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Drive to Binalong

Porsche Day Out - Drive To Binalong - Sunday 6th June '99

blong01.jpg (50046 bytes)I used to race sports cars when I was younger, much, much younger. To do that, I belonged, over time, to a couple of car clubs. These were the Triumph Sports Owners Association and the Sprite Car Club. This was, for fairly obvious reasons, because I owned a couple of Triumphs; a TR4 with electric overdrive and a Targa top, and a GT6, as well as a Sprite MK2 and an MG Midget, which was really a Sprite in disguise.

All wonderful fun, lots of noise and a few trips to the vineyards of the Hunter Valley! Pity about the very first car, which was the MK2 Sprite….paint held together by rust, or was it the other way round? After the TR4, I had a Datsun 2000 Sports, the precursor to the 240Z. It was a road registrable (only just!) full race car, very much modified and was damned fast. I eventually sold it after I blew the engine in a race, at Calder, in Melbourne, and because I was going to get married and needed to get out of racing, or so I was told!

So, ever since those halcyon days of freedom, I have wanted to get back into a car that has one purpose in life and that is to be enjoyed! I have had the opportunity to have some pretty good cars over the last few years, amongst them a couple of old Alfas, three new Mercs, a second hand Saab 900 Turbo and an 850 T5 Turbo Volvo.

But, I have always lusted after a Porsche 928! I think it looks, and is, stunning. I never thought I could afford one until the opportunity arose about 18mths ago and I took it, buying a 1989 928S4 in superb condition. Now all I had to do was join a car club all over again! It was obvious that it had to be the Porsche Club, Canberra.

My kids, who are now teenagers, think I’m mad and that I’m having a mid-life crisis. I keep telling them it is just me being me all over again, now that we are a little more stable and I can actually afford, almost, to have this indulgence. My wife, Wendy, also thinks I’m mad, or more precisely, somewhat eccentric….or perhaps, may have stopped taking the medication! Whatever the reason, I’m having a ball! The car is fantastic and I actually enjoy driving again.

Wendy would also admit that the first trip we went on
with 6 other lunatic 928 owners on the 1st NSW Frenzy,
to Berrima, was actually very enjoyable indeed.

So it was with very little reluctance on her part and a great deal of anticipation on mine that we decided to join some other members of the Club on a day out to Binalong.

When I first rang up Alan to say that we would go, I had no idea where Binalong was, so thought this was going to be quite exciting. The day came round and the weather looked pretty ordinary. Hey, I didn’t care, this was going to be good anyway.

We live in Aranda and were going to meet everyone in Hall. Not far. On the way through Belconnen, I spotted a 944 and thought, "I bet that’s someone from the Club". Sure enough it was Eugene. I had met him just before, at my first club meeting. He had only just bought the 944 a few days before. We went together to Hall and pulled up with a couple of other Porsches to wait for the others, all standing around, of course, talking about our cars. How unusual!

Eventually after gathering about seven cars, those that lined up were…Leo and Lisl Hungsberg, Eric & Heidi Davis, Paul & Robin Markowski, Allan Armistead & Dell Landos, David & Joanne Brudenall, David Whitehead, Eugene Petrie, David and Glenys Harris and, of course, my wife Wendy and I.

I had been looking forward to seeing Graham Jones from Scuderia Veloce in a brand new 996 C4, but it looked like he couldn’t make it, something to do with having to work, what a shame! We had been advised prior to setting off, that part of the road near Binalong was dirt and was being worked on. As a result, we all agreed to follow a different route, which was a little longer. Hey! What did I care? There would be more driving and I didn’t know the normal route anyway! What a great feeling, a whole line of Porsches following each other! It was great seeing the reactions from the passengers in other cars. As we drove, the weather became gloomier, eventually starting to rain. Good thing some of the guys dressed their cars before leaving the parking lot, putting on their automobile lingerie, (car bras to you).

There was a Golf accompanying us and at one point I noticed that he had disappeared. When we eventually made it to the car museum at Binalong, he was already there. It transpired that he had gone down the dirt road instead of the long way with us. Apparently the dirt road was not bad at all and was only a very short section. We decided that we would probably try that on the way back, particularly as the long way was about 20kms longer and the weather was now starting to get really foul.

We all wandered through the museum. It was great! Just small, but with some really interesting pieces, including a huge thing called, I think, the Binalong Rocket or similar. It had been put together by the owner on a Jag chassis and looked like a 30s race car, although it was virtually new. It was registered as a Vintage!! What a fiddle! For Bike riders there was a fantastic racing Norton, (a Black Shadow?) but no Porsches! There was a Ferrari, but everyone knows that doesn’t count! Regrettably, I can’t remember exactly what all the other cars were, but then I didn’t know I was going to be asked to write this, did I? For those that haven’t been and like old and interesting cars, you really should take the opportunity. It’s only a short drive, a nice day out, when it doesn’t rain, and well worth it.

After the Museum a few of us, led by Alan, decided to go and visit the glass blower, except, Alan, he’s not there anymore is he? So, it was an interesting sight, half a dozen Porsches of various types and colours, including the bright orange RS of Leo Hungsberg, all driving round the town in different directions. Eventually we all gave up and decided to go on to the restaurant (Wendy: "Very sensible"). When we got there, we found that Eugene had to go home, so our numbers reduced somewhat. That was no problem to our hosts Kevin and Marita, who were wonderful, as were the food and the surroundings. The ‘Black Swan’ is a restaurant I would definitely go back to, although I understand that our hosts were contemplating selling after being there, what, 14 years?

While we sat in there enjoying the food, a small amount of wine for the drivers, a bit more for the passengers and the great company, it poured down outside. We didn't care. Eventually, stuffed, it was time to go home, which we all did, I guess, pretty much individually. We set off and went down the dirt road section, which was only about 500 metres long and in very good condition, no problem and about 20kms shorter! It rained all the way home, of course, which meant that we had to drive a little more sedately, but still found that the car was filthy when we finally pulled up at home after a wonderful day.

We will definitely be starters for another ‘Porsche Day Out’. - David Hammond, '89 928S4 928OC Charter Member.