Canberra Chapter Bathurst Blast

23 February 2019 / Report by Giulia Schiemer, Photos courtesy of Rob Wilkins and Rod Nicholas

Canberra’s Bathurst Blast for the MX-5’s 30th Anniversary

The Baker at Sutton was the meeting point; coffee and breakfast was the order of the day. After caffeinating to the correct level, 26 members driving 14 cars were ready for our trip to Bathurst to help celebrate the MX5’ 30th birthday. A further six members in three cars and two visitors in two cars left a little later to join the rest of us in Bathurst. Our main group was split into two, the first led by James and Giulia and the second by Ken and Matt. After a short briefing, group one left just before 9.30, with group two following shortly after. The chosen route went through Gundaroo, Gunning and Crookwell with a comfort stop at the village of Binda. There were rumours of a fuelling issue with Ken’s car, but it was sorted out at Gunning, with ‘blame’ being placed (a little unfairly, perhaps) on the co-driver’s shoulders!

Continuing on, all the drivers had fun through the bends around Tuena with our CBs keeping everyone in touch. Another comfort stop was made at Trunkey Creek before continuing on to Bathurst with a little rain making its presence felt. Lunch was booked at the Family Hotel in Bathurst where the overcast skies sent our group indoors. However, the sun soon reappeared, and we proceeded to Rydges Hotel on Mount Panorama to check in. Some drivers felt the urgent need to do a few laps but under the watchful eye of the Highway Patrol!

Dinner for 36 Canberra members and visitors was booked at the Chicane Bar and Grill in the hotel, and everyone enjoyed each other’s company. Unfortunately for some of our members, some locals decided to visit a few of the rooms, uninvited of course. Rod and Maryanne had money stolen and Mike and Genevieve had to chase them out of their room more than once! Police soon arrived and arrested the (alleged) culprits, and the hotel has since reimbursed Rod and Maryanne.

Sunday morning arrived and we made our way to McPhillamy Park, getting in a few Mountain laps as well! There was a rumour that while one Canberra convenor was helping with traffic flow, the other (the driver) spent some time sitting behind a parked/driverless MX5 and wondering why it wasn’t moving to exit the park! Never mind, he caught up eventually! Then it was off to the RSL for lunch with the hundreds of other Club members, who had travelled far and wide to experience the anniversary laps.

Following a great lunch, some people went exploring, including to the National Motor Museum, while others needed to return home. Dinner wasn’t planned, but some of us got together for ‘nibbles and drinks’ well into the evening.

Next morning saw 14 members gather for breakfast coffee at Country Coffee in Bathurst before heading off on the return journey via different roads, through Oberon, Taralga and Goulburn. A comfort stop was made at a little village called Black Springs where the ‘long drop’ toilets provided a conversation starter! As there were only two loos, some of the guys were seen disappearing behind conveniently placed trees!

The section to Taralga allowed for some spirited driving but always mindful of speed limits of course! This road is relatively new and provides spectacular views, and apart from one side of the climb up from the Abercrombie River valley, is in quite good condition.
Taralga saw us demolish a tasty lunch at the Ploughman’s Café, and then we said farewell and headed our separate ways.

Everyone seemed to agree that it was a very entertaining and pleasurable weekend, with the possible exception of the uninvited guests at Rydges! Many thanks to Michael Soulos and the rest of the committee for the planning and organising of the weekend!

[The Webman adds his bit: This was a great weekend. The roads we travelled up to and from Bathurst were a lot of fun, with or without the ‘spirited’ driving (I found it hard to wipe the grin off my face at times). Up on Mt Panorama it was a buzz to see so many MX-5s in one place and a treat to drive around the track, even if it was only a 60 kph (yes, Your Honour, I did stick to the speed limit - mostly). A big ’thank you’ to the Club Committee for getting it all together, and for our Chapter Convenor’s for organising a great run.]

Rod Nicholas’s Google photos:

Rob Wilko’s photos:

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