32nd TSOA National Meeting 2011

Well another National Meeting has occurred and from all reports everyone enjoyed the variety and organizing capabilities of the small but very enthusiastic members of the TSOA SA who planned and implemented the event.

This year’s event was over a total of some 9 days if you wished to go and be involved in all parts of the National Meeting. The first 5 days from Saturday October 15 until Wednesday October 19 saw the group of 120 delegates from six states and the ACT based in Mount Gambier in the South Eastern part of South Australia, not far from the Victorian border.

Then the delegates drove back towards Adelaide and were all booked in at the McCracken Country Club Resort, a top grade complex set in its own golf course in the seaside town of Victor Harbor for Thursday October 20 and Friday 21 October 2011.

There was also a further two days on Kangaroo Island available as a wind down from this weekend and a bit more of the friendship, great driving roads and fine food.

The South Australian TSOA National Meeting Committee certainly had us all going each day, there was plenty of driving trips and lots of food! To this end there was an early morning walking group offering which commenced at 06.15. This was referred to as; “An Amble with Alex” I hope that those who went on this event had a good time!

As is always arranged the first day involved getting settled into your accommodation after Registration. Here we got our goody bag and lots and lots of maps and brochures. Then in the evening we had Happy Hour and dinner at the Motel – Silver Birch. There were two Motels beside each other on one of the major through roads in Mount Gambier and our group was spread between both of them.

Most of the members spent a considerable amount of time getting ready for the Sunday when we assembled for the Pride of Ownership display on the lawn beside the Lady Nelson Information Centre.(The Lady Nelson was a two master cutter used extensively in navigating along the Australian coastlines back in the early years of the 19th century under the control of Capt James Grant & Mathew Flinders – It was used in the discovery of Tasmania and a replica ship is now based in Hobart)

Those who wanted to entered the judged section while everyone else lined up along on the grass verge.

While the judging was taking place we were given free access to the Mt Gambier Interpretive Centre Museum which traced the history of the area.

After the Pride of Ownership there were two options, one option was to go on a river cruise on the Glenelg River some 60 Kms from Mount Gambier; the other option was to have a go at the fully organized Motorkhana under the full CAMS rules.  By that evening after another great meal we fell into bed.

The next day, day 3, was a competitive Navigation  & Observation Run in a huge sweep to Port Macdonnell, (the locals call this “portmac”) where most enjoyed their lobster lunch.

The 3 & half hour run of some 215 Kms (131.6Miles) took us through the townships of Casterton (Birthplace of the Kelpie), Heywood , Merino, Digby, Dartmoor then along the wild coastline on our way to Port Macdonnell – the Southern Lobster region of S.Aust.  A well organized BBQ meal was had by all that evening put on by the Mount Gambier Vintage & Veteran Car Club.

Day 4 was another totally different organized event which gave us the opportunity to view the World Heritage listed park containing the Wonambi Fossil Centre and the Naracoorte Caves. The drives took us through some of the finest Terra-Rossa soils area around the South East known generally as the  Coonawarra  well respected for its Red Wine growing. Also we stopped in Penola which is one of the towns with the rich history associated with Saint Mary MacKillop.

Then back to Mount Gambier for another wonderful evening commencing with a very noisy Happy Hour and then a sit down meal at our Motel.  Lots to talk about from today with some of our friends at our table.

Day 5 was check out from the Motels and after breakfast pack the cars and head out of Mount Gambier on our 450 Kms drive to Victor Harbor, the day was quite hot and sunny so it was fortunate that we got away pretty early.  This trip took us across country and then through the Coorong which is starting to become habitable by the wildlife which had avoided it during the severe droughts experienced in previous years.

We turned off this road and took the ferry across the Murray River at Wellington and passed through another special wine growing region called Langhorne Creek and on to the edge of the very historic town of Strathalbyn, here we turned left and headed for Goolwa and then into Victor Harbor to our next place of short residence, McCracken Country Club Resort. Again we had another wonderful evening this time experiencing the happy hour and a chance to talk about the day with new friends at our table from other states.

Unfortunately again I missed the Amble with Alex next day, Day 6.

On the itinerary today was a trip on a steam train to Goolwa and then a Hillclimb at Mt Alma which is only 36 Kms from Victor Harbor.

The hillclimb was organized by a local CAMS approved oganisation accredited to run speed events specially for our group and was most suited to the more highly-powered Triumphs.

We were given a practice run to start with, and this was in dry conditions but the rain then started and all the other runs were in the wet.

The course was an extremely steep asphalt road of  just under 3Kms which ended very soon after the finish line by then becoming a dirt road;  so as you came over the finish line it was necessary to brake hard’

Each of the 3 groups had their turn and waited at the top on the side of the dirt road for the last in their group to come up the hill.  Once the last car in their group had completed his or her run then we all returned back down the hill. The last group had the pleasure of waiting to hear the awesome sound of Ian Wilson in the Yellow TR 8 come up the hill, followed by a wonderful sounding Series 1 XJ6 Jaguar which was not very standard!

In all we had 4 runs and then all packed up and headed back to Victor for the traditional drinks and Dinner, this time at the Hotel Victor in the heart of this pleasant seaside village, once’ in the very early days of the State of S.Aust a whaleing industry was all that happened here. Now a much liked tourist destination.

On the last day, day 7, we had a slightly later start of 09.00 on our next drive through to, yes you guessed it another well known wine district; known as the Southern Vales with McLaren Vale as its central  township. This run was a brunch run to a delightful setting with a feature lake complete with ducks and geese, called McLarens on the Lake. Again far too much lovely food awaited us.

After this we were given the afternoon off to do as we pleased with most doing a leisurely meander back to our accommodation, to get ready for the final dinner, the Presentation dinner at The  McCracken Country Club Resort.

This was another memorable evening with the traditional “Triumph Nationals Theme Song” commencing the evenings offering, followed by the National Meeting Awards presentations, then there was dancing to finish off the night, mainly for all those who still had energy!

And so another Triumph National Meeting came to a close the next morning with those who did not choose to go to Kangaroo Island, packing their cars for return journeys to their homes wherever that was, to now consider if they intend backing up in 2012 to meet in the central Goldfields of Victoria to again meet up with some of the Triumph friends made while in South Australia.

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