32 competitors on 31 scooters converged on the Bearded Dragon hotel in Tamborine from mid-afternoon on Tuesday 26th September. Repairs, ensuring the tanks were full of fuel and last minute checks were being carried out by most people. David Atkinson was working on an electrical problem after riding up from Melbourne. Not surprisingly, one of the Dark Lords, Callum Robinson, was still working on his Vespa Super ‘Speedy’ well after dark; he’d also ridden all the way up from Melbourne, along with Michael King (Il Ginchi).
Day 1 – Tamborine to Boonah
Gathering in the early light of morning in the car park of the Bearded Dragon, the teams were lined up in starting order. The first of 13 teams made a start at 6am sharp with Beth Massey & Rolf Graunke leading the way out of the car park on their 1959 Vespa VBA with a sidecar. The rest of the teams followed at 2 minute intervals for the 492 kilometre day.
Arrival at the Australian Hotel in Boonah could not come quick enough, as the only way my headlight would work was to tape the light switch to a position halfway between low and high beam. The last task of the day was a photo of you & your team in front of the clock in the hotel bar, which was then used to determine your completion time. It had been a long day for most.
Day 2 – Boonah to Brisbane
Facing 489 kilometres and expected temperatures of over 35°C, teams again gathered in the cool of the morning outside the Australian Hotel in Boonah. The first major turn after leaving Boonah, saw the riders disappearing into a fog up through Kalbar. Except for Team BDC, who managed to visit Ipswich 3 times, before getting back on track.
Teams were again catching up with each other completing tasks at Rosewood and Lowood. The next section took us along the eastern side of Wivenhoe Dam, before a right turn to head up and over Mount Glorious for the first time that day. Dropping down into Samford Valley, the temperature had already gone well past 35°C.
A quick breakfast with Team Longshot and refuel at Daybro, then we headed up Mount Mee and taking the re-route via Campbells Pocket to avoid a section of dirt road, and across to Wamuran. After joining up with the original route just west of Beerburrum, the first problems for Team BRB started. Travelling along Old Gympie Rd, just west of the Glass House Mountains, I noticed that Phillip Julian had dropped off from our group, and after back-tracking, we found him with the Bajaj on its side and the tools out. Initial diagnosis was that the clutch plates seemed to be fused together. Phillip managed to make it a few more kilometres up to road to just west of Beerwah, before deciding to try and nurse the Bajaj back to Brisbane.
Terry Minutillo & I (Sean) pushed on to Palmwoods for the next task. A quick check of how we were going for fuel and I was surprised to see that the fuel was bubbling away in my tank! A message from Phillip came through while we were at Palmwoods, saying that the stator was now loose on the stator plate and the rivets have sheared off. Luckily he was carrying a spare, replaced his stator and was back up and limping back to Brisbane.
From the Facebook feed, we could tell that we were now lagging quite a long way behind other teams, who had pushed on to try and avoid what was now a full blown heat wave, where temperatures were pushing 40°C. The run down from Montville to Maleny across the Blackhall Range was slightly cooler and gave us some great views out towards the Sunshine Coast. Dropping down to Woodford saw the temperatures jump back up again to 37°C.
Not long after passing through Neerum and just before Mount Archer, my scooter decided to pack it in. A quick check of the spark plug revealed the all too familiar signs of a holed piston. I made the call to back-up driver Alan Huish, who already had (Quiet) Mark le Cornu on the trailer with a seized piston. Terry left me with the cows and headed back to Brisbane the quick way. After loading up, we headed back to Brisbane.
The presentation was held on Saturday night at the Regatta Hotel in Brisbane. Trophy winners for the 2017 Australian Classic Scooter Mille were:
Most Spectacular Breakdown - Phillip Julian
Phillip won Most Spectacular Breakdown for having to fix his clutch, then replace his stator plate and tyre (which had been rubbing on the clutch casing) and finally for breaking his cruciform….but still managing to limp back to Brisbane under his own steam.
Beth won Best & Fairest for learning how to ride a sidecar outfit so that her partner Rolf Graunke could still also take part in the event, albeit in the chair (he’d had a crash on his scooter some months before and still had wires holding his kneecap together).
- Christiaan Liebenow, for coming over from New Zealand to compete on a borrowed scooter (thanks to Ian Brill) and taking line honours.
- David Atkinson, for not only riding up from Melbourne and back (3,300 kilometres), but also celebrating his 70th birthday during the event.
- Janine McGinness, for finishing the event despite suffering from a slipped disc.
- Team BDC (Robert McClelland, Declan Magee and Chris Hodge) for managing to go to Ipswich not once, but 3 times…and it wasn’t even on the route!
See you all in New South Wales for next one….