BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

  • 13 Jan 2021 8:14 PM | Anonymous

    Snow is guaranteed on a winter road trip through northern Finland. With a bit of luck, you can see the aurora borealis in the night-time sky. During the day, the endlessly long country roads, generally without any trace of human beings, are an ideal place to test the performance attributes of the all-wheel drive extreme athlete from the British brand while following in the tracks of the legendary “Flying Finns”.

    There must be something about the training conditions of their Finnish homeland to have spawned two of the best drivers who ever took the wheel on the rally tracks of this world. Timo Mäkinen and Rauno Aaltonen from Finland acquired the sensitive touch in their hands and feet driving on deserted roads through Lapland that were usually already covered in snow by late autumn, and sometimes also on frozen lakes. Later on, the rally drivers were to benefit from this experience when they were battling in a fight for seconds during rally competitions. MINI has particularly special associations with the two “Flying Finns”. In 1965 and 1967 respectively, Mäkinen and Aaltonen won the second and third overall victory driving the classic MINI Cooper S in the Monte Carlo Rally.

    Right from the start, you can sense that sporty driving in Lapland requires a special skill set, even when travelling on a winter road trip in a modern model of the British premium brand like the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman (combined fuel consumption: 7.4 – 7.1 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 169 – 161 g/km). The power of 225 kW/306 hp under the engine bonnet demands sensitive use of the accelerator pedal, while the ALL4 all-wheel drive takes over high-precision distribution of the beefy drive torque between the front and rear wheels. And if high spirits take over, there’s always Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) to calm things down.

    Power at this level, four driven wheels and electronic assistants were not yet available in the golden age of Mäkinen and Aaltonen. They accomplished their spectacular driving manoeuvres with much more modest means. In 2010, they were the first drivers to be honoured in the newly established “Rally Hall of Fame” – together with Paddy Hopkirk from Northern Ireland, who had already captured the first “Monte” overall win driving the classic Mini in 1964. It’s unlikely to be a coincidence that the Rally Hall of Fame is actually located in Finland. The greats in this discipline are saluted at the Mobilia automobile museum in Tampere. Over the years, numerous other rally drivers from the Land of a Thousand Lakes have earned the epithet of “Flying Finn”. No fewer than eleven of the current 26 members of the “Rally Hall of Fame” are Finns. A visit to the museum therefore forms the ideal launchpad for a road trip in the tracks of the rallying legends. The anticipation grows spontaneously at the prospect of testing the performance attributes of the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman on ice and snow.

    Anybody setting off from Tampere to Lapland has the option of travelling north for hundreds of kilometres along the western coast of Finland so that they can gradually acclimatise to the region’s arctic temperatures. In Lapland, winter manifests itself in its pure form: bone-chillingly cold and with lots of snow. It’s important to be well wrapped up in warm clothing. The MINI John Cooper Works Clubman offers generous space for the appropriate apparel in its baggage compartment of 360 litres behind the twin hinged barn-door style rear doors. After folding down the rear-seat backrest, the volume of stowage space even increases to 1 250 litres. And additional space is available in the MINI roof box to accommodate windcheater jackets, skiing underwear and woollen socks. It offers capacity of 320 litres and can be securely fixed to the optional roof rails of the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman and to the carrier supplied in the MINI Original accessories range in few simple steps.

    After a stopover in Lapland’s capital city of Rovaniemi, it’s just a short trip to cross the Arctic Circle in the north. The vastness of the landscape is an invitation to simply follow the road on a journey through dense pine forests and past numerous lakes. The MINI John Cooper Works Clubman ploughs imperturbably through deep snow. Far away from stop signs and traffic lights, icy surfaces present an open invitation to refine the art of drifting round bends.

    The region of Lapland extends over the entire north of the countries of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. It encompasses the settlement area of the Sámi indigenous people, whose culture and history are documented in a museum in the village of Inari. Anybody who has made it this far, may well be thinking about continuing their journey up to the North Cape on the Norwegian island of Magerøya. After all, it’s only another 400 kilometres of driving.

    Lots of places in Lapland offer the opportunity of going on a snowshoe hiking tour or a ride in a dog sleigh to discover Arctic foxes, snowy owls and other animals in their natural environment. Moreover, tourists from all over the world are attracted to the far north to get a glimpse of the northern lights during a long winter night. You have to be quick when the temperatures and visibility conditions are just right for this natural phenomenon in order to get to a good viewing point at the right time. The MINI John Cooper Works Clubman doesn’t disappoint and this additional trip provides yet another treat. During the night-time “sleigh ride” with 306 horsepower, the optional adaptive LED headlamps with matrix function for high beam illuminate the route leading to one of the viewing points that offer a particularly good view of the brightly coloured and spectacular heavenly display.

    Ranua Wildlife Park provides a stunning introduction to the animal world of the Arctic. It is located on the outskirts of the little town of Ranua approximately 80 kilometres south of Rovaniemi, and visitors to the zoo get an opportunity to see at close quarters elk, reindeer, brown bears and polar bears, wolves, arctic foxes and lots of other animals that are indigenous to northern Scandinavia. Wooden tracks and bridges wend their way past the spacious enclosures. Ranua Wildlife Park was opened in 1983 and is the most popular tourist attraction in the north of Finland.

    Apartment houses and Arctic Fox Igloos provide accommodation for a longer stay at the Wildlife Park. These amenities are located directly on the banks of Lake Ranuanjärvi. They have their own sauna and a bedroom with panoramic viewing window looking north to provide an outstanding vantage point. There’s virtually nowhere else in Lapland where you can view the famous polar lights in a more comfortable or warmer environment.


  • 12 Jan 2021 11:13 AM | Anonymous

    The BMW iDrive celebrates 20 years at the all-digital CES2021. A paradigm shift in the interaction between driver and vehicle became an industry standard and laid the foundations for today’s multifunctional, online-based user experience.

    20 years have passed since the first generation of BMW iDrive made its debut. Now, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2021, BMW is announcing the next chapter in its display and operating system, which is set to transport driver-vehicle interaction into a new digital and intelligent age. The CES will take place on 11 – 14 January 2021 in exclusively digital form. BMW is utilising the virtual forum the event provides to give a global audience an initial preview of its upcoming all-new BMW iDrive system, which will be officially unveiled later in 2021.

    BMW’s digital offering at CES 2021 also includes an entertaining teaser video that visualises the development of the user experience inside a BMW over the last two decades. The protagonists in this journey through time are the 2001 BMW 7 Series – in which the BMW iDrive system celebrated its premiere – and the BMW iX, which will come onto the market in 2021 and in which the new generation of the display and operating system will be available to experience for the first time. Added to which, the BMW Design team responsible for user experience and user interaction has provided some glimpses behind the scenes of its development work. To this end, another episode has been added to the “Re-Thinking Design” video series launched as part of the BMW Group’s #NEXTGen 2020 event. All the content from BMW’s presence at CES 2021 and further digital presentations can be viewed in a special CES feature on the online platform at

    20 years ago BMW instigated a paradigm shift that reversed the wave of buttons spreading over car interiors at the time. The BMW iDrive operating system introduced for the first time in the then new BMW 7 Series in 2001 swept away old habits and purged the cockpit of the growing number of buttons and controls. In their place came a colour screen in the instrument panel (the Control Display) and a rotary dial on the centre console (the iDrive Controller). This multifunctional system allowed drivers to control a large number of vehicle settings, entertainment, navigation and telecommunications functions with a single operating tool. In addition, the BMW 7 Series was the first car to feature voice control technology, which allowed selected functions to be activated using spoken commands.

    iDrive controller and voice control made operating the car’s systems significantly easier and safer. Where the driver previously had to find and engage a different dedicated button in the cockpit for each individual function, now they could keep their hand in one place on the Controller, which occupied an ergonomically ideal location on the centre console. The various functions could be controlled using standard rotary, pressure and shift movements. And the driver could view the information on the Control Display – integrated into the centre of the instrument panel at eye level – equally quickly and safely; they only needed to divert their gaze from the road for a short moment to check the operating status of systems. Over a period of just a few years, this innovative principle morphed into the new industry standard. A host of other carmakers adopted the combination of display and controller, as this was the only way to harness the ever-increasing array of functions inside their models. 

    Ongoing development widens the gap.

    Since the advent of iDrive, BMW has consistently taken the lead in the field of intuitive in-car operation, a constant process of development building its superiority over competitors’ systems all the time. This has led to the introduction of favourites buttons to store individually selected operating steps. These buttons debuted capacitive surfaces, which previewed functions on the Control Display. And then came direct selection buttons enabling a direct route to the most frequently used function areas of the menu and a Touch Controller, which allowed the user to input characters directly. 2015 brought the arrival of the Control Display with touch control, again in the BMW 7 Series. 

    At the same time, BMW put in place further innovations to optimise driving comfort and safety. In 2004 it became the first carmaker to present a Head-Up Display, which projected relevant driving information onto the windscreen in the driver’s direct line of sight. And multimodal operation reached another new level in 2015 with the world premiere of BMW Gesture Control in the 7 Series. Voice control has also undergone a sustained process of evolution. Indeed, since 2015 natural language understanding has enabled systems to be operated using naturally spoken instructions instead of pre-set commands.

    BMW leads the way in the field of connected vehicles.

    BMW iDrive also paved the way for the introduction of digital services, which have enabled a consistent progression of the relationship between user and car. The first development stage of the system brought the BMW Online service into BMW cars. Integration of the Google search engine followed in 2007, before BMW became the first vehicle manufacturer worldwide to unlock unlimited in-car internet access the following year. In response to the boom in smartphones – and the digital applications developed specially for them – apps from third parties could also be integrated into the BMW iDrive operating system from 2012. 

    The connection between the vehicle and driver became even closer in 2016. The BMW Connected app now allowed customers to fully integrate their car into their digital lifestyle. Destinations inputted into a navigation app could be imported directly from a smartphone into a BMW, while information on the status of the car was also accessible on a mobile phone or other digital device. This service now offers an even wider range of functionality via the My BMW app.

    Assisting drivers with digital intelligence.

    A new and now online-based voice control system premiered in 2018 in the newly launched BMW 3 Series. The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant is a digital companion whose skillset can be constantly expanded. It is underpinned by the modular and flexible BMW Operating System 7 vehicle software, which also provides the basis for another, particularly future-focussed service: Remote Software Upgrade keeps the BMW up to date with the latest digital technology at all times and also enables additional functions to be integrated into the car at a later stage.

    20 years ago, the boldness to explore a revolutionary response to the challenge of ever increasingly functional complexity drove BMW to pioneer intuitive on-board operation. And the BMW iDrive system also set the course for digital intelligence, which allows the driving experience to be tailored even more precisely to the customer’s needs and preferences. 

    The next generation of BMW iDrive takes the burgeoning relationship between a BMW and its driver to a new level. The new system neatly bridges the gap between analogue and digital technology. And this, in turn, heralds another paradigm shift, as the number of available functions in a car and their complexity continue along a constant upward curve. Digital intelligence has been introduced into cars, optimised sensors now allowing them to perceive and analyse their surroundings. As a result, elements of driving and parking can be automated to an increasing degree. And cloud-based services dip into a growing pool of real-time data. 

    This means that, in many situations, the vehicle has access to a greater supply of information than the driver. For example, it can receive and display hazard warnings from other BMW vehicles and make predictions on the availability of parking spaces at a destination. Developments will continue in this direction, presenting the car’s display and operating system with fresh challenges now and in the future. The next-generation BMW iDrive is set up to utilise the potential of an intelligently connected vehicle more extensively than ever and so make the mobility experience even safer, even more comfortable and convenient, and even richer in variety. 


  • 4 Jan 2021 3:34 PM | Anonymous

    I’m the bloke in orange, in the middle near the yellow flags

    Firstly, as a relatively new member of the club, I’d like to introduce myself.  My name is Scott Long and my primary involvement in motorsport is as a volunteer Sector Marshal with Motorsport Australia.  What is a Sector Marshal, you say?  I’m glad you asked!

    If you’re a driver, a sector marshal is the last person you want to see at a race track.  If you’re face to face with a sector marshal, it usually means you’ve crashed and triggered a safety car or a red flag.

    On the surface, it’s a very simple job.  A sector marshal doesn’t appear to do anything unless there is an incident that would require racing to be neutralised.  And even then, once we get the thumbs up from the driver and radio in the tow requirements, that’s job done.  But scratch the surface, and it’s a lot more involved than that and it’s a position that holds quite a bit of responsibility.

    On the hierarchy, a sector marshal is usually promoted through the ranks from a flag marshal and is the “manager” of a flag post.  But despite the role being physically trackside role, race control regards a sector marshal as an Assistant Clerk Of The Course.  Because of this, it is a senior role. So it is recommended the official has a Silver Circuit licence, or a Bronze Circuit licence at minimum.

    Motorsport Australia’s position description of a sector marshal says, “a Sector Marshal manages and controls sections of the circuit and track, ensuring volunteer officials remain diligent to assigned duties in a safe environment and the management of racing incidents in their assigned sector.”

    Essentially, we manage everything and everyone, on-track or trackside, within a designated part of the circuit which usually aligns with a flag post.  From arranging recovery of a vehicle stranded on circuit, to being first-on-scene to a critical incident. From ensuring the flag marshals stay safe and healthy, to recommending certain marshals are part of succession planning programs. From ensuring photographers have the correct accreditation, to being judges of fact for on-track incidents.  And everything in between.  But let me go into some detail.

    The top priority for every official is to look after health and safety of themselves, and their fellow officials.  Part of the sector marshal’s job is to ensure that happens.  We monitor water and food intake; reminding marshals to stay hydrated and take regular snack breaks.  We monitor heat or cold exposure; reminding marshals to apply sunscreen, stay shaded when possible or the keep out of the cold winds in winter.  We also manage fatigue; trying to encourage everyone to rest their legs and brain whenever they get the chance.  Keeping our marshals safe and healthy ensures their best performance and it helps keep smiles on their faces.

    The next priority is to ensure the safety of the drivers.  That starts with constantly checking the track surface is free of debris or anything that can cause a lack of adhesion.  We also intermittently monitor the performance of the flag marshals to ensure the correct flags are being displayed or waved, and remind, coach, or provide positive feedback when required.

    We also need to be ready for if the proverbial hits the fan.  Usually, after a major incident, the sector marshal will be the first person in attendance.  Despite a million things going through your head once while the crash unfolds, you need wait for the incident to finish, then collect your thoughts.  Once the crash has finished happening, you need to process what has happened, and what needs to happen next.  Is a safety car or red flag required? Is the driver ok? Are all drivers involved ok?  Is medical required? Is there fire?  Will extrication equipment be required? Have marshals been injured?  Have spectators been injured? Is it safe for me to enter the circuit to investigate further?  Where are the rest of the cars on the circuit? Will I require help from other marshals? Will I need to direct traffic around the incident?

    The ability to stay cool, calm and collected during this process can be make or break.  Processing all this information quickly, is incredibly important. Then clearly and concisely relaying to race control what needs to happen next.  Usually, there is some room for error. But if you have an incident like Roman Grosjean’s at the Bahrain Grand Prix, a few seconds of miscommunication or indecision can be the difference between a few minor burns and absolute tragedy.

    So what’s the difference between that and what a communicator does?  The main difference is a communicator tells race controls observations they’ve made.  Its information only.  Then race controls decides what to do with that information. Where a sector marshal, because they’re acting on behalf of the clerk of course, can make recommendations or requests based on the observations. For example, a communicator’s radio call could be “Car X has made heavy impact into a wall.  Driver doesn’t appear to be moving”.  The sector marshals call for the same incident would be “Car X, heavy impact into the wall.  Recommend the session is suspended and requesting medical attend”

    In a nutshell, that’s it!  In perfect weekend, a sector marshal says nothing on the radio except for radio checks in the morning.  And then sometimes, like what happened to me at the Gold Coast 600 in 2016, you get a 8 car pile-up in your sector and a blocked track!  (Which is still my favourite race meeting to date).

    If you’d like to know more, feel free to get in contact. Or simply talk our friends at The VFT!

    Scott Long | Member #588
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

    Image provided by author.

  • 1 Jan 2021 6:07 PM | Anonymous

    I would like to say thank you to BMWDCM, particularly to Graeme, Jo, Lawrence and Shaaron for your continuous and tireless efforts to organise such a great variety of events.

    Whether it is trackside, a car show, or a drive and weekend getaway, there is something for everyone.

    Participating in club events has given me the opportunity to not only explore my passion for cars and learn, but to also meet some great people along the way.

    I am honoured to be receiving the Member of the Year award. I could not have achieved this if it wasn’t for the support of the club and my fellow members.

    Thank you and looking forward to seeing you all at more events.

    Angelo Carideo | Member #294
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

  • 1 Jan 2021 2:30 PM | Anonymous

    The BMW E30 was the first BMW that I have driven and owned. Over the years, I have had a collection of various BMWs, but the E30 always has the soft spot for me.

    Recently, I just picked up racing as a casual sport and I always admired the BMW E30 DTM racing from videos and pictures. After moving from Malaysia to Australia, I found out about E30 racing via Google and thought I'd give a try. I joined BMW Drivers Club Melbourne as they also offer a pathway into BMW motorsport racing.

    When I met Graeme, he gave me a very clear guidance on how to start racing in Melbourne and also gave me information about BMW E30 Racing. So, my journey as a casual racer begins with BMWDCM and Bell Motorsport.

    Graeme gave me a very comprehensive information on how to get my gear (helmet, race suit, etc), renting one the BMW E30 race cars, club events, getting my CAMS license and race events. In fact, Graeme was very resourceful as I managed to convert my Malaysian National race license to a Motorsport Australia license. This includes getting my medical examination for the Motorsport Australia license as well.

    I had my first race in December with E30 Racing. I did my personal best but still far behind many of the others. After 2020, I think I will embark my journey to compete in E30 racing and will get my second E30 (but this time it will be a race car).

    This feeling is like falling in love with the E30 again.

    Overall, BMWCDM and Bell Motorsport has been very supportive of getting where I want to go for my racing journey. Of course, I met many new people in the club and the race scene as well. All were friendly and it feels like a family together which is important to me. I believe 2021 will be an exciting year ahead and look forward to the next upcoming events from BMWDCM and E30 Racing.

    Elwin Lim | Member #481
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

  • 1 Jan 2021 11:00 AM | Anonymous


    Dear Members

    Happy New Year!

    December was a very busy month.  We started off with two events, with some of us heading down to Phillip Island for some much-needed track time. On the same day we were also 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 M cars from our members' collections.  It was fantastic to see over 50 members come for the 'quiet' launch, especially since none of our attendees knew what they were attending for!


    Our next event was our final Zoom meeting for 2020, it was a casual meeting with a Christmas theme.  Many wore their best, ugliest, Christmas jumper for a little bit of fun!  It was a lots of fun to see all the different outfits members had put together!


    On 13 December we held our last cruise event for the year, a drive and lunch to the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie. 

    The weekend also 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 see so many members either racing or helping in the pits for the last time this year. Like our 2020 Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship, the E30 Racing Championship had been cancelled for the year, so this event was a non-championship race meeting for E30 Racing spec cars plus invited BMW race cars.


    In exciting news, during December BMWDCM also reached 500 active members!  We are so proud to see our membership grow so much in our short few years. 



    From 1 January (today!) we will be using QR codes for check-in at all events.  Once you register for an event, you will receive your event confirmation email with a QR code at the bottom of it.  You will also receive the code again in your event reminder email.

    Please ensure that you can either show your QR code in your registration confirmation or alternatively print the email with the QR code to present it when you arrive at the event.  if you have the Wild Apricot members app, you can also show the QR code from your event registration within the app (available on Android and Apple - just search "Wild Apricot for Members").



    Welcome to our new members, we look forward to seeing you at an event soon!


    Don't forget to catch up with this month's update from our President, Graeme Bell here.


    Here's what we've got planned in January:

    Tuesday, 5 January
    Show your car off members meeting  with Jay Leno's Garage
    A casual sausage sizzle and a drink to kick off the year at Jay Leno's Garage Warehouse. 

    Wednesday, 13 January
    Mornington Peninsula Mid-Week Sunset Drive
    We'll start our evening at Mornington BMW for a sausage sizzle and then head off on a drive along some of the Peninsula's finest driving roads, finishing at Arthurs Seat to watch the sunset from the lookout at Seawinds Garden. 

    Saturday-Sunday, 23-26 January  
    Australia Day Weekend away in Beechworth Area

    Attend for one day, or stay for all three!  We will be doing some drives, lunches, morning and afternoon teas, and of course dinner around the area to explore and visit other towns too. 

    Be sure to keep an eye on our calendar for more events.

    NEWS & BLOG 

    Our Blog page on the website is constantly being updated with not just club news, but everything BMW from all around the world!  We welcome you to submit any articles of your own! 

    Club blog.

    BMW around the globe.


    To submit your own car, or motorbike for next month, click here.


    Did you know we have a classifieds page

    Want to sell something?  Email us today to list your car/parts/anything BMW related!

    idrive magazine

    Everyone has their own BMW story - we'd love to share yours.

    Email us to feature in our very own idrive magazine.


    Members are welcome to submit their business to be shared on the Club Partners page on our website and idrive magazine. 

    We believe in supporting those who support us.  If you would like your business listed, email us with your details!


    As always - thanks for reading, we look forward to seeing you at an event soon!

    President | Graeme Bell 0407 186 296
    Vice President | 
    Jo Mawson 0412 661 900
    Secretary | 
    Lawrence Glynn 0414 563 290 
    Treasurer |
    Shaaron Glynn

    Proudly supported by:

    Adex Detailing
    BM Tech
    Creative Custom Cars
    Mornington BMW
    Shannons Insurance
    Southern BM
    Traction Tyres
    Waters Co
    Zagame Autobody

  • 31 Dec 2020 5:00 PM | Anonymous


    Dear Members,

    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

  • 24 Dec 2020 6:40 PM | Anonymous

    Welcome to the dealership network the all-new Berwick BMW.

    Soft opening today, great to see so many friendly faces and club members amongst the staff.

    Beautiful, brand new dealership on the Princes Highway. Drop in and check it out!

    Lovely to meet the General Manager Neil and Venessa from Marketing and have a personal tour of the dealership. Looking forward to a great relationship with Berwick BMW going forward.

    We will be doing a few events there, or starting from there next year, so keep an eye on the calendar and come and check it out.

    Graeme Bell | Member #1
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

  • 23 Dec 2020 10:35 AM | Anonymous

    Event date: 13 December 2020

    It was Maksim's 7th birthday, we found out, so I bought him a chocolate Christmas tree as a present - they did not have anything with Happy Birthday on it and no one there to add it to an existing item so that was the best I could do. He did say he would share it with his sister. - Lawrence Glynn

    Time to go for a drive in Dad’s M3. We drove to Geelong to have a hot chocolate and met the other people. I enjoyed looking at the cars.

    We went for a drive on the Great Ocean Road. We went for lunch, where I ate lasagna.

    Thank you Lawrence and Sharon for the lovely chocolate treat.

    Maksim Kay (son of Igor Kay) | Member #151
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

  • 18 Dec 2020 10:17 PM | Anonymous

    Event date: 29 November 2020

    Unfortunately, the NSW BMW Drivers Club did not organise a car show this year. To my delight however, BMW Drivers Club Melbourne did! Not only was it a car show, but a weekend stay at the Park Hyatt! As soon as I saw the email notification of the event I thought to myself “right! I’m going to make this happen!” I really wanted to catch up with all my Victorian friends and make this a jolly good time, especially after they had been through such a tough lockdown.

    Ironically I had just purchased a 135i from Victoria, and had it freighted up to Sydney by truck because at the time it looked as if the border would not open until close to Christmas. So the plan was hatched – get the 135i registered and drive it down to enter in the car show. Being a one-owner car that was meticulously cared for, I thought I would have a good shot at the car being competitive. Unfortunately the car had a vibration in the rear end, which turned out to be a bad wheel bearing. Replacing the rear wheel bearings on these cars is not an easy job, and unfortunately the rear half shafts were damaged when removed. This meant that the car would not be fixed by Friday when we wanted to leave. Luckily, we have car club buddies. I was driving down with my best friend Edward Forgacs, and he kindly offered that we take his reliable and trusty stead, the E39 M5. As it turned out, it is much more comfortable and thus a better choice for the long drive than the 135i anyway!

    So after a rather frantic last minute packing and planning what to take, we headed off in the peak hour Friday afternoon traffic leaving Sydney in the M5 down the M5.

    The traffic all but vanished at the Canberra exit, and we had a fast and easy cruise down the Hume to our overnight stop in Albury. The temperature was still over 30 degrees after sunset, and the windscreen was splattered with a constant stream of bugs, some exploding on impact! They were probably having their Friday night get-togethers and bug boogie woogies, and we were suddenly slamming into them at high speed with the M5. Oh the carnage!

    Albury was a pleasant surprise. We found one of the few restaurants that would take a booking after 9pm – Level One Wine Bar. They very helpfully took our order over the phone so that it would be ready upon arrival. This place seemed to be the best in town, and it seemed as half the town was there! They have a proper stock of very fine wines from all around the world, and fantastic cocktails too. The food was superb, and we had a table overlooking the main street below. This was like a time warp back to 1999! The main street on a Friday night served as a thoroughfare for the almost constant parade of local car enthusiasts showing off their metal. Amongst the many commodores and falcons, there were skylines, supras, some BMWs (including a few M2s), old 80’s Australiana and many, many lifted and loud 4x4s.

    After a Saturday morning stroll around the shops of Albury, where it seemed that half the town was about, we hit the Hume again. The change in weather was dramatic – on our non-stop journey it went from 40 degrees in Albury at 11:30am to 22 degrees on arrival in Melbourne within the 3 hour drive. When we arrived we greeted by the valet staff and helped with the luggage. We happened to arrive at exactly the same time as Jo and Graeme.

    The room was amazing, and even had a full walk-in robe, and dual sinks with a huge corner bath. A steal at only $315 for the night! After checking in it was straight to the nearest self-serve carwash, where we spent the next four hours or so working as a team to remove the remains of those boogie bugs that reveled no more. I had honestly never seen so many bugs on a car! Thank goodness for the bottle of ‘bugger off’ spray in the bucket of detailing products we brought. It was a really good feeling to roll back onto the hotel forecourt with a freshly detailed M5. It helped that Edward keeps his car in ‘almost ready for car show’ clean condition in his garage. Dinner was in the hotel restaurant with around 20 people in attendance.

    We arrived to find many of the Victorians sporting Espresso Martinis, the very ‘in’ thing these days. It was so nice to catch up with everyone at dinner, and meet some new friends and have a great old chat about all things car related (and also funny anecdotes). Our revelry continued late into the night with many jokes and stories being told, and great banter as always. It’s so great to have friends like this!

    On Sunday morning we were greeted in the morning by typical Melbourne weather, windy and light rain. At least it wasn’t the 40 degrees that Sydney was experiencing. I even had to borrow a DCM official weatherproof jacket as I hadn’t packed for the cool rainy weather.

    There were 29 cars in attendance, and quite a range indeed. From E9s to M2 Competitions. There were three categories – pre 1990, 1990-2000, and 2000 on. Lawrence approached me and surprised me by asking if I could judge the 2000 on category, to which I agreed. I had been a judge at five or so BMW car shows in NSW before, and the criteria was almost exactly the same, which made it straight forward.

    After a couple of hours of very carefully and methodically going over the nine cars in my category, the results were submitted for tallying. I was outside taking some last minute photos of the cars whilst everyone had gone inside to hear the results. I was then called to come inside for the presentation. There was a pretty clear winner in the category that I judged, and also for the pre 1990 class. However, Jo announced that there had been a three-way tie for the 1990-2000 class.

    This was quite unheard of in BMW car shows. Jo went on to say that after seeing the amount of bugs on one of the cars, and knowing how far it had come to attend, they had decided to award it to the M5! Edward and I were both surprised and humbled at this decision. I want to thank everyone who brought their car for display. It was a joy to meet and chat with each and everyone of you about your car. I am of the firm belief that it is the stories behind the car, the stories of the owners and their adventures with the car, that is of the greatest interest.

    The drive back.

    After lunch we again packed all our gear into the M5 and after saying our goodbyes we headed out of Melbourne. It was an easy drive along the Princes Highway to our overnight stop in Bairnesdale, where we enjoyed Tequilla margaritas at the local Mexican restaurant, of all places! In the morning we headed in the direction of Jindabyne. I had never driven this road across the border, and wanted to check it out. We drove through large areas of bushfire damaged forest, though there was a lot of recent regrowth.

    We drove up the scenic Galantipy road, passing through high country grazing country and then into the Snowy River National Park. We were wondering why there was so very little traffic, even for a Monday morning. Then we found our answer. The tarmac abruptly ended at the fork in the road at Wulgulmerang East, where it became the Snowy River road to Jindabyne. Luckily we still had phone coverage and could check how long the unsealed bit was! Unfortunately it is unsealed from there almost all the way to Jindabyne, over 100kms away!

    The other fork led to Bombala, but was also unsealed for the first 84km and looked quite sketchy, so we made the frustrating but inevitable decision to drive back the way we came, and head east to the Monaro highway to Bombala. Knowing that we had to be back in Sydney that night, let me just say that it was a lot quicker driving back down the road than on the way up!!

    We stopped for lunch in Orbost, which was really pretty and leafy. The snowy river was almost completely full of water, totally different to when we last saw it on the Zundschlussel drive in October 2015.

    During the day we saw three distinct types of scenery;

    • the coastal forests of east Gippsland between Orbost and Cann River
    • rolling high country steep grazing hills that could almost look like the hills district in Scotland
    • the inland section from Bombala to Cooma, which started off with rolling hills and trees, then became high treeless plains exceptionally good for driving visibility

    The Monaro highway driving to the NSW border on the Victorian side was pretty out of shape and was narrow with many blind corners and craggy rocks hanging near the side of the road. As soon as we were greeted by the giant sandstone NSW border sign, the road immediately widened, smoothed and the corners widened up. The difference was so dramatic that I actually could not even come close to doing the speed limit safely on the Victorian side because of all the ruts in the road, but the NSW side would be perfectly safe to cruise along at 130. This is one of the best roads I’ve driven in Australia, and absolutely perfect tarmac for the M5.

    We decided to stop in Canberra for dinner on the way back, and after finding a table at a very swanky new Italian restaurant about 5 mins from Parliament house, I turned around and was surprised to see none other than the deputy Prime Minister stood behind me. He went to join his QLD buddies down the back – George Christensen, Warren Entsch & Andrew Laming. Well didn’t this trip turn out to be full of unexpected surprises.

    A huge thank you to Jo, Graeme, Lawrence, Shaaron and the Drivers Club Melbourne committee and members for making this event so enjoyable.

    Until the next drive…

    Josh Davis & Edward Forgacs
    BMW Drivers Club NSW

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