n eats’, the early morning runs, the track days.  Your actual, live Lotus owner who helped you find your love of Lotus turned out to be the state convenor of Club Lotus; the route organiser; custodian of the walkie-talkies; writer of trip reports and general organiser-in-chief.  And now he and his Lotus-driving partner are heading back east and he’s looking for someone to handover to.

Of course you say “Yes”.

And so it is that I write my first Quokka Talk, dedicated to my friend Eddie Lankhorst and his partner Vicky Rowe – both of whom will be sadly missed by the Western Australian Lotus community.

Thanks for everything Ed and Vicky.  We’ll do our best to hold things together over here while you’re enjoying Victoria’s high country roads, variable weather and over-zealous police.

The ‘Back to Basics’ EMR

By John Edmondson

Photos by Steve Pretzel and Ellie Hamilton

We had a colourful turnout of cars for April’s Early Morning Run, including one Esprit, one S2 Exige, one S1 Elise, three S2 Elises, one S2.5 Elise and four S3 Elises.

We gathered, as usual, at 0800.  The morning was a little chilly by Perth standards, but with a mild, blue-sky Autumn day on offer there were plenty of takers.  After the usual swapping of recent happenings and checking out each of the cars that arrived we took to the roads.

This was the first regular EMR since WA convener, Eddie Lankhorst had handed over the reins, and just to prove how much we would all miss him. Steve forgot the radios and there were no route sheets.  So it was a ‘back to basics’, follow-the-leader type of run.  All fine, except we missed out on the entertainment of Mike’s constant prattle of puns over the two-ways!

As if they knew we were radio-less, the traffic lights were not on our side this morning.  We managed to lose cars at almost every intersection on our way out of the suburbs, but after a couple of stops to let the stuck ones catch up we were on our way.

John and Robyn Edmonson set the day’s course and led the way in their pristine white S3.  The line of Lotus ascended into the Perth hills, following some of the Targa West roads up behind Brigadoon, over the double dippers and on for a short stop at the Peter Brock memorial.

Our next destination was a pre-planned toilet stop at Chidlow.

We then followed the old rail line back towards Perth with the intention of driving through John Forrest National Park, but John turned left instead of right and there wasn’t a safe place to turn eleven cars around safely so straight out to the main highway we went.

It took around five minutes to get all of the cars across the road and joined up so we could get on our way again.

We had a few kms to drive on the highway then turned off to follow a few more fun roads, before losing five cars at a roundabout without realising they were gone.  A quick phone call from Ed and a couple of regroups and we finally arrived at the Iron Bark Brewery in the Swan Valley for lunch and a couple of ciders.  The mango cider and the pineapple cider are unusual, but very nice.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the day and we’re now looking forward to the next one.

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