Story: Gerry Engwerda
Fabulous – the sort of day where you can put the top down right at the start and not have to think about it again for the rest of the run.
The start, incidentally, saw us at the Java Café in the main street of Yackandandah (yes, there is such a place), where the Ballarat people were introduced to sunshine (not a familiar concept for them) and Ron briefed the group.
From Yackandandah we wound our way south to Mt Beauty, the sun shining, tops down on largely traffic-free roads interrupted only by the occasional Camry (why is it always a Camry?) that does not seem to come equipped with a rear vision mirror. Do 13 MX-5s trailing behind you tell you nothing??? Look behind you!!!
Through the foothills and then just short of Mt Beauty we turned right and joined the Tawonga Gap road which was to take us towards Bright.
This is really the sort of road for which the MX-5 was born. Revs up, short, sharp straight stretches, flick corners and panoramic views as we climbed towards the top of the Gap, the car park and the scenic look out!
There we met a curious group of people who apparently thought we were either Audis or Porsches out on a day trip – a natural enough mistake, I suppose! Porsche drivers so often try to pass themselves off as MX-5 owners. It is becoming a problem and we need to speak to them about it.
Bright was just coming into the autumn splendour for which it is justly famous! Give it another two weeks and it will be a sight not to be missed. The River Deck Café and the grassy surrounds near the river are well worth a visit, run or no run.
However we couldn’t wait for Bright to grow into its full autumn magnificence so we set off for the uphill trek to Mt Buffalo Chalet and a much-needed lunch.
How great is this? After a few turns left and right the MX-5 seems to breathe more easily and become more spirited. Could be just my imagination of course but we were having fun. At least we did until we came up behind another Camry that, like the last one, could not see any reason why anyone would want to travel any faster than 80 under any circumstances.
Still, it gave us a chance to admire the scenery as well as the road ahead and soon we were at the car park at the Chalet.
What a magical run … despite there being countless corners, there are only two “turns” on the 120km from Yackandandah to the Chalet … the first from the Kiewa Valley Hwy on to the Bright-Tawonga road, the second on to the Great Alpine Road to head into Bright. [You do leave the Great Alpine Road at Porepunkah for the ascent to the Chalet, but that doesn’t count … you go straight on through the roundabout while the highway veers right.]
Having scouted out the location beforehand, Ron and Marg took as to a magnificent rock outcrop (which we dubbed the “hard rock café) where we had lunch overlooking the valleys below.
The word “stunning” really does not do this spot justice. It’s the sort of view that, otherwise, you would probably only get from an expensive balloon ride.
Absolutely fantastic – thanks to both Ron and Marg for finding it.
Thanks also to all those people who came such a long way to attend runs in this part of the world. In particular, those people from Ballarat who are regulars at our runs: Ian and Karen Bradshaw, Noellene and John Gleeson, Dawn and Alan Everett, Beau McLennan, Jeff Woolf and Gwenda Parkinson. Ron Diprose who came all the way from Sunbury, Murray Finlay himself from Melbourne of course and the “locals” who didn’t have to travel quite so far: Nigel Anderson, Ian and Val Bruce, Bill and Elaine Hines as well as Ron and Marg Gillick and my wife Ellie and me. Thanks to you all for such a great day.
By the way, the Chalet at Mount Buffalo is unoccupied and there are no plans to bring it back to life. Could it be the new home of the Mazda MX-5 Club of Victoria? It’s certainly central!
If everyone put in …