Motafrenz Car Club

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Event Recap: The Brett Tooke Memorial Drive

Words and Photos by Matthew Gough and Jeff Whitehead

Lest We Forget – ANZAC Day 25th April 2023 

Lest We Forgot – Our Car loving comrades that have departed their mortal coils.

While there are many Motafrenz we fondly remember the memorial drive is named for one of our least forgettable and certainly campier comrades the indomitable Brett Tooke – miss your smile and humour hun!

Enjoying the lovely weather and the company of good friends

We started our drive from Chirnside Park – meeting in the carpark and a couple of us showing off our Brett Tooke homage outfits; Thomas Reichenbach in a lovely Coral chiffon blouse, Egyptian cotton elbow length gloves and a silk scarf.  I was in a 70s inspired MooMoo and black summer hat with some poorly painted nails for full effect.

Jeff Whitehead had gone to great effort for the event with written directions to Bonnie Doon (as phone reception went to zero in many areas) and he passed these out and away we went!

The drive out of the suburbs and into the hills is quite lovely with nice rolling hills and wineries either side as we ambled up the roads through Coldstream and into Healesville. We were slightly delayed by an ANZAC parade and saw some lovely old Willys Jeeps by the side of the road that had been in the parade. 

Heading further ‘up’ from Healesville to Narbethong via the Black Spur Drive – an excellent winding road frequented by many motorbikes and sports cars – Josh Reeve was in his classic bodied Mini and was positively giddy at the idea of flying around bends and rowing the gears ascending the hills; alas it wasn’t to be, for in front of him was a big fat 87 TownCar wobbling its way around bends and with its tyres complaining at anything above 60kph, – in my defence as driver though, we were all held up by a family in a silver Camry plodding along the black spur and refusing to use the slow vehicle turnouts.

Les Fitzgerald was along with his very tidy Voyager (I’m rather partial to a van!) and almost missed us on the Black Spur as the group had pulled over for a wee, chat and some pics; he must have done a handbrake turn at speed up the road as he came back damn quick to re-join the group as we stopped for 5mins.. I got to pat a lovely 6 month old Labrador courtesy of a friendly family that had also stopped to stretch legs and pee behind stunning tall trees.

Goliath and David parked up…

Speaking of landscapes this trip showed such variety – the black spur drive is sooo spectacular with huge tall trees shading the road for many winding kilometres – I had the windows down enjoying the fresh crisp air and smells of the forest, I just loved it.  

Emerging from the Black Spur Drive we hit the smooth undulations of farms and fields between various ranges of the Sugarloaf peak and Buxton plantations in the foot of the mountains – progress increased as we made our way towards Alexandra – a cute little town of heritage buildings and with plenty of motorbike groups stretching their legs and getting lunch before turning back to make their way down the Black Spur once more.  Pushing on out of town and through more undulating hill scapes that were slowly opening up to flatter farming lands, some of our group took the opportunity to increase their average speeds a touch with the quieter sweeping roads – no dibber dobbing here *coughs E-Classe & Saab* – we were now in the home stretch with a bit of slightly more major highway before veering off again up towards Boonie Doon our lunch destination.

A Day of Celebration and Remembrance

The Boonie Doon hotel on the banks of Lake Eildon was heaving with many people in for lunch including another car group – spying some nice Club Rego cars in the carpark.

We had a pleasant surprise when waiting at the lunch table were Philip Hicks and Mat Giacomantonio – I had no idea they were coming along so it was a great surprise to see them – we were also joined by Jarrod & his pupper Scout giving me yet more opportunity to pat dogs 😊and get to know a member I had not met before.

With Lunch devoured we lazed a little while chatting cars and catching up, taking in the serenity … of a VERY loud blown V8 sport boat on the lake doing laps.

 Some of us got to have a look over Robert Larkworthys Saab 900, Jeff W’s lovely Ford Fairmont and I had a sit in Richard Hills E350 which was loooovely & Daniel Bortons new to him daily Hyundai i30 – though he was at pains to stress it was a practicality purchase. 

After lunch it was time for home – we split up as we were all going in different directions and departing at different times, some staying on for a bevvy or two, and others heading home earlier to see family and friends or feed hungry pets. Thomas R in his SB Barina and I went as far as Yea and then turned left down and up and around into Kinglake and then the throng of the Western Ring Rd; we got to enjoy some more pretty undulating hills and vistas as the sun was making its decent. We stopped at the Bushfire Memorial to read the plaque and we were hit with the memories of that horrible time, though now the bush has returned and you wouldn’t know it had all been razed to ash. Carrying on home stopping for fuel I was even pleasantly surprised at my fuel use in the old lazy V8 only coming in at 10.20L per 100km after 392km travelled through various hills and highways. 

Good to see some familiar and new faces at the Memorial Drive – till next time – Safe Driving

Matt Gough.

With the weather on our side and a wonderful bunch of members and their cars, the Brett Tooke Memorial Drive was just perfect to follow the tyre prints of those that drove with pride before us.

With RSVP list in hand, a set of instructions for all to follow the Maroondah Hwy all the way through the Black Spur, we enjoyed a good old chat at the pre-meeting place while trying to work out what the RSVP list was telling us: No contact phone numbers, striking off email apologies, (and thank you to those that did), one no-show plus duplicate and triplicate false alarms again, and plus two that were already there on holidays.

Bonnie Doone Social Gathering

Now was the time to ring the very busy hotel and reserve seat numbers for us and to confirm. Thus we were finally ready to head off up the Black Spur. Oh, and one member that popped down from Albury was actually a lovely surprise albeit with Google maps sending poor Jarrad down unsealed roads along the way.

As for ANZAC day drives, once again and out of the blue, not that we should have expected otherwise, we were in another ANZAC day traffic jam. Healesville was where it was all happening but we remained patient as we very slowly crept through town. After Healesville and climbing up the Black Spur we were then stuck all the way behind someone in a Camry who kept below 40 km/h with nowhere to overtake. Grrrr!

Anyway we got to the top safely, enjoying the ash forest views and with no one driving off over the cliff. At the top we enjoyed the fresh air and Matt G’s gorgeous outfit once again for the camera. Karla Zampatie, eat your heart out. Again the weather was just gorgeous just like Matt’s outfit.

Relaxing before departing for home..

After a wonderful and relaxing time, and being well fed in a perfect environment, we all headed off with ANZAC day dawdlers, not us, but still got to the Bonnie Doone hotel on time. It reminded me of Dr. Seuss’ Go, Dog Go! Tree party with kids climbing trees, the weir up to the edge of the Bonnie Doone hotel property with dogs galore running and swimming, and everybody having a wonderful time. The Hotel was busy but the food was quick, and the serves were tasty and generous as we all dined outdoors in perfect weather.

After gorging on gorgeous food, we then spent time relaxing and chatting in a pergola looking over the water before we left for a speedy trip back home on route B300 ANZAC day dawdlers permitting.

Jeff Whitehead

Motafrenz Webmaster

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