We catch up with our friends in South Australia with the latest edition of SA Lotus Torque, recapping the July monthly run to Meadows and August’s run to McLaren Vale, thanks to Andrew Stevens.
SA Lotus Torque: September 2019
An occasional contribution from our SA correspondent Andrew Stevens
July Monthly Run to Meadows the Long Way
It’s pretty rare to have miserable weather in Adelaide, and even rarer for it to be wet and drizzly on a Sunday of a Lotus run. Obviously, someone up there can’t read the CLA calendar properly. And so July was just that little bit unpredictable and slushy as part of our seemingly wet winter, meaning that some of the Lotus stuck their nose out the garage door, went yuck, and promptly pulled on the handbrake. Nevertheless, a hardy few came out and with the weather threatening, we decided that a short run to Meadows was in order, but with a twist.
We were able to welcome back Ben Hern on holiday from Norway, who had dug his S1 Elise out from hibernation to join us. More auspiciously, Julian Casson has recently moved to Adelaide bringing with him the world famous Elsie the Alaskan Elise (G’day Giles!) Instantly recognisable, Elsie was as immaculately presented as ever, and Julian is a great custodian. As a result, S1 Elises outnumbered Evoras and balance was returned to the universe.
The Meadows Bakery is one of our favourite destinations, with a great venue and welcoming staff. Over winter they have homemade soup as well as the usual fare. If we get there early we beat the bike crowd (who’d wisely stayed indoors as well) and get the room out the back to ourselves.
For a change we didn’t fill the room, and the staff had a much easier job than usual, due to the innovation of ignoring our “we’re with them” and actually using order numbers. As we finished, and pulled out for the run home, the sun broke through to complete a very enjoyable (roof up) run.
August Monthly Run to McLaren Vale Via Just About Everywhere
If July was a small(ish) turnout, the pendulum swung in the other direction for August. Not only did we have a fantastic winter’s day, but the array of Lotus in the carpark was huge.
We welcomed two new(ish) Lotus owners to the fray. They made it easy and decided to both use the name David for the day, and to make it even easier drove almost identical late model SC Elises. So a very big Lotus welcome to David Wiseman, who’d brought along his pristine white Elise 220 Sport, and David Rogers, who’d recently acquired a local Elise S that had been nicely upgraded by SSC to similar specs, but splendid in Ardent Red.
Peter Chaplin brought his daily drive Black Europa S along, having complained of feeling deprived while recently working in England.
As usual, we had an interesting mix of cars, although the pod of early Lotus that have often joined in were missing. Maybe spring will bring them out of hibernation.
One car that was definitely not missing was Chris Sofokleos’ immaculate white S1 Esprit, complete with 007 number plates. Chris’ job at the airport doesn’t allow him much opportunity to join us on runs. But he does usually arrange to get his car to the All British Day. When I visited the ABD back in February, I was surprised that his car wasn’t in the Club Lotus Australia display. That’s because it was in the prize winners’ area, having been judged Best Of Show from amongst almost 1000 entries. And deservedly so.
We realised that this was going to be a long queue of cars departing the carpark and heading up the freeway towards Crafers, so the decision was taken that Michael Ford would lead the way to McLaren Vale where a table awaited us. Michael wanted to know if we wanted to go the usual way? The collective “No!” was all he needed and away we went on an adventure drive that had some wondering if we were really going to McLaren Vale.
We explored parts of the Adelaide Hills that some didn’t even know existed, and took in some of the tastiest, most scenic parts of the southern vales. The fantastic winter weather had completely confused the flora, and we went from the delicate white blossom on the fruit trees in the run into Clarendon to the bright yellow wattle illuminating the run down into Kangarilla and Blewitt Springs.
The snake of brilliantly coloured Lotuses wound its way behind Michael’s silver Evora. We felt pity for the 4WD who pulled over to let the following sports car through, only to have to sit and count the number of cars as they flashed past one after the other. As we dashed along, people stopped and stared (they do tend to do that when you drive a Lotus), waved, and smiled. So did we – smile I mean. You don’t get many more enjoyable drives than this one.
We tracked past the Mt. Bold Reservoir and up the hillside to Chandlers Hill with spectacular views to the Happy Valley and the coast at Hallet Cove, before Michael pointed us south past Yangarra Estate towards our destination. We swept our way across the hillside on Blewitt Springs Rd before plunging downhill to McLaren Flat, forming another cavalcade through McLaren Vale itself, before disgorging our passengers at the McLaren Vale visitor centre for coffee, cake, and morning tea.
David Hopper soon found himself the pseudo waiter, having perched adjacent to the coffee window, as the barista made short work pushing out the orders. The queue to compliment Michael on the route navigation was surprised to learn that he’d made it up as he went along. The sign of a misspent something or other! He definitely hasn’t been spending it playing billiards.
There was lots of catching up and discussions on topics as diverse as travel plans, brake upgrades, and how well the next track day at The Bend was going to be supported. David Wiseman walked away with a list of things to investigate (and $ to spend) for his new acquisition, while at least one member was revising his forthcoming UK trip to take in a detour via Elise Parts on the way back from Hethel.
As people drifted off, I decided to locate my wife who was reportedly somewhere in the nearby Kuitpo Forrest at a trail running event. I never did manage to find her, but I did stumble across Perrini Estate nestled away on the edge of the forest. After a chat with the owners, a carton of cleanskin Chenin Blanc was strapped into the passenger seat to even up the weight distribution. Or at least that’s what I told myself as I handed over the cash before heading back to Adelaide.
See You Soon
We meet up every first Sunday of the month, usually at the Sikh Centre at the bottom of the SE Freeway up track before the Toll Gate. Get there by 9:00am to catch the crew.
Cheers from SA,