High Country run

PA106339Story: Ben Sale

It was early on a bright, crisp Saturday morning that we gathered at Croydon McDonald’s, freshly caffeinated and with animated faces.

MX-5s of all colours gathered ready to explore the rugged high country of north-eastern Victoria, a region laced with the roads and switchbacks of Targa fame.

Drivers were at the ready after a short drivers’ briefing and supply of a road book; trip meters were zeroed as the crew snaked their way on to Maroondah Highway.

Sun shone, rooves were down and smiles were on for the picturesque trip up through Black Spur. Smiles widened as the corners tightened, traffic was sparse and the smell of damp rainforest soaked the air.

Upon congregating at the first rest point, conversation and further caffeine were exchanged, locals gawked and travellers crooked their necks. The sun was warming the road and a faint mist was visible on the horizon, calling our MX-5s onward. After a short trip up to Alexandra, we arrived at the Eildon National Park and the road danced through the hills with breathtaking views on all sides.

Skyline Road disappoints neither driver nor passenger, with the view from either seat simply dramatic. Drivers are presented with a seemingly endless ribbon of tar lined with trees and interspersed with varied corners urging you to push chassis dynamics. Those in the silly seat are graced with views out over the valley, taking in the splendour of Lake Eildon, dashed with boats basking in the early morning sun.
After taking in the sights, we broke next to Lake Eildon, again attracting local attention and exchanging caffeine. The next stage would be the most challenging – TS11 Jamieson Stage, Eildon-Jamieson Road … 53km of calculated switchbacks, sweeping corners and merciless hairpins, not for the weak-bellied. Roads like these were forged to create the bond between driver and car, and the MX-5 is the perfect vehicle for this experience.

The MX-5 truly comes into its element on roads like these; the road speaks and is translated through the directness of the steering. The tyres squeal notes of joy as they grip the tar, the compound lays a trail, making its mark on the MX-5’s territory, the open road.

The barrage of abuse doesn’t phase the MX-5’s torquey little engines. They crave it.

After a divine encounter between road and MX-5, the congregation headed back in to Mansfield to fill bellies.

The conclusion of the run saw an extended farewell, with some companions travelling on for a meal in town, whilst other bid adieu. Those few most devout followers, made the return pilgrimage via the route just travelled.

The day’s adventures bought joy and built relationships; cars, drivers and co-drivers were in their element.

With any luck there will be a few more pilgrims at future events as drivers continue to expand the relationship with their Miatas.