Western Australia’s Quokka Talk for March, 2019

Cooking at 40 degrees at Serpentine Dam

Image: Ellie Hamilton

After some time apart, we catch up with our friends in Western Australia to find out what they’ve been up to in early 2019 with the latest edition of Quokka Talk.

Quokka Talk, March 2019

Steve Pretzel

Contrary to popular belief, we have not been in hibernation out west. In order to dispel the myth this months’ Quokka Talk is a catch up of our first two EMRs of the year. Normal service will be resumed next month.

January EMR – Sunday 20 January 2019

Having a dam good time

By: John Edmondson

Photos: Ellie Hamilton

It was a nice early start meeting 8am at the Guildford Train Station carpark for January’s Early Morning Run. The day had a forecast of 40C, so for most it was roof on and air conditioning running as best as it can.

Ten cars met for the run, one S1 Elise, two S2 Exiges, six other Elises and one Ferrari. The run took us for a lovely drive up through the hills and down the other side of Kalamunda before heading south along Aldersyde Road then Glenisla Road.

Single file across the dam

A planned toilet stop at the Canning Dam had to be aborted due to all the dams being closed off due to the extreme weather. So, we carried on to the Albany Hwy for a 15km blast until the Jarradale turnoff. We stopped at the Serpintine Dam Cafe carpark for a half hour toilet and coffee break plus a short rest to stretch the legs. Back in the cars and the mandatory photo stop on the dam wall before driving out past the Karnet Prison Farm and onto the South Western Hwy. Still heading south we turned off at North Dandalup and headed up the hill towards Dwellingup, then down the other side for our lunch stop at the famous Pinjarra Bakery.

February EMR – Sunday 17 February 2019

Dylan and his mum in his beautiful Lotus 7

By: Steve Grobler

Photos: Mike Hamilton

Thirteen cars and about 22 people assembled at Guildford Train Station in readiness for February’s EMR – Elises, Exiges, Esprits and a 7 replica. It was a very good turnout on a really nice day.

A visitor that did not join us on the run, but did join us for the pre-start social, was Steve who is a former member of the original Lotus WA club from the mid ’90s. Steve had stopped alongside Robyn and John in traffic the day before and commented that he had the grandfather of Robyn’s Exige in his garage – a Renault-engined Europa. Needless to say Robyn invited Steve to meet us for the EMR.

Honda Conversion S1

Steve had a most interesting A5-size booklet, which was one of the 1997 Club Lotus WA newsletters. I would love to get a copy in future. Many of the member/committee names in the newsletter were familiar to me, although few are still club members. An interesting blast from the past. I hope that Steve will re-register his Europa soon (it is in running order) and bring it along to show us! It’s been in his family since the 70’s I think.

A car that I was really hoping to see was sadly absent – a newly restored blue 1984 Giugiaro Turbo Esprit. It looks absolutely fabulous in the photo that owner Richard J posted the night before and this was confirmed by others that saw it at Coffee and Cars at UWA whilst we were all out driving. Our EMRs seem to clash all too often with Cars and Coffee – maybe we ought to factor that into future events..

So, it was my turn to lead the EMR – only my second time as leader. Those that have done it know it is a stressful task and hats off to those that excel at it. I was short of time, so had not been able to scout the route beforehand and I foolishly gave away my set of notes, thinking I could rely on my GPS. As a result I got lost very quickly in the suburbs before I managed to get us out to Bullsbrook and the start of the more scenic stuff in the Chittering Valley.

Arriving at the Stringybark Winery & Restaurant

After a whip around the local roads surrounding Bullsbrook, which helped to avoid a large motorcycle troop on the main Chittering Road, we settled into the more relaxed open-road cruising through the Chittering Valley. It’s a bit dry now, but still really beautiful countryside. Things were going well until one of roads I selected turned out to be a dirt road and so we had a few moments of confusion whilst we re-routed, but we couldn’t avoid other roadworks in the area. Nevertheless, we arrived at Stringybark Winery bang on time for our English breakfast at 10:30am. Someone saw a kangaroo make a dash for it somewhere along the route, but thankfully no wildlife was harmed in the name of the EMR!

I decided to depart slightly from our normal routine and go for a breakfast instead of lunch, so we were all done by 12 noon. I had read in the newsletters that one of the eastern states clubs were in the habit of doing their EMRs in two parts – a morning run with a coffee break and then going on to lunch, so it was possible to do just the earlier part if that was the preference of some.

Getting dusty

Some tips for future EMR leaders from my vast experience of two runs:

  •  Scout the route ahead of time if you can, mainly to gain familiarity, but also establish if there are roadworks or detours anywhere on the route
  • Use a free web app called ‘Plotaroute’ to initially map out a route. This enables you to work out a distance and print out a set of directions without too much effort. I also use it to export a GPX file so I can follow the route on a GPX viewing app on my phone
  • Whilst the phone app is handy, I found it best to use it in conjunction with my navigator, working off the printed notes. Although I have been handing out printed notes, there’s not really any point as only the lead car can lead!
  • Radios are handy if a few are distributed along the convoy, especially to the tail car. Something with a range of more that 2-3km is preferred. I’m usually the tail car and I’m often out of range especially in hilly country
  • It’s worthwhile announcing turns and hazards ahead of time too. A tip on radios – hold the press-to-talk button in for a second before speaking, otherwise the first few (usually most important) words are lost!
  • Regroup by pulling over periodically if anyone appears to be getting lost at the back – the tail car needs a radio for this reason, but if anyone loses the car behind them, slow down and let them catch up. The lead car can only see a couple of cars behind, so if everyone does this the leader quickly knows there’s a problem
  • The key thing when pulling off the road is to make sure there is enough room for the entire convoy to get off the road. Even the tail car can get stressed when the leader pulls off the main road to re-route and there’s no room for everyone else behind to get off the road, especially when there’s traffic bearing down
  • Plan a toilet break for about 60 minutes from when you leave, (after 45 minutes of pre-start chatting and a coffee it’s usually welcome), and announce it before you start, so that if anyone gets completely lost they can head to the location independently.


Eclectic Mix

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