Ferrari Club Australia

Ferrari Club Australia
Ferrari Club Australia

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Time to celebrate

2015 has been an amazing year for FCA NSW and to cap it all off we have just successfully hosted our Christmas Party.

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We were lucky enough to hold it at Ferrari Maserati Sydney in Waterloo, in their wonderful showrooms.

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The event was made that extra bit special with the unveiling of the new 488 Spider. Without doubt, this was the centre of attention once the covers came off.

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Over 150 members attended on the night and saw the awarding of concourse and track trophies as well as raffle winners of some amazing prizes thanks to our sponsors.

Members were entertained by both a string quartet as well as the more modern tunes from the DJ in residence, which resulted in much dancing later in the evening.

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Combining the food, the venue and the company together it would be hard to find a better way to bring the year to an end for the Club. Everyone who attended was in agreement that this was the biggest and best Christmas bash that the Club has had.

We take this opportunity to thank all those who have volunteered so much of their time to run events this year. From drive days, to track nights to restaurant nights, there really has been something for everyone. But we are not resting on our laurels, we have some really big plans for 2016 and we’re sure members are going to experience another huge year of events and coming together to share everything that is Ferrari.

To you and yours, from the Ferrari Club of NSW, stay safe, enjoy the holidays and the company of loved one. Of course, you can ask Santa for a new 488 Spider but unless you’ve already put in your order, you’ll probably have to wait until Christmas 2016 to take delivery!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

We’re winding down

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It’s been a big year for the Club but we have a few events before we kick off 2016. The most recent was another gather at Le Montage at Lilyfield followed by a drive to The Pines Golf Course for lunch at Peats Ridge.

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Ferraris were once again well represented when we kicked off the day at Le Montage.

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With the California T proving a very popular choice to bring to the event.

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After gathering up the intimate group of lunch goers mid-morning we headed north to Peats Ridge for our lunch stop.

Here, everyone enjoyed a casual lunch in a fantastic location which capped off another great Club event.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

O what a night

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Photo courtesy of Lachlan Wright

One of highlights of being a member of the Club is getting the opportunity to participate in our regular track days events. Our recent November track day was a little bit special and little bit different because it was going to be a twilight session.

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This meant that started in the hot November sun in the late afternoon with the normal scrutineering, paperwork and drivers briefing.

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Photo courtesy of Lachlan Wright

Once the track had been cleared of the previous participants the horses were set free and the howl of Italian engines filled Sydney Motorsport Park.

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Photo courtesy of Lachlan Wright

The way track days work is that the drivers are divided up into groups, usually based on their experience, and then given a set time period on the track. The Club had also arranged for instructors from MotorKinetic to be on hand to assist drivers.

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Photo courtesy of Lachlan Wright

In many cases this meant that a driver could opt to have a skilled racing driver sit next to them and coach them around the track and help them get the most from the session. Where else are you going to get that opportunity? Just another bonus for members attending the track day.

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Photo courtesy of Lachlan Wright

Another special bonus on the night was the presence of a Ferrari 458 GT3 race car and for one lucky winner of our prize draw, a flying lap as passenger in the car driven at speed by one of the guys from MotorKinetic.

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Photo courtesy of Lachlan Wright

These events are more than just belting around a track as fast as you feel comfortable, they also about coming together with other owners to share your passion about Ferrari. There is always good food and conversation in mix with a lot of fun away from the confines of normal roads. In short, if you haven’t been to a track day, then you should!

With the light fading and the cars completing their final laps we put a lid on another very successful FCA NSW track day. Huge kudos go out to the everyone who worked so hard to make this such an enjoyable event as well as all those that attended. We can’t wait for the next one and hope to see more members attend and really enjoy what their car can do.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Rain, rain go away

Had been the catch cry all week with Sydney experiencing an over abundance of precipitation. Although the skies remained overcast the roads remained dry and our drive day for November was enjoyed by all.

The day was combined with the Club’s national AGM at La Trattoria La Vigna in Camden. However, we started out at the Armory Wharf Cafe, Newington. From there we headed west along the M4 turning off at Mulgoa for the first stop at the Peppercorn Cafe, Mulgoa.

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Once fully caffeinated our fleet of cars headed south towards Picton with some electing to take the more direct route to Camden.

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The car park at La Trattoria La Vigna in Camden was soon over run with a stable of Ferraris drawing huge interest from passers-by. In the meantime member adjourned to enjoy an Italian banquet lunch and efficient national AGM all washed down with more coffee.

We thank the weather for keeping us and our cars dry. We also thank everyone fro turning out and making it such an enjoyable day. This is what the Club is all about, good company, great cars, interesting conversations intermixed with good coffee. Who could ask for more?

Monday, 19 October 2015

On the Ferry

Imagine 8 Ferraris on a ferry on the Hawkesbury! This was something very different, and a step back in time.

The 8 Ferraris covered many eras: 458 Speciale, 458, California, 430, 360, 365 Boxer and 330. A concourse display on a ferry?

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The Monday started with breakfast at historic Windsor. First stop was Wisemans Ferry, where all cars were loaded onto the cable ferry for a quick trip across the 366 metre wide river. On the other side there was no civilisation for miles.

In 1827, 188 years ago, a ferry crossing was established over the Hawkesbury River to provide logistical assistance for the Great North Road being laid to Newcastle. Today, the ferries still operate regularly and provide a free service for pedestrians and drivers. That makes Wisemans Ferry the oldest continuously running service in NSW (and possibly in Australia). It feels like you're taking a step back in time during the crossing, and when you reach the other side.

We followed the winding road along the Hawkesbury River for about 1 hour with continually amazing waterviews, some lush countryside, and with the thrilling echo of the Ferraris exhausts.

At Peats Ridge we regrouped, headed south to Calga & Brooklyn, along the Old Pacific Highway to the Pie in the Sky for lunch.

This was a very scenic drive, coupled with brilliant weather, and no traffic.

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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Trip Report - Pebble Beach & Monterey Car Week - August 2015

Introduction

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Mid August about 60 people with the Ferrari Club of Australia & NZ & Qld joined car collectors, connoisseurs and enthusiasts from around the globe at the picturesque Monterey Peninsula, California, for the world's best car show week. This year, and once every decade, Ferrari was the feature marque for Monterey Car Week.

It was amazing to attend a variety of different events over one week. There were 4 golf courses that held different events, as well as the Jet Center, and other interesting venues. Most people attended the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance event, while others attended some or all of the events below. Some stayed on for a further few days for the Ferrari Club of America Meet.

Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on The Avenue (Tuesday)

The week began with this appetizer, various marques 1940 to 1973, and Ferraris (the featured marque) through to 1989, on display with associated festivities. Late in day, classics arrived in town from the 1,500 mile trip from Kirkland, Washington for the Pebble Beach Motoring Classic.

McCall's Motorwork Revival (Wednesday evening)

This kick-off was an "intimate" evening with 3,000 people at Gordon McCall’s 25th red carpet gala party (aka. luxury lifestyle bash) with gourmet food and wines at the Monterey Jet Center. Surrounded by beautiful old cars, the latest exotic cars, helicopters, and private jets, together with their proud owners who readily spoke to anyone present. You could dream of living life in the fast lane, while the sun went down on a beautiful Californian summer evening. Price was US$350 a ticket and a lot went to charity.

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Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance (Thursday morning)

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" Easy to do on a modern car, but for a very old car there's a long procedure of about 15 items to go through. Arriving at 6am at the Equestrian Center, many watched the old cars being unloaded from semi-trailer car transporters. The cars were then started (no easy feat), and were driven (also not that easy for some) into position. There was close up access to each car, walking around it, studying it's marvels from yesteryears and conversing with owners.

By 7am all the cars were in position and many watched the spectacle start of the "17-Mile Drive", the original Pebble Beach motoring racing circuit, through nearby hills and valleys. Many streets were closed so that these cars had right of way, especially since many cars could not stop quickly given front brakes were absent in old cars. Thousands of people on route viewed these cars in action.

The cars did a lap at the Laguna Seca Raceway Track, and stopped in Carmel-by-the-Sea for a midday display. Historic cars that complete the drive received extra points that helped if 2 cars tied at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance static display competition on the Sunday.

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RetroAuto at The Inn at Spanish Bay (Thursday midday)

This 3 day display in the ballrooms of The Inn at Spanish Bay, showcased rare collectables, historic automobilia, motoring art and literature, luxury items and technological tools all for sale. Parked outside were several historic cars, and a dozen new exotic cars, including several LaFerraris. The hotel was a wonderful place for a group lunch with the Ferrari Club, looking out over the ocean.

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (Thursday afternoon)

Many made a number of trips to the nearby Laguna Seca Raceway Track over the week. The track featured approximately 550 legendary pre- and postwar race and sports cars that represented the pinnacle of their classes. Fun to walk the pits and see all these race cars, and then watch them on the track, especially down the reknown "corkscrew" (more below).

Baja Cantinas Gilmore Filing Station (Thursday night)

In the middle of almost nowhere (but near the Quail Lodge) is an old petrol filling station that is now a bar and Mexican style canteen. Every Thursday night, hot rods, exotics, muscle cars and others, come, display, and go, like ships in the night. Imagine "Cars & Coffee" but with jazz music, Mexican food indoors, BBQ outdoors, lots of people drinking, eating, and watching in the twilight atmosphere. The place was really buzzing!

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Bonhams Auctions (Thursday)

At the Quail Lodge, the 17th annual Bonhams Auction was one of the first auctions of the week. Like other auctions, it was held over several nights. It featured many exclusive collector cars, with prices to match. For those that love car auctions, this was the start of 4 nights of auctions at various venues in Monterey.

The Quail - A Motorsports Gathering (Friday)

Imagine a day at the horse races in Australia, well dressed people, gourmet food, champagne, wine, picnic style settings with sun umbrellas, tents, outdoor tables and chairs, but instead of horses just horsepower and historic and exotic cars, situated on the golf course greens at the Quail Lodge. About 4,000 people attended this 13th Quail Gathering. It was like no other car show. It was prestigious, fun, exclusive, entertaining, like a picnic party, yet also peaceful. US$600 a ticket and a lot went to charity.

Russo & Steele Auctions (Friday night)

Near Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, this was one of the lower end auctions in terms of prices. More like what we are used to in Australia. Still there were many nice cars and it was very entertaining. Several large car parks were fenced off for the pre auction display, and a huge marque constructed for the bidding area.

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Concorso Italiano (Saturday)

About 1,000 Italian cars were on display for the 30th annual Concorso Italiano on the greens of the Black Horse Golf Course in Seaside. A stunning, colourful spectrum of such beautiful cars with the backdrop of the lush manicured green fairways. Many Ferraris of all eras, and other Italian car brands old and new, as well as merchandise, art, entertainment, food, fashion, and friendly people.

RM Sotheby's Auctions (Saturday night)

Downtown Monterey, RM Sotheby's Auctions took over the Portola Hotel, and fenced of much of the small side streets to display their cars being auctioned. For 3 nights this very formal international auction featured magnificent blue chip "best of category" cars. The highly sophisticated, suave, auctioneer spoke at least 3 languages, and would frequently switch from English to French to Italian and back to English during the bidding depending on the nationality of the current bidder, some of whom were from Europe or Middle East and others who had phone bids. The auctioneer seemed to know who had deep pockets vs the tyre kickers!

Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance (Sunday)

At last the highlight of the week, although for many of us everything else so far was a highlight too. Once again many arrived at 6am to watch cars being driven into their display positions, this time on the Pebble Beach foreshore. Spectators gawked at 200 of the most prized collector historic cars on the greens of Pebble Beach Golf Course with the backdrop of the ocean. These cars were the best of the best, and nicely represented cars made from all over the world (versus an American focus).

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It’s all about elegance as automobiles are judged for historical accuracy, technical merit and style. Ferrari was featured this year as the key marque. People dressed very well for the occasion, with smiles all day long. Such a friendly atmosphere where you could easily talk with other spectators and owners. US$300 a ticket and more than US$1 million went to charity.

Goodings Auctions (Sunday night)

The last auction to conclude the week, and one of the best, was the 25th Goodings Auction held at Pebble Beach Equestrian Center, the place where the Tour d'Elegance commenced on Thursday early morning. Once again the bar was set for the collector car market worldwide.

Ferrari Club America - Cocktail Evening (Sunday night)

The kick-off to the 3 day Ferrari meet. The cocktail evening was held in a Mercato, vendor merchandise exhibition area, in the Hyatt Regency Ballroom. Food and wine and a chance to meet friendly people from all over North America.

Ferrari Club America - Concours (Monday)

An impressive display of about 300 Ferraris from all over North America on the golf course of Nicklaus Club. Present was the whole range of GT road cars, from old to new, with lots of interesting colours and options.

Frank Cavasinni, Ferrari Club of Australia Concours Judge, joined many USA based judges to help, and by the end of the day had impressed USA judges so much that he was judging the best of the best.

Ferrari Club America - Laguna Seca Raceway Track (Tuesday & Wednesday)

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Laguna Seca is an amazing track, with a long fairly steep hill, and then suddenly at the crest of a hill the track drops the height of a 5 storey building over the course of numerous twisting corners. They call this the "corkscrew", fun to watch, and exhilarating to drive. Old and new Ferraris drove together around the track, which made a great sight and sound. Separate to the track activity were car control clinics on a dry skid pan.

The pits were filled with hundreds of Ferraris of every vintage with their friendly, caring, proud owners.

Each day there was a group lunch at the track, in a specially built outdoor marque, and Tuesday night was a BBQ dinner at the track with the friendly Americans.

Ferrari Club America - Pleasure Drive and Competitive Rally Drive (Tuesday & Wednesday)

Tuesday's Competitive Rally Drive on the roads was not about speed, but finding way points and items of interest. Wednesday's Pleasure Drive, had 2 routes, one via the countryside farming land, and the other through the coast following the "17 Mile Drive" and entry into the exclusive gated Pebble Beach estate. Many Ferraris partook in these leisurely scenic drives.

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Dining out

When not at the events, it was either eating or sleeping. Our group enjoyed some great Monterey restaurants including: The Inn at Spanish Bay, Montrio Bristo, Domenico's and Old Fisherman's Grotto at Fisherman's Wharf.

Visits to Los Angeles & San Francisco car museums

Some of us flew via LA, others via San Francisco, and enjoyed some great automobile museums.

Those visiting San Francisco enjoyed the Central District and Fisherman's Wharf, and a visit to the excellent BlackHawk Automotive Museum 1 hour drive east.

In Pomona, 1 hour drive west of LA, is the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Motorsports Museum founded by Wally Parks. It features a very impressive array of vintage and historic racing vehicles, including hot rods, customs, dragsters, race cars and speed record cars, and highlights the evolution of the USA West Coast's motorsports history. Wally Parks established drag racing as a motorsport in the late 1940's, which he bought to Australia in 1966. Definitely worth the visit.

Nearby is the The Pomona Swap Meet, the biggest swap meet in the world. If you walk every display isle it's 24 km of car parts, accessories, automobilia, and a classic car show. It's held monthly on a Sunday and 30,000 revheads and enthusiasts attend. Whilst no Ferrari parts, there were a number of cheap books and automobilia.

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Mullin & Peterson Automotive Museums

Have you done a 4 hour private tour of a car museum, only to want more? Well the privately owned Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, 1 hour drive north of LA, is decorated like a Paris salon and is one of the most spectacular car museums in the world. The story goes that Peter Mullin fell in love with an old Bugatti that was being filmed at his mansion, so subsequently has built a private collection of 265 French cars, mostly from the art deco era of the 1920's and 1930's. The museum also featured US$300 million of art and furniture. All the cars on display were "110%" concours condition, and left us breathless and speechless. They are so perfect the photos make them look like models, but they are very real and they can all be driven. This museum is a must see but only open once a week!

Unfortunately the Peterson Automotive Museum (the chairman is also Peter Mullin), near Beverly Hills, was closed until December 2015 for a massive revamp. Time precluded a visit to the outstanding Nethercutt Museum. But we did visit The Getty Villa, which together with The Getty Museum, are fabulous for art and architecture lovers, and highly recommended.

Some of the cars from these museums were shipped to Monterey for display at the Concours and events.

Summary

Wow, what a trip. Multiple times every day we would be saying "wow" to ourselves and others .... so many beautiful cars from all over the world, in such outstanding condition.

Next year Monterey Car Week will be on Tuesday 16th to Sunday 21st August 2016 and there will be many Ferraris to see. It's best to arrive in Monterey Tuesday and leave the following Monday morning. You can hire a Ferrari or convertible red Mustang from Hertz and drive the amazing Pacific Coast Highway between LA, Monterey, and San Francisco. Visiting the museums in LA is highly recommended and contact Simon Maxwell for details on these. Planning the trip at 4 - 6 months ahead is recommended.

2015 Auction Highlights at Monterey for Ferraris:

Bonhams Auction Highlights:
1985 Ferrari 288 GTO US$2,365,000
1959 Ferrari 250 GT Competizione Alloy Berlinetta US$8,525,000
1971 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider US$2,640,000
1951 Ferrari 212 Inter Cabriolet US$2,200,000
1990 Ferrari F40 US$1,237,500

Goodings Auction Highlights:
1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Speciale US$16,500,000
1992 Ferrari F40 US$1,375,000
1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast US$3,025,000
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 US$3,877,500
1966 Ferrari 206 S Dino Spider US$2,310,000
1965 Ferrari 250 GTS US$1,925,000
1965 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider US$16,830,000
1957 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Series II Coupe US$5,087,000
1998 Ferrari 333 SP US$2,090,000
1961 Ferrari 250 GT Series II Cabriolet US$1,842,500

RM Sotheby's Auction Highlights:
1964 Ferrari 250 LM US$17,600,000
2005 Ferrari Enzo US$6,050,000
1995 Ferrari F50 US$1,980,000
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione Tour de France US$13,200,000
1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider US$8,500,000
1950 Ferrari 275S/340 America Barchetta US$7,975,000
1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Alloy US$3,960,000
1994 Ferrari F40 LM $3,300,000
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 US$3,300,000
1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider US$2,750,000
1985 Ferrari 288 GTO US$2,420,000
1995 Ferrari F50 US$1,980,000
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Couple Boano Prototype US$1,485,000
1959 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II Prototype US$1,320,000

Sunday, 11 October 2015

To the Hydro

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The initial meeting point, the Armory Wharf Cafe, is a nice destination itself. The day began with coffee, and meeting old and new faces, in this open air cafe on Sydney Harbour at Newington / Sydney Olympic Park.

About 25 Ferraris started the run. Several splintered off half way due to midday commitments, whilst others joined at Richmond.

Our drive to the Hydro Majestic Hotel was deliberately the long way, via North Richmond, along Bells Line of Road, Darling Causeway, and through Mt Victoria.

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At the Hydro we enjoyed brunch at The Boiler House Cafe, positioned on the edge of a sheer cliff, with magnificent aerial like views overlooking Megalong Valley. That day the only thing between our glass windows and the cliff were snakes and their trainer with his small show.

After brunch it was time to explore the rest of the hotel which spans over a kilometre atop this breathtaking escarpment in Australia’s World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park.

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The famously historic Hydro Majestic opened in 1904 and over recent decades fell into disrepair. It was reopened in October 2014 after a 6 year $30 million rennovation. Today it's absolutely impressive, with lots of floor-to-ceiling windows, and the main white building with its beguiling blend of Victoria, Edwardian and Belle Epoch design, and heritage preservation of much of it's original features internally and externally.

Overall a great early morning Sunday drive, and a fascinating destination.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

September Drive Day

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Our starting point were the old toll gates at Cowan where we met in the brilliant spring sunshine.

From there it was trip either along the twist Pacific Highway or the more direct M1 north to the shores of Lake Macquarie.

Our final destination was the Lakehouse Cafe at Murray Beach which is always a very popular spot with members as was evidenced once again but the large turn out (although the brilliant weather may also have had something to do with it).

After a leisurely brunch members took their time and own directions away to enjoy the rest of their spring Sunday.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

August sunshine

We were back at Le Montage in Lilyfield for this month’s Supercar d’Elegance. This a chance for everyone, owners and admirers alike, to come and admire an array of supercars.

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The car park is not only full of Ferrari’s but many Lamborghini’s, Aston’s, and Maserati’s just to name but a few marques that regularly attend.

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It is always pleasing to see so many Ferrari’s and members attending the event. Prancing horse machines always take pride of place in front of the crowds. It is a great opportunity to park the car, kick back with some breakfast, coffee and catch up with other owners and enthusiasts, sharing the passion for everything petrol powered.

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Although not an ‘official’ club event it is a always well supported by members and we encourage anyone who hasn’t yet attended to set aside the third Sunday of next month to come on down and join us. There’s no better way to spend a Sunday morning. See you next month.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Tops to Valley

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Our August drive day started early at the initial meeting point in the south of Sydney, just past the airport. Even though there was still a winter bite in the air, over a dozen cars joined us for a full day of driving.

We headed south out of Sydney along the coast and through the Royal National Park along one of our favourite runs, taking in the view from Stanwell Tops, scenery of the Sea Cliff bridges and the hill climbing of Bulli Pass.

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Our first stop, for morning tea, was at Sublime Point lookout on Bulli Tops overlooking the Pacific Ocean. With beautiful clear weather, we could gaze as far as the eye could see while we sipped our morning caffeine.

From there we continues south again past Kiama and into Gerringong.

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Lunch was partaken at Werri Beach Fish shop overlooking the ocean in a quiet part of town. Traditional fish and chips was enjoyed by all with the sounds of the waves completing the backdrop.

With a belly full of seafood we headed further south towards Nowra but then changed direction north through Kangaroo Valley. The scenery was magnificent, the weather was brilliant and the driving was exhilarating.

We finished our day enjoying a final coffee of the day at a cafe in Mittagong where a small group of tired but very happy club members reminisced about a magic day out in the winter’s sunshine. It would have been a pity to miss such an opportunity and everyone was thankful for another great club run.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Ocean to the Hills

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To celebrate Horse’s Birthday we had a short drive from Mona Vale Beach to Rosie’s cafe at Galston.

Members gathers at Mona Vale Beach to enjoy the ocean views and the sunshine on this warm winter’s day. We also availed ourselves of coffee and refreshments from the Bronze Cafe close by.

From there we headed off up Mona Vale Road and down through the twists and of the Comenarra Parkway through Turramurra.

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The final destination was Rosie’s cafe at Galston where the car park became a sea of red before everyone sat down to enjoy a great meal.

Today was a shorter trip that normal but everyone who attended enjoyed experiencing a different part of Sydney, which is one of the hidden benefits of being a member of the Club.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Oh what a night

The 29th of July was the Australasian preview of the new Ferrari 488 GTB. Press events had been conducted during the morning but the evening was turned over to invited guest to experience the latest from Ferrari.

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The even was held at the Inglis Newmarket Stables at Randwick. Upon arrival guest were greeted with a magnificent display of ‘historic’ Ferrari’s that preceded the 488GTB. The event was given extra impact with the inclusion of real 1HP equines trotting around the displays with attendants resplendent in formal dressage attire.

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Proceeding through the grounds continued the showcase of previous versions including the 458, 430, 360 and 355, most owned by FCA members who kindly displayed them for the event.

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Once inside the stable guests where greeted with a variety of displays, food, wine and more celebrating everything Ferrari.

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The atmosphere began to build as the 488’s entrance neared. People crowded to the front to see the images and hear the sounds projected on the big screen.

After a short introduction from Herbert Appelroth, CEO of Ferrari Australiasia, everyone held their breath as the new 488 GTB made its entrance into the room.

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The crowd then flooded in and around the car. They took the opportunity to examine the latest work from Maranello up close. They took turns getting behind the wheel to get a first hand taste of the car from the pilots seat of this rocket ship.

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The true enthusiasts stayed almost to midnight, not wanting to leave. The rumour was that the last one to leave got to park the car but alas, unfortunately, that turned out to be nothing more than a rumour.

An amazing night. Well done Ferrari, the venue, set up, atmosphere was perfect. What a fine way to welcome the new 488 GTB to Australia. We look forward to seeing one out on a club run in 2016.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A change of season

Our annual Christmas in July was full of surprises this year. Prior to the weekend a record breaking low swept across the region taking temperatures below freezing. The weekend prior had seen very deep snow in the regions around our planned destination.

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It was not surprising that we found the Bells Line of Road closed early Saturday morning due to black ice. Most cars managed to proceed past the road blocks and meet at the designed starting location, Pie in the Sky at Bilpin.

After enjoying a hot beverage and some spectacular pies we noticed the traffic along the Bell Line of road had increased which seemed to indicate that any black ice had burnt off. Alas, as it turned out, a few short kilometers further along the road was once again close, this time due to an over turned truck.

We therefore regrouped back at Pie in the Sky to plan strategy. Even though the alternative route across the mountains, via the Great Western Highway, was also currently closed due to the weather, the decision was to head to the Lapstone hotel at Springwood where lunch could be enjoyed and hopefully the road further along would have thawed upon our arrival.

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After lunch and with roads now open, we proceeded to our ultimate destination, Turner’s Vineyard in Orange.

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Upon reaching Katoomba we where greeted with significant snow on the shoulder of roads. We also had to contend with the many sightseers who had travelling up the mountains to the just to see the ‘white stuff’. Our slow and steady procession continued across the snow covered mountains and down Victoria Pass and on towards Lithgow and Bathurst.

Snow remained thick on the sidelines of the roads until we entered Bathurst but luckily not over the surface of the road.

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The weather in Orange was fresh but clear and we were treated to a lovely sun set over the western plains of NSW. Many took the opportunity to sample some wines at a tasting kindly arranged by the venue after our very late arrival.

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With everyone suitable ‘hydrated’ by the local produce we headed off for a fantastic Christmas in July dinner.

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With over 50 people in attendance it was a magic way to end what had been an ‘interesting’ and challenging day. Most were glad to have the opportunity to finally unwind and enjoy the company of other members with the prospect of a warm bed not far beyond.

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The morning broke chilly but clear and everyone enjoyed a hearty breakfast before checking out and then heading down the hill a bit for a quick tour of the local ‘vehicle museum’.

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The convoy then headed off to check out the historic Gnoo Blas racing circuit as well as take in the sights of historic Milthorpe.

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Our 2015 Christmas in July will go down as one of major events for the year without doubt. It brought some challenges, re-routing, record cold weather but more importantly it saw a record number of members attend as well as being something that everyone thoroughly enjoyed and are looking forward to the repeat next year, less the snow but!

Special thanks must go to the member who did all the hard work arranging the weekend and overcoming the unexpected challenges thrown their way to keep the party on track. Rain, sleet, freezing cold, no matter, the FCA Christmas in July celebration goes on!