Thursday, March 15, 2012


A fine evening!! An almost unheard of event that saw an excellent roll up of rally cars, mechanics, handlers and champagne girls at SSS #24 at Vaucluse last night. Such was the excitement at the thought of a dry track, cars were seen stretching, brake pads were being taped to ankles, drivers were being kissed, laces were being doubly knotted - even the Mini Mokes were seen with hoods down. And in charge of pit straight was none other than chief steward, Steve 'The Radial' Dunlop, grinning from ear to ear as he watched rally drivers begin high in the rev range, only to finish as fully flogged Ford's with nothing left in the tank.

What a night, what a course. The old Velox went ok on the downhill bits, but struggled in first as Contour Kate denied the flying finish.

This is the second SSS outing on the Watto Bay map, and in complete contrast to Bazza and Janet's 2010/11 season offering (from Parsley Bay on the harbour), we got to begin up on top close to Macquarie Lighthouse. Free running with views early, and maybe a bit of punishment on the way back was the thinking - as cars opted for the worn cross ply's and Shell X100 motor oil.

A nice arrival possie beside Old South Head Road, had punters swapping the tenners for a portrait presentation, and plenty of recently cut grass to chew on as routes were pondered, and re-pondered - and before the fateful insertion of the 'doovis' into the start unit. Sometimes the latter happening after considerable scratching of the head and twirling and re-twirling of the planning string.

So, how did it look? What had The Jaloppy devised?

First impression. The full top to toe coverage looked too hard for the sixes, even at the 1:7500 scale. Mid fives, low fives for the V8's, with many smaller engine capacity cars happy to go high threes or low fours. The hills were the key factor, and the tight corners. Fangio would be leaning to the left and to the right as he threw the Bugatti around Bazza's intestine like circuit - and working the lower gears in a fury as he did so. And, although Pork Pie doesn't have full results, the low/mid five thinking seemed to be how it turned out, with a reported 540 being seen under the chequered flag.

Let's look at the course in more detail.

There was a reasonable circle on offer along the cliff top to the Gap and back lower down with a final climb. Numbers 11 and 21 were both close to home and needed to be taken before dinner with a glass of water. Most nags obliged. There was an excellent mix to the south west (the twenty pointer #15 pulling ponies ever lower in a classic piece of SSS planning), and an extension for the formula one cars to the very north and north west (how about going the ping at #18 and then looking where the finish triangle is! Oh cruel world). There was also a cluster in the middle of the map, and this is where Steve's genius took root - particularly the cracker 'pairing' of 25 and 26. I say pairing, because they looked close together and were both 'must haves'. But getting them into a loop! Oh Boy, the puff-o-metre would be on song once again.

There were two groups of twenty's that also figured in plans, both mandatory. The southern 12,14,13 linked nicely, as did the northern 16,17,19. I also liked the excellent siting of #4 on the west of the Parsley Bay footbridge, the two tenners that split the lower road run (#10 & 2), the high up ten pointers that sucked the life from tightly timed programmes (#1 & 6). These (Frank) lowies were not pivotal in planning, but all copped a bit of beep time as punters looped and swooped amongst the bigger fish. For instance, how neat is a circuit down to 14,23, across the bridge to 4, and then across to 3 and the uphill ride via 22,5,12,21 and home (ignoring #15 and four contours of pufferooney). Another route that found favour was the circuit north from 16 - with 16,17,7 (along the old Watsons Bay tram track cutting for those that like a little 'infrastructure' history with their afternoon tea), 20 and about turn, to 19 and 27. Many worked this reasonably simple circuit into a more complex finishing pattern, with much of the complexity coming from getting the road links around #5 and 12 sorted. I have various tales of getting the links here wrong, with the road works not helping - and something about the lane way to #12 not being a straight as mapped.

One route worth a mention is that of 'The Sauce Bottle'. Ian piled on 430 in 46.5 after what looks like 7.6klms and about 150 metres of climb. Racing in Marlborough Red, our Manly star went 11,26,8,13,14,5,12 (meant to go 12,5!),22,3,23,in/out 4,10,28,27,19,17,16,25(via bottom steps),24,21 and home. Apart from going past 11 twice, this looks a tidy day at the track - with the annoying 'out of bounds' school providing the planning separation.

Open star, Mark 'Your Time Starts Now' Schaefer, worked a 590 claim (leaving off #6) by beginning 12,5,22,15, working back into the middle points, dinner at Doyles, 18,30,9,29,7 (on the tram), 17,16,25,24 and a clockwise finish via 11,1,21 in fifty one minutes, and a 530 post. The pull up from 23 via 14,13 and 8 to 26 being a notable flog that would see most of the senior field on the respirator. Around seventeen contours, but no probs for young Mark. Michael Burton managed a 'Banjo' more than the 'Pen' with a 570 outing (leaving off 18 & 6) and three minutes over the 'Time Gentlemen Please' bell (ah, how the Legends remember 6 o'clock closing). I appear to be digressing.

Many interesting routes, with lots of noise in the penalty column (unlike the virginal presentation last week, where all late sins were washed away by the downpour). The many beginnings indicate a good course, with the uphill finish providing lovers of labouring lorries plenty of good copy. Thanks Steve for a cracker.

As I mentioned, I don't have all the results, but a few that caught the eye before Doyle caught the evenings snapper, are herewith noted (in quill pen on foolscap parchment). Gill 'Fawlty Towers' fowler carding 470 in OW, James 'The Red Engine' McQuillan taking the main line for 510 (after a shunting accident left 50 cars in the siding), and Warwick 'The Penguin' Selby running like a hot poker through his SVM mates for 430 - and another win amongst the nearly retireds (or is that the retreadeds?). I have a report that our all stations guru, Glenn 'A Baker' Horrocks, missed a few fifty's hits in last night's compilation and will be now doing 'Warm Nights With Bing' as punishment. Apparently 'The King' also failed to fire although I'm not sure of the actual score.

The Jesso's 410 gives him a first timer over 'The Hair Net'. Peter carding a relatively modest 380 after going wide at the 80 metre turn (I seem to be mixing my racing modes here Jimmy!). Five seconds would have been all it took for 'The Fever' to cop a tenner, but he was perfectly coiffured on the night, coming home in 44.55 for a nice 460 MM performance. Fellow M&M's fancier, Tim Petterson, was earlier into the pits, but fell twenty short of Neil with 440 on the books - still thirty up on his royal brother Anthony 'Armstrong Jones' in the same age grouping. In the Legends, John 'Pantaloony' Anderson is sweeping all before him with a sensational 400 penciled in, and another 100 points giving pause to the stats man from Mona Vale. Senor Rosscoe from Moscow was twenty back after not watching the clock and missing the nice swallow dive via 23 and the footbridge mentioned earlier. His 380 still donks Terry Bluett (and 'The Flickster'!!) and the bonce however, alkthough it looks like another result in the light type.

Cathy 'The Speed Hump' Chalmers looks like she is well back in MW form with a nice 380, although VW star Sharon 'The Roast Dinner' Lambert's 390 is ten more, and ten years older! Well maybe not ten Cath. In other categories of women on the move, Carol Jacobson (300), Hester 'The Art School' Slade (290) and Helen Murphy (280) all had the whips out in this dash of SVW stars. Excellent and close racing, with CJ claiming, and ruing the five seconds over that could have seen her post 310 and slightly clearer air. The LW's came out firing, with 'Brian's Knee' holding the bearest of margins over 'The Cricket Bat' - 280 to 270. Last weeks winner Sue Thomson, was caught below stairs, with her 280 being eroded by old father time, and a few contours for 170. Premium fuel needed here Sue.

Gail walked for the same score, but lost much time searching for #21. This control was apparently placed on the wrong corner, and early cars went wide here - Connie notably checking the cemetery, and GB losing a good ten minutes. The later site correction disadvantaged the earlier runners, and is always a difficult decision to deal with. Should it have been left? Correspondence corner is now open.

Duncan Currie ran hot for 350 after going thirty over in Junior Men. Not sure of other juniors, although Luke 'Elaly' Petterson is noted at 320 and will be onstage with the four string shortly, while Aidan Dawson might have injured himself - his 20 minutes for 60 points being a puzzle to his galaxy of fans. Jimmy Forbes 'Street High School' and Ian Miller posted 330's in SVM with Ian's greater claim (370) not getting past the final beep musician. Shame about that Ian, black tie next time. I also note the excellent run by Ian 'The Turin Shroud' Froude. Ian's 400 after nearly going a forty niner like a Clondyke Miner, was a toppie in SVM - and not too far off the 'Sell Or Buy's' 430. Excellent cornering and use of the lower gears from the Cronulla star.

In wrapping this Watto Wonder, I also like to note Michael Free with us again, and compiling a steady 300 in VM. The 'Furniture Store' has been in the health wars of late, so great to see him out amongst his many fans - and taking a little port after dinner.

No doubt, the results will be up soon - and may be up already. More claims and counterclaims, more anxiety, more sleepless nights, as we are held in the tight grip of SSS season 21 - and the approach to the finals. Who is 'on' for the lollies? Who will win a badge for the first time? Some categories are well decided, but others (like Porkies own LM) will go all the way. A little dud feed might just be the trick!

Great event Steve, and thanks to all the Western & Hills helpers. I hope we get to do this one again next season - and why not, the fish and chips at the Watto pub are already cooked and waiting!

The next Wednesday event sees us back up the Shore to East Lindfield, where Rob Spry has taken over the setting task from Mike 'Rophone' Halmy. RS knows the area well and will no doubt be going all out to ensure we finish a little RS ourselves! Well, hope not, as this is one of the better suburban runs, and should make for a nice autumnal flogerooney. Enjoy the nice parky bits and maybe a bit of the Great Nosh Footrace track will be in play. Tempting indeed.

Bur before The Rob Roy gets to play with our minds, Ted 'The Woodpecker' Woodley and a bunch of miscreant rogainers, are enticing us to go long on this coming Sunday, and try a bit more MiniGaine Madness. The Lane Cover River and Blue Gum Creek orienteering maps are co-joined in matrimony and should make for a fun three hours. Bring a pencil and a plate. It promises to be an excellent way to anticipate a coldie.

1 comment:

Bruce S said...

Great read thanks Porky … so many variations and possibilities ;o)) …. For me in ancient LMs … Terrain gave my legs a big work out … Controls gave my tired brain a work out … and my compass kept saying Vaucluse was closer to the nearest watering hole! The Buff-O-Meter Scored big time (my surgeon will be happy) … 2 minutes THREE seconds late … mmm … I can do better (I hope). Thanks to all for a good venue … I must return to see the views ;o))

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