Most people with an interest in Lancia have heard that the Australian Lancia community are the most active in the world. I'm not going to try an analyse this here, but the energy, drive and enthusiasm is truly inspiring. There are four regional groups based in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, and all are well supported. But what really gets things going is the biannual Castlemaine Rally, which is based around a town a couple of hours inland from Melbourne. This is followed by a well supported Tour for about a week after. We returned from this trip nearly a month ago, and I've been trying to work out how to describe it!
US visitors were Paul and Vicki Tullius, Steve and Lynn Peterson, Neil and Elsa Pering, Jeff Hill and Paul and Lily English.
Below is a short report of our trip which I sent fro the Autralian Register Newsletter - and hopefully gives a taste. But you really need to go yourselves!
Virgins in Australia
After meeting Australian visitors to the West Coast of the USA over the past few years, our anticipation was high for our first ever trip to Australia.
Arriving in Brisbane we adjusted very nicely with Paul & Jo Doumany for a few days before flying down to Melbourne and Castlemaine.
The whole Castemaine Rally weekend was a whirlwind of smoothly organised fun; starting with the Friday lunch where we were introduced to dozens of new friendly Lancia cousins, thankfully the name tags helped remind us who we, and everyone else was! The Saturday morning run and coffee stop was particularly memorable, following a great route, with some cryptic clues to keep the navigators awake. A remarkable attendance of Lancia’s of all ages was testament to the deep enduring roots our cars have in Australia.This weekend was the result of a huge amount of thought and planning, carried out by a very capable and enthusiastic team. We definitely appreciated this, as I am sure the members present did too.
The Tour was a less frantic time driving on our own program, often with a choice of routes, and still with a good sized group for a week long event. As newcomers to the country we were captivated by the variety of countryside - and climate. Having lived in the UK and USA, we found the natives very friendly and refreshingly non-PC! From sweltering heat at Castlemaine, we saw showers and some rain, and positive chill at viewpoints along the scenic Great Ocean Road. Highlights for us were kangaroos in our motel courtyard at Halls Gap - including a joey diving into mum with amazing speed and precision!
We were very grateful for Alan and Shellagh Hornsby for the loan of their lovely Fulvia Sport for the Rally and Tour. So it was all rather distressing to find myself at the roadside with no oil pressure and plenty of the latter outside the engine! My well used Book of Excuses was not needed in the end, as a fractured hose was found to be the culprit.
As a result of this I am happy to confirm that the stress test to Alan’s heart has been a total success and his blood pressure has now returned to normal. Which is 250psi.
The Tour allowed us to get to know many more of the group much better, which was very nice and less pressured than the Rally. We finished in fine style at Lorne with an excellent final dinner and speeches.
After returning Alan’s car to Ballarat, we enjoyed a few days with Chris and Anna Long in Melbourne seeing the orchestra and famous graffiti along with more conventional sights.
After nearly four weeks, we were ready to be traveling home, but full of unique memories of each different stage of our trip. None of this would have been possible without the enthusiasm of the all the Lancia Club members in Australia who organised and attended the events, and in particular our hosts (minders), Paul and Jo, Alan and Shellagh,and Chris and Anna.
We look forward to returning in the future,
Paul and Lily English