Crookwell Lunch Run

27 March 2022 / Words by Rod Nicholas. Pictures by Rod Nicholas and Gordon Hunt

Saturday 19 March 2022

I knew as I pulled into the start point that we were going to be the odd one out – the pilsner in a round of stouts, the lone Pies jumper in a sea of Blues, the lemonade among a bunch of raspberry cordials.

There were three red MX-5s in the carpark. By the time we set off, my lead car – a pearl white crystal mica ND RF – was followed by five soul red NDs (three different versions of the colour), one true red NC and one copper red NC. At least, I was easy to find in the group. ***

We were off to Crookwell for lunch. Crookwell is a quiet little town surrounded by a rich agricultural and pastoral district. The district is recognised as one of the state's major producers of seed potatoes, wool, fat lambs, beef cattle, oats, hay, dairy produce, and cold-climate fruits.

And wind.

We passed several large wind farms on our travels, where some of the finest wind in New South Wales is cultivated for use in creating electrical energy. Warm winds, cool winds, even nasty chilly winds, are mustered and corralled in these modern farms and put to use for the benefit of many. We couldn’t get too close to the farms but I can confidently say we encountered winds in the wild (and, speaking purely personally of course, we were even able to catch and break-in a little wind ourselves).

Anyways …

We managed to keep the convoy pretty much together for our journey to Boorowa, our recaffeination/comfort stop. The Barton Highway was a dull start to the trip, especially with the roadworks near Hall (and that old bloke who chose to ignore the 100 kph speed limit and stuck to 80 for half the way to Yass – maybe he was the same bloke that wrote in the paper recently bragging about how much fuel he saved driving at 80 rather than 100 kph on the highway. Sure he might have saved a dollar or two at the pumps, but he was ignoring the frustration he was creating for other drivers and the potential risk he was putting himself and other drivers to with his penny-pinching pace along the broad roads around town). The Burley Griffin Way to Binalong, however, was a nice change. The Hughstonia Road to Boorowa was a delight – in much better condition than I expected and quiet, apart from eight lovely MX-5s enjoying the topless weather.

Once refreshed, we headed to Crookwell along the Rugby/Boorowa Road. We seemed to be the only ones travelling our way, and took full advantage of it. This road is full of delights – long sweeping bends, tight twisting corners, straights that follow the ridgeline and the valleys, the exciting village of Rugby. Oh, and roadworks, and gravel roads where the bitumen has been ripped up, and water trucks, and red mud. Now, lest that worry anyone thinking of taking a drive out there, the roadworks are a tiny bit or the track (maybe a kilometre in total) and the gravel road was tight packed and smooth. And there won't always be a water truck settling down the dust and muddying the track – we were just lucky.

Lunch at Café Zestt in Crookwell was simple but enjoyable, and conversation was plentiful.

Homeward bound, we headed to Gunning and from there, Gundaroo. These roads, too, were in surprisingly good nick given the rain over the past few months. Once again, however, we were let down a bit by others on the road – the bloke in the Focus ST clearly couldn’t abide the thought of being stuck behind eight MX-5s for the 30 km trip to Gunning and leapfrogged our convoy as soon as he could, whether it was safe or not. A brief stop to regroup at Gunning revealed just what we thought of him (and at least one of our cars has some nice new paint chips courtesy of his work). Our Club encourages and promotes safe driving; it's a pity that not all drivers on the road understand what that means.

Cars began to peel off after Gundaroo, whether to head south or find cheap fuel, but I lead a smaller contingent down Mulligans Flat Road, recently resurfaced and in very good condition (and about time!).

When I garaged my mud-red crystal white pearl car, I’d just ticked over 300 km for the trip – a really enjoyable run, with near perfect weather and a great collection of friends. Our guests on this run, potential members Gordon and Vicki (who were sizing us up for a fit) were welcomed into the group enthusiastically. We must have created a good impression as they later informed me they had signed up. I hope they get as much fun from the Club as I do, but I wonder whether we needed another Soul Red ND. (Of course we do!)

*** According to a survey in 2020, 80% of new car owners picked neutral colours, with white leading the way at 38% of new cars (leading for its ninth consecutive year), followed by 19% choosing black, then 13% opting for grey and 10% selecting silver. Rounding out the top ten list are colours like blue (7%), red (6%), brown/beige (3%), yellow/gold (2%), green (1%) and others (1%). If I had to guess about the most popular colour for new ND MX-5s, I’d say that Soul Red hits the top by a long way. White MX-5s do not seem to be particularly common. At least we stand out!

Rod Nicholas