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I looked across to the carpark and saw 21 Porsches and 1 Ferrari, all beautifully clean, polished and fuelled, along with 39 members and guests, all ready for the “run”. Old and new members listened as Ken Anson provided a briefing about the route. Ken welcomed new members participating in their first run: Simon Best, driving a 911SC (1980 Light blue) and Barry and Ursula Pritchett driving a 911 3.2 Carrera (Silver), and guests John Sharley and Bruno Scambiaterra. Armed with our comprehensive itinerary notes we left Roxburgh Park shopping centre carpark on a beautiful sunny winters’ day.

Zig zagging across the Hume freeway, we enjoyed a relaxing 89 km drive through the newly developing outer suburbs north of Melbourne and north to Kilmore. The drive included some sweeping curves, narrow bridges, a concealed switchback, roadworks and some rolling straights. We had a leisurely morning tea break in Kilmore, with time for chatting in the sunshine, with the cars in view in the car park.

The second leg of the run was 99.8km and again we zig zagged across the Hume highway. We travelled north from Kilmore to Strath Creek, and on through Broadford Flowerdale, Whittlesea, ending at Wallan. We travelled across rolling plains of farmlands, and natural bushland with gumtrees shading the road. There was little traffic on the first half of this leg as we drove down the escarpment into Flowerdale, and while the traffic increased in the second half the run, it was a very scenic drive through East Kinglake and down into Whittlesea.

The best part of the trip for me was observing the line of Porsches along the road looking ahead there were 7 Porsches snaking their way along the road and behind in the side mirror I could see another 7 Porsches. Quite a sight! As we arrived at the Hogan hotel carpark in Wallan, Ken and Harriet were waiting for us with car spaces secured for all.

Conversation flowed as lunch was served efficiently by the staff at the hotel. Neville Sampson, the photographer on the day, grabbed the smiles and machinery throughout the day. Ken conducted the raffle with lucky winners: Jeanette Sampson, Harriet Anson, Allan Hines, Bruno Scambiaterra, Norman Smith and Jane Hallam.

While most of the cars were mid 911, there were some Caymans and Boxsters. The friendliness of participants is a common feature of these runs. The passionate car owners always have something to share about their cars and today was no different. Conversational titbits included hearing about a “great” recent experience at the Porsche Sport driving school at Mt Cotton in Queensland, and a memorable and impressive factory tour and museum visit to the Porsche facility in Stuttgart, Germany. The engine of one 964 was proudly displayed complete with original oil stickers etc in response to a conversation. I also heard about the restoration of a 964, the anguish over stone chips and deliberation over tyre brands.

The route that Harriet devised was superb and the weather magic great organisation! Many thanks Harriet and Ken for a great day.

Despite the cold, rainy start for the Winter Mid 911 Run to Phillip Island on the fourth Sunday of May, the atmosphere inside the starting point of the BP Outbound, at Officer was quite warm and jovial, and akin to a post Anzac Day march, minus the hip flask additives.

To explain this further, as you know, starting an ageing car on a cold winter’s morning, and have it idle for a reasonable time to warm up, before easing it into gear without too many joint squeaks or twitches, then drive it with windows part way down to prevent fogging up the windscreen, and arrive at the first point of call without any warning lights appearing on the dash well, THAT is a great start to the day. And hence why we were happy to be sipping coffee at a highway service centre, surrounded by other frozen, like minded Mid 911 enthusiasts, ready to face the rest of the day, and knowing as well, that the heaters and demisters had finally started to kick in.

I should point out that there were a couple of newbie Porsches along for the drive as well that day. Our procession out of the service station looked like a striking rainbow of colours as we headed along the (M1) autobahn towards our first destination at Loch Village. And, as if on cue, the grey clouds parted and the sun shone in patches along our journey on the highway, and through the picturesque hills and valleys of the South Gippsland area.

Our maps and road notes were very comprehensive, and that included a pre drive briefing from Graeme Anderson, warning us about a stretch of twisty road that was hazardous when wet, and to definitely consider Plan B, if that was the case. Fortunately it was not, and the terrain definitely tested out the ride and handling on the Mid 911s, and perhaps blew out some of the dust and cobwebs from under the engine lids, just a little.

The Baw Baw ranges were shrouded in the distance, and place names like Drouin, Nar Nar Goon, Cannibal Creek, Jindivick, Korumburra and Poowong passed us by, as were it seems a growing number of organic farms specialising in strawberries, cheese, eggs, olives and wines, some with farm gate produce for sale, enticing us to perhaps revisit on another occasion.

The rain had stopped, as we zipped through groves of pines with needles floating by, making it reminiscent of an early 80’s car ad, and probably more so when we passed a bunch of Aston Martins,
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at that particular moment.

Cows and sheep were wrapped in their rugs and ugg boots, hay bales dotted lush green paddocks, and chimneys on country cottages were puffing out trails of smoke to signal a lazy morning for its occupants, who were possibly luxuriating by their fire, with a Sunday paper and hot chocolate in hand.

Fortunately for us, our next stop at the Rustic Cacao Chocolate Factory in lovely little Loch, had delightful hosts, Alan and Diana, providing warm mugs of authentic hot chocolate, and maybe a cake or three for morning tea. Conversations began in earnest about the drive, the cars, the weather, Porsche track days, snippets of personal adjuncts, car repairs, that delicious (spiced) hot chocolate, the tasty products lining the café shelves, and more auto talk, of course.

Forthwith, after taking over the village amenities, we journeyed on our way through more magnificent countryside towards the final stop, with vistas of lush hills, and distant wind turbines along the coast, making it especially distracting for the map readers, actually, probably just me, trying to follow the route directions. I think only once, did our group veer off course. That said, we all managed to pass the allocated towns of Kongwak, Almurta and Dalyston before merging onto the highway passing through Kilcunda, where the sky turned overcast again, and drops of rain began.

Phillip Island was in our sights, as we finally crossed the bridge at San Remo towards our lunch spot at The Cape Kitchen, situated right by the ocean at Newhaven.

Conditions were blustery, and the water a heaving mass of dark grey energy. Along the coast Cape Woolamai and Pyramid Rock were obscured by winds from the Bass Strait pelting the rain hard against the large window panes. We sat impervious to this as the drama unfolded outside.

Wait staff busied themselves taking drink orders from our group of thirty, who were keen to sample the menu offered for our lunch. The platters of salmon, chicken, salad and chips filled the tables and sated our appetites, we thought, until the platters of desserts arrived.

Conversation and laughter filled our corner of the restaurant, until it seemed that time had crept up on us and it became apparent that the journey home was going to take longer, the more we continued to chat. The raffle draws for the two bottles of wine capped off what was a wonderful day with promises by most to catch up again at another run in the near future.

The heavens were still pouring when everyone made a dash for their cars. So with heaters on, we left with quite a chill in the air, in fact, quite similar to how we started the day really.

9.30am on Sunday 26th Feb saw 36 eager individuals congregate at the Golden Arches in Mill Park to take part in the first mid 911 run for 2017. After coffee and a quick briefing by Ken we were off following the run notes on our way to Wallan for morning tea. The weather, blue skies and sunshine but not too hot was welcomed by those of us with the older 911’s with no aircon and meant we could all arrive without looking like we had had a shower on the way or pouring ourselves out of our seats. The route was interesting with the normal uneven rail crossings and single lane bridges to navigate around and had the added challenge of someone swapping a roundabout for traffic lights overnight or was that just a hiccup in the notes that sent half a dozen Porsches doing u turns and deviations to continue on the run?! Our stop at The Wine Hub in Wallan was excellent with coffee and fantastic cake offerings, lemon tarts and mars chocolate cake being just a couple of the best. A place I must keep in mind if passing that way again.

We left the Wine Club carefully navigating our way over the exit gutter that must have been designed to give mechanics extra business, to start part 2 of our run. Country roads with lovely views and of course another couple of bumpy rail crossings lead us to an interesting junction where the right of way was somewhat confusing. Having been pre warned of this on the well written run notes we took great caution in navigating this turn. Having passed through Wandong and Pyalong we arrived at our lunch destination of Heathcote Winery. This Winery was in the Main Street of Heathcote and was very rustic with exposed brick walls and a tranquil courtyard garden. Wine tastings were on offer, then we all sat down to a beautiful 2 course meal served with salad, just right for the temperature of the day. One new member Rohan Mayer attended the run, and the 2 bottles of wine donated by the Winery and the two supplied by the Club were won by Shelley Stepowski, Peter Day, Peter Cromie and Ken Ellaway. After this enjoyable lunch most departed to head back home around 3pm. A perfect relaxing day with fantastic weather, a hard way to spend a Sunday!

It was some months ago now on a previous club run when Ken Anson mentioned he needed someone to organize a Mid 911 register run planned for August. Since I happened to own a mid 911, perhaps he suggested it was time to take on organizing my first run. How hard could it be? So I readily agreed.

Fortunately, once reality set in and the panic started, I was also lucky enough to find myself partnered with Club Social Director, Alex Harmati, a much more experienced hand, so perhaps we could pull this off!

The weather forecast for Sunday 7th August looked good, the run had sold out and forty eager members and guests arrived at the designated meeting place, a Café in Templestowe. Time for a morning coffee, a quick briefing and we set off at 10.00am sharp to head for the Yarra Valley. A great range of cars took part including a large number of mid 911s.

The route cleared the city quickly, however on such a nice winters day we were not the only people with the idea to head to the Yarra Valley, so we encountered some traffic as we headed out through Melbourne’s north and on to Yarra Glen. After that, once through Coldstream, we moved to some quieter secondary roads where drivers could relax and enjoy the scenery.

This run was always designed to be an extended drive and it was almost 100km and close to an hour and a half later when we arrived at the morning tea location in Gembrook. The town of Gembrook is lovely and one end of the famous Puffing Billy railway line, however forty Porsche Club members arriving in quick succession put the planned stop of Spencer’s Store under a lot of pressure, luckily several other nearby Cafes were able to help out.

Just before midday the group once again hit the road, this time there was a lot less traffic for much of the route along some of the best roads in the Yarra Valley,
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with some very enjoyable and spirited driving over the next hour or so before arriving at Soumah Winery near Healesville.