For months this year we had to sit quietly, waiting for a release from the COVID-enforced lockdown. Forced to cancel or postpone events due to restrictions and iron curtains, month after long hard month. But once things eased up and we were able to get out and about again, no-one could ever say we didn’t offer you something to do! Starting in November, we began releasing events and by the time December started we have pretty much been doing events every weekend and even some weeknights, right up to Christmas, just to get everyone out and about and doing what we all love!
December was a very busy month indeed. We started with two events on the first weekend, with some of us heading down to Phillip Island for some much-needed track time at what would have been the last round of our 2020 Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship, but as we had already cancelled the Championship for the year, it just ended up being a really fun day out for quite a few members on the best track in Victoria. On the same day we also were invited to Mornington BMW for an exclusive pre-launch viewing of the soon to be launched M3 and M4. We also provided a fantastic display of Member’s M cars to help add to the festivities of the day. It was fantastic to see over 50 members come for the 'quiet' launch, especially since we weren’t allowed to tell anyone what we were actually launching, until they got there. The show and mingle was then followed by a drive around our beautiful Mornington Peninsula, ending in afternoon tea at Steeples, back in Mornington.
Next up was our last member meeting for 2020 via zoom, as we have done most of our 2020 member meetings. A casual meet up with a Christmas theme, where most wore their best ugly Christmas Jumpers just for a little bit of fun. I was a little late getting there, due to someone going home from work with my car keys in her handbag, but when I did get home, it was great to have a bit of a chat and catch up with everyone’s head one last time for the year.
13 December was our last cruise event for the year, a drive and lunch to the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie, where lots of lovely treats were consumed and a last chance to experience one of Peter Williams’ amazing drive routes too. This weekend saw a number of members opting to go trackside and have their last race for 2020 at the Shannons Motorsport Australia Festival at Sandown. It was great to have a lot of members either racing or helping in the pits for the last time this year. Like our 2020 Championship, the E30 Racing Championship had been cancelled for the year already, so this event was a non-championship race meeting for E30 Racing spec cars plus a few other E30 Race cars. Even your old President borrowed a car and went out and had some fun for a change. It was a great weekend and I loved getting out with the regulars and some new members we have joining us on track now.
To end out the lead up to Christmas, I was back down at Phillip Island on 19 December to look after a couple of prospective members that were using one of our E30 race cars. So, for, I think, the fifth weekend in a row, we were out at racetracks doing what we love, just because we can again now, and loving every minute of it! It's funny how much you appreciate seeing people and enjoy doing the things we do, when it has been taken away for a while.
On Monday 21 December Jo and I were invited to attend the soft opening of the new Berwick BMW Dealership. It was lovely to meet the new General Manager, Neil and Head of Marketing, Vanessa, and also catch up with some members who are now working there. It is a beautiful brand-new dealership! You can drop in and check it out for yourself anytime. We will be running some events at the dealership and from it in 2021 and will also be invited to the actual official opening in January, so watch out for that too.
One last exciting thing happened just after Christmas too, that I would love to share. We are now officially a club of over 500 members! As I write this, actually, now 506! I cannot express how amazed and proud I am to see the membership grow so much, that in a little over two and a half years we have grown to such an amazing size. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought this would be so successful. It just goes to show - build it, give people what they want, and they will come. You, our members, should be congratulated as well, as you have all helped to create the wonderful, friendly, inclusive, happy, amazing environment that has so many coming to join us. Earlier in the year we welcomed our #500 member, but with natural attrition, like all clubs, it took another couple of months to actually reach the magic 500 of fully paid up, current members. Truly amazing!
We have just had our final committee meeting for the year, along with a thank you lunch for our committee members and we will now take a short break for the New Year weekend, then we are straight back into events again, with our first member meeting for 2021 at Jay Leno Products in Airport West on 5 January.
Then on 13 January we invite you to our first cruise for 2021, a midweek early evening meetup and chat and sausage sizzle at Mornington BMW, followed by a lovely cruise to take in the sunset from one of Melbourne’s best vantage points, near Arthurs Seat. Don’t miss it, will be a lovely evening, we have ordered the perfect Melbourne summer weather for it. Hopefully it will get delivered for us.
Then we will have our first weekend away for 2021. Join us for the Australia Day weekend, where we will be heading up to Beechworth and doing some exciting touring and exploring around the hills and locale, again, see the web site for all the details.
As always, check our events page on the website for more details on any of our events. 2021 will be a big year and hopefully we can keep doing things and running events for you without interruption. February sees us back on the track again, with a huge year of Motorsport, with 3 on-track driver training days, a 10 round Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship, consisting of hill climbs, sprints, racing and lots of opportunities to get out and drive your car like it should be driven.
Of course, we are still very wary of our obligations and precautions for the ever-lingering threat of COVID and have developed our own QR code for events. You will see the QR device on your event notices when you register, just to help us keep you safe in-case someone does come into contact with someone infected and we need to initiate contract tracing. Like just about everywhere you go now, you will be able to scan the code and as simple as that we can keep up to date with our obligations. Thanks to Jess and the committee for getting this sorted.
Now we are back, there will be no letting up, you just never know what the new year will bring, so we will make the most of our freedom. As always, if you have an idea for and event, or somewhere you think we should go, let us know. Always happy to take inspiration from our members. We are here to give you what you want, so if you want to go somewhere, let us know and we will see what we can do to make it happen.
From me, thank you all for being here through a very tough year, for staying or for joining us. I hope you had an incredibly Happy Christmas and you were able to see your friends and families and enjoy each other’s company, something we all missed through 2020. Personally, Christmas ended up being a little sad for me. I lost my older brother John on Boxing Day. Some of you that have known me for a long time may remember John, he worked with me in Hastings in the early years of Bell Motorsport and was my navigator in rallies and my mechanic in the early years of my racing life. He was probably one of the catalysts that drew me to my love of cars and modifying them, from a very young age and indeed was my mentor when I trained to become a qualified mechanic in my later years. Even though we were not close the last few years, I will miss him, as all who knew him will too, after all, he was my big brother. Rest in peace brother.
On that note, I look forward to seeing you at an event in 2021, until then, drive safe, stay healthy and have a safe and Happy New Year!
Graeme Bell | President
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc.
P.O. Box 81, TYABB VIC 3913
Incorporated in Victoria #A0102695G
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc is a member of: BMW Clubs Australia and the BMW Clubs International Council
Motorsport Australia Affiliated Motorsport Club