Ashton’s President’s Prattle for September, 2018


Well, it’s spring! How did that happen so fast? The good news is that the days are getting longer and warmer, and there are fewer and fewer excuses to leave the car in the garage!

So, come along to the Tyre Kick and Coffee in two weeks’ time (Sunday the 16th of September) and celebrate the start of the car driving season with us! Tyre Kick and Coffee is held at Gough Whitlam Park on Bayview Avenue in Earlwood on the third Sunday of every month. The club will even buy you a coffee and an egg and bacon roll if you need some added incentive to get out of bed on a Sunday morning!!

The main reason I am late writing this is because we had the club committee meeting yesterday, and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything in this note. Actually, that’s stretching the truth a bit. Really, I am just at the end of two weeks of chaos – but the Committee meeting did highlight a few important points!

  1. Motorsport continues to thrive and grow as a staple of our club (CSCA, Targas, NSW Supersprints, historic racing through GEAR, FOSC, the HSRCA and others
  2. The club is in fine health financially (thanks Greg!) and we have a growing membership base (well over 300 members including associates)
  3. We will be gathering up in Queensland next April for Lotus 2019, and NSW will be picking up the baton for 2021. We are pushing ahead out planning for that


The other reason I am late is that Giles and I spent the week before last in Alice Springs shaking down Gidget, the Austin Healey 100/4 we have built for Peking to Paris next year (2 June-7 July). We took her to run in the Central Outback Trial and find out how she copes with dirt roads. The answer is that she coped brilliantly! Driver and navigator need some work, however!

We managed to throw away a promising second place on the last day, and ended up in eighth place from a total of 28 cars. Having said that, by the end of seven days of competition, there were only about 20 left in contention! Gidget, however, is strong, dependable and handles very well on both dirt and tarmac (which is particularly impressive considering the design is deliberately quite agricultural). She got us through the event without a murmur.

We will now fit a roll bar, sort out clearances on the wheel arches and start to pack in earnest – we need to lighten the load considerably! While there it was lovely to catch up with Randall Holmes, who may be CLA’s most remote member, and also to meet one of only three Lotus owners in Alice – Paul Guerin. Paul has a left-hand-drive Lotus Cortina – a beautiful example in concours condition. Many thanks to both of them for the pit support provided, particularly in the removal of copious amounts of red dust from the car each evening!

This month is particularly busy, with Targa Great Barrier Reef happening as I write this (Lotus are featuring prominently in all the rankings – well done to everyone up there!), round 6 of the CSCA sprints next weekend (8th) at Eastern Creek, Tyre Kick and Coffee and the Lugarno Lions Spring Festival on 16th and then both the All British Day (23rd) and the HSRCA Spring Festival (22nd/23rd) on the second last weekend of September.

Don’t forget that there is a drive and lunch day on the 7th of October being organised by Tom, heading out to Mt Tomah Gardens on the Bells Line of Road. The meeting point is the Shell petrol station on the road into Richmond by the RAAF base at 10am. Unfortunately Mrs R and I will be in Sri Lanka then, but this is a day not to be missed – the Bells line of Road is made for Lotuses, and Mt Tomah gardens are delightful in the spring.

November’s highlights include the next SSC LOTD track day, to be held at Philip island and supporting the Australian Production Car Series round over 2-3 November, and then Targa High Country the following weekend (9-11). I’m hoping to be able to find time for both, but certainly won’t miss the opportunity to drive PI – it has to be the best long circuit in Australia.

Before we know it, it’ll be time for our Christmas Party, AGM and celebrations of 70 years of Lotus on Sunday the 2nd of December. More details within, but the club is subsidising the hampers for lunch, so make sure you confirm with Tom and Elliott in plenty of time so we can get the catering right.

I look forward to seeing you out there. In the meantime, keep it right side up and on the blackstuff!

Pip pip,

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