BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

  • 28 Dec 2018 8:31 PM | Anonymous


    Dear Members,

    Wow! Christmas is done already! Where did 2018 go?

    Who would have thought this time last year what 2018 would bring? Here we are on the cusp of 2019 and we are very close to hitting 300 members!  I just can’t express how proud I am of our little club and how much it has grown in such a short time.  Thank you all for coming on board and supporting us to give you what you want, to make this the best car club we can, for you.

    We had our final club meeting for the year at Waverley BMW in December, thank you to the Staff there for looking after us and showing us around the dealership, what an amazing place!  Keep an eye on the 2019 calendar, as we will do another meeting there to have a closer look at the drive-in-drive-out repair system and the wheel repairs they can do in house.  It was great catching up with the members that came along and won a few prizes too.  Remember, always bring your membership card to go in the barrel for a prize at all of our meetings.

    The first weekend of December was our first interstate inter-club event, with members from BMW Drivers Club NSW, BMW Car Club Canberra and our own BMWDCM members, all meeting in Albury for a two-day run through the high country on fantastic driving roads, up and down the mountains.  It was a great weekend away and one we will definitely do again next year!  It was great to see friends from the other clubs and making new ones that share the passion for our wonderful cars.  If you missed this, put it in your calendar for next year, as we will be making it an annual inter-club event.  There were 2 different driving routes, one with more twists and turns for drivers to enjoy (not so sure all of the passengers would think they were as good though?) and the other more leisurely for those that came for the drive through some equally lovely countryside, without so many bends.  Read more of the stories about the events on the blog.

    The second weekend of December saw a few lucky Members at Phillip Island for the last round of our Driver’s Championship.  It was a very popular event so not many of our members were able to get a spot.  When considering your entry in our 2019 calendar, ensure you get in quick to avoid missing out.  Final results for the year will be up on the website soon.  Our 2019 Drivers' Championship calendar is now online.  Our Driver Training and Come and Try dates will be up soon too!  We have quite a few bookings in place to run our own events at tracks and other venues next year, we will also do a few events with AROCA to spread out the year.  The first round will be at Sandown with AROCA - entries are out now, so get your entry in, and we’ll see you there on 16 February.  If you don’t want to drive but still want to be involved, we need lots of people to get their CAMS Official’s licences and help us run the events.  There is no cost involved in getting an Official’s licence, but it is a great way to be involved and come and help your club and other members enjoy our shared passion.  Call or email me if you want to now more about becoming a CAMS Official.

    In December we also had an impromptu coffee, cake and cars meeting at Cooee Café in Capel Sound.  It was a great spot and we will be using them again for a coffee stop on runs down the Peninsula.  There was plenty of parking, fantastic meals and great coffee.

    I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and have a safe and Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing you at one of our events in 2019.  We have lots of very special events in the planning for new year and beyond, so keep an eye on the calendar and emails so you don’t miss any of them.  The first one being the Eastlink Great Australian Rally to Cruden Farm - one not to miss, there will be some amazing cars there to see, both from our club and others.

    Thank you all for a fantastic start to the club’s life, we look forward to seeing you in 2019!

    Take care and drive safe.

    Graeme Bell | President
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc.

    P.O. Box 81, TYABB, VICTORIA. 3913
    Incorporated in Victoria #A0102695G
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc is a member of:
    BMW Clubs Australia and the BMW Clubs International Council
    CAMS Affiliated Motorsport Club

  • 21 Dec 2018 2:06 PM | Anonymous

    A highlight to start the season: BMW Team Schnitzer and Walkenhorst Motorsport preparing for Bathurst.

    The BMW M6 GT3 will be appearing in the upcoming Intercontinental GT Challenge season as part of the BMW Motorsport programme. BMW Team Schnitzer and Walkenhorst Motorsport will each compete with one car in the opening race of the global race series in Bathurst (AUS) on 3rd February 2019. Three BMW drivers will be sharing each cockpit. 

    Both BMW teams have plenty of momentum as they approach the legendary “Mount Panorama” in south-eastern Australia. BMW Team Schnitzer claimed victory at the FIA GT World Cup in mid-November – and intends to build on this strong performance at Bathurst. As he was in Macau (CHN), Augusto Farfus (BRA) will be at the wheel of the #42 BMW M6 GT3 in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. His team-mates will be Martin Tomczyk (GER) and local hero Chaz Mostert (AUS). Last year, BMW Team Schnitzer secured pole position at Bathurst, but the BMW M6 GT3 then had to retire early from the race.

    “Bathurst is one of the best circuits in the world,” said Farfus. “Last year, we had a good weekend there overall but were unable to top it off with a good result. However, we still learned a lot in 2018. So, I think we are well set for the race in February. We have certainly set ourselves some ambitious targets.”

    The greatest triumph thus far in the history of Walkenhorst Motorsport came with victory at the Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) 24-hour race in 2018. The team, headed by principal Henry Walkenhorst (GER), is now taking on the new IGTC challenge. Christian Krognes (NOR) will be one of the drivers, accompanied by the BMW works drivers Nick Catsburg (NED) and Mikkel Jensen (DEN). Jensen made the step up from the BMW Motorsport Junior Programme in 2018.

    Catsburg added: “Bathurst has long been on my to-do list – and now I will be competing there for the very first time. I am really looking forward to it. I am familiar with the circuit from the simulator and I have watched all the races from recent years. Christian Krognes and Mikkel Jensen are great drivers and Walkenhorst Motorsport has just had a sensational year. Now we are preparing intensively for this great event.”


    • 20 Dec 2018 9:04 PM | Anonymous

      BMW Group at the CES 2019 in Las Vegas. Virtual drive in the BMW Vision iNEXT.

      At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the BMW Group will showcase the future of driving pleasure and the potential of digital connectivity in a variety of different ways. From January 8-11 2019, visitors will have their first chance to take a virtual drive in the BMW Vision iNEXT, accompanied by the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.

      At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the BMW Group will showcase the future of driving pleasure and the potential of digital connectivity in a variety of different ways. From January 8-11 2019, visitors will have their first chance to take a virtual drive in the BMW Vision iNEXT, accompanied by the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. In this way, the BMW Group is underlining its innovative capabilities in the fields of design, automated driving, connectivity, electrification, and services (D+ACES), which are all defined as key areas of future activity in its corporate strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT.

      The vision vehicle will be displayed alongside a sophisticated mixed-reality installation that, for the first time, provides a virtual and immersive impression of what it is like to drive autonomously, emission-free, and fully connected in the BMW Vision iNEXT. To begin the simulation, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant suggests an agenda for the day and plans the activities for the trip perfectly. With virtual reality goggles and a specially-designed spatial concept, visitors are able to immerse themselves in this virtual world: Initially, they drive the BMW Vision iNEXT themselves, but the vehicle soon takes over the driving function. In autonomous “Ease” mode, the driver interacts with the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, which makes suggestions and controls various digital services for the driver – from videoconferencing, to shopping, to smart home functions.

      With its ground-breaking technology for highly automated driving, intelligent connectivity, and innovative display control concepts, the BMW Vision iNEXT showcases totally new ways to utilize driving time. Visitors can explore the fundamental design principle referred to as “Shy Tech” – discretely integrated technology that only becomes visible when needed – directly, thanks to two further exhibits outside the vehicle. The interior of the BMW Vision iNEXT is designed as a mobile environment that enhances quality of life. This “Favorite Space” answers the question: “What will cars look like when they no longer have to be driven by a person, but still can be?”

        The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant marks the dawn of a new era for the BMW brand, using natural language for interaction with the vehicle and to access functions. In the new BMW X5 visitors can check out the functions that will be available for new models from March 2019, along with selected future capabilities of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. The personal assistant is also an integral part of the stand concept. It welcomes visitors at the entrance to the stand and guides them to the center of the exhibition through sound and light experiences.

        The BMW Group presence at the CES 2019 is completed by spectacular outdoor vehicle presentations. BMW Motorrad will demonstrate one of its research highlights in the field of automated driving: a self-riding BMW R 1200 GS. The insights gained with this test bike will help provide even better assistance with difficult maneuvers in the future. For the first time, visitors can also take a seat in the all-new, first-ever BMW X7 and enjoy being driven through an impressive off-road course.


      • 19 Dec 2018 8:53 PM | Anonymous

        Rebirth in Dingolfing: The BMW 1600 GT convertible.

        The vehicle collection of BMW Group Classic is now richer by another unique special. This is all thanks to the vocational training team at the BMW plant in Dingolfing. The apprentices restored the BMW 1600 GT convertible in a project lasting several years under the guidance of their trainers. The four-seater painted in silver has a red hood and its unusual history makes it a revealing representative of the time when the company BMW made the transition from being a niche automaker to a mass-production car manufacturer enjoying steady growth in success and an international reputation.

        The classic car now radiates a new lustre. It is the only surviving example of originally two prototypes that BMW commissioned from the Italian bodywork designer Pietro Frua. In autumn of 1967, both automobiles left the production buildings in Dingolfing for the first time. The test drives for one of the vehicles came to an end with an accident and the vehicle was then scrapped. The second car was granted a special honour. The BMW 1600 GT convertible was handed over to the major shareholder in BMW AG at the time, Herbert Quandt. It remained in the hands of the family for many years and was then passed on to other private owners. A fashion model from Munich enjoyed the wind coursing through her hair as she drove along in the open-top BMW and the rare treasure was then acquired by a businessman from Fürth in Franconia, and subsequently found a new home at the Munich-based Allianz Centre for Engineering.

        Major restoration work was carried out there on the BMW 1600 GT for the first time so as to ensure that the car was preserved for posterity. When the experts from BWM Group Classic became aware of the unique special from Dingolfing and they succeeded in agreeing an acquisition, a plan emerged to return the automobile to its original condition at the very place where it first saw the light of day. The restoration at the Dingolfing plant became a project that formed part of the training of apprentices who were aspiring to become bodywork and vehicle construction mechanics.

          BMW Group Classic supported the project in a number of ways including the expanded options for procuring original parts that had recently become available. Furthermore, replicas of numerous components that were no longer obtainable were painstakingly remanufactured.

          The rebirth of the BMW 1600 GT convertible in Dingolfing also rekindled memories of a particularly exciting chapter in the history of BMW. When the two-door car came into existence, the company had just taken over the Dingolfing vehicle manufacturer Glas in that same year. Since 1955, the company had successfully produced the Goggomobile. In 1964, Glas launched the sporty, elegant Glas 1300 GT styled by Frua in the marketplace and one year later the more powerful Glas 1700 GT. Glas was looking for a strong partner and the automaker initially agreed a joint-distribution operation with BMW but this ultimately led to a complete takeover by the Munich company. The compact sports car was then fitted with the rear axle, the seats and the 77 kW/105 hp engine from the BMW 1600 TI, a BMW kidney grille for the front end of the automobile and the round headlights from the BMW 02 Series.

          The idea of placing the sporty coupé alongside a convertible came from the USA. A proposal was made by the importer Max Hoffmann to develop a new version of the coupé with a 2.0 litre engine and an open-top version. In October 1967, Frua delivered a convertible body mounted on a strengthened floor assembly. This was then painted in Dingolfing where all further assembly work took place. On 16 November, the BMW 1600 GT convertible was entered in the plant’s production book as being completed. However, the plans for series production and export to the USA never came to fruition.

          Only a single example of the Italian-Bavarian convertible was ever licensed for driving on public roads. 51 years after the first automobile was manufactured, its second production was registered. This time the completion of the car’s restoration was celebrated to give BMW Group Classic another gem for its collection.

          BMW PRESS CLUB

        • 17 Dec 2018 12:54 PM | Anonymous

          24 Hours of Daytona: Alessandro Zanardi completes first test with BMW Team RLL at the Daytona International Speedway.

          Preparations for Alessandro Zanardi’s (ITA) guest appearance at the 24-hour race at Daytona (USA) have entered the critical phase. On Saturday, the BMW works driver completed the first test with BMW Team RLL at the Daytona International Speedway in the US state of Florida. Zanardi will be competing in the BMW Team RLL #24 BMW M8 GTE at the classic endurance race (26th/27th January 2019).

          The “Rolex 24” traditionally marks the start of the season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IMSA series). In 2019, BMW Team RLL will once again be represented in the GTLM class of the series by the BMW M8 GTEs bearing numbers 24 and 25. In the 24-hour race, Zanardi will share the #24 BMW M8 GTE cockpit with the two regular drivers, John Edwards (USA) and Jesse Krohn (FIN), as well as Chaz Mostert (AUS).

          At the first Daytona test, on the very track where they will be competing together in the “Rolex 24” in just a few weeks, Zanardi and BMW Team RLL had the opportunity to get to know one another better and test the BMW M8 GTE that has been modified to meet his requirements. In addition to the normal pedals for Zanardi’s team-mates, the car also features a handbrake lever that allows the Italian driver, a double leg-amputee, to brake by hand. He also has his own steering wheel, which will be installed during the driver change, and allows him to use a throttle ring to accelerate.

            The test at Daytona took place in changeable conditions. There were some rain showers and periods when the drivers were able to experience a dry track. Zanardi and Edwards shared the cockpit for the test. They also concentrated on improving the driver changeover. The objective is to complete the switch as quickly as possible between Zanardi and his non-disabled team-mate.

            “Well, first let me tell you that I felt very welcomed by BMW Team RLL. It’s great to be part of such a great and professional organisation,” said Zanardi. “And I have to say that initially when I arrived, I was pretty impressed by the size of the facility. It really looks like the kingdom of motorsports here and it was quite intimidating. Of course I am here to serve BMW, but I am also here to enjoy myself and that’s definitely the case. And in doing the job to the best of my ability I can certainly achieve both things.”

            “During the long day of testing we faced quite a few challenges,” Zanardi continued. “There was the rain, I had to learn the car, I had to learn the circuit, and then again had to learn the circuit in the dry because I did not run with slicks until I went out in the dark in the evening. Of course it was difficult to negotiate all the braking points and all the different lines in the dark and the last thing I wanted to do was to make mistake and to damage the car. Overall I am extremely satisfied with the outcome, with what I have personally learned. I think all that we did was very useful, we were able to complete the programme and bring home a lot of useful information. So all in all it was a very positive day for me, the team and BMW M Motorsport – and we will progress from it.”

            In the #25 car, Tom Blomqvist (GBR), Connor De Phillippi (USA) and Colton Herta (USA) continued preparations for the 24-hour race and the 2019 IMSA season. Blomqvist and De Phillippi are the two regular BMW Team RLL drivers in that car. At the 24-hour race, the duo will be supported by Herta and BMW DTM driver Philipp Eng (AUT).

            After a short Christmas and New Year break for Zanardi, his fellow drivers, the BMW Team RLL and BMW M Motorsport, they will be back at work at Daytona on the first weekend in January. The “Roar Before the Rolex 24”, the official pre-event test ahead of the 24-hour race, is scheduled to take place from 4th to 6th January.

            BMW PRESS CLUB

          • 14 Dec 2018 9:31 PM | Anonymous

            BMW Group extends mobility service offer in China by launching a Ride-Hailing business based in Chengdu.

            Today, the BMW Group announced the launch of its Ride-Hailing service in Chengdu, the capital city of the Chinese province Sichuan as part of its premium mobility brand ReachNow. The BMW Group is the first foreign company in China to obtain a license to operate a Ride-Hailing service. By adding an additional premium mobility option to its existing Car-Sharing business in China, the company seeks to further expand its mobility services offering.

            “We are excited to offer our new premium Ride-Hailing service in Chengdu, one of the largest Ride-Hailing hubs in the world embracing mobility solutions for a sustainable urban future” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, Rolls-Royce, BMW Motorrad, Customer Engagement and Digital Business Innovation BMW Group. “Half our fleet of 200 BMW 5 Series are sustainable plug-in-hybrid vehicles and our highly skilled and trained drivers will ensure an exciting premium mobility experience,” he added.

            The Ride-Hailing service will complement the current ReachNow Car-Sharing business which was started in Chengdu in partnership with EVCARD in December 2017 and runs a fleet of 100 BMW i3 electric vehicles. The new Ride-Hailing service offers an additional mobility solution for those who do not wish to get behind the wheel themselves, but would rather book a car with driver. Customers can use the BMW ReachNow App to either pre-book or instantly book a Ride-Hailing service.

            The BMW Group views the expansion of mobility services as an important pillar of its Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT. With service offerings for on-demand mobility (DriveNow and ReachNow), parking (ParkNow) and charging (ChargeNow), the BMW Group is establishing a holistic ecosystem for the most pressing issues affecting urban mobility. The new business models tap into new customer groups and respond to the demands of its existing customers who appreciate individual, premium on-demand mobility exactly tailored to their requirements.

            BMW Group expands footprint in China
            The expansion of mobility services in China represents one of numerous strategic investments announced this year in China.

            In 2018 the BMW Group has further expanded its footprint and the scale of its commercial success in China. The BMW Group announced together with its partner Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. (CBA) the early extension of the joint venture contract for BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) and the further deepening of the existing successful collaboration. Furthermore, the BMW Group intends to increase its stake in BBA from 50 percent to 75 percent. BBA will be investing more than three billion euros in its plants in Shenyang over the next few years. In 2020 the first fully-electric BMW - the all-electric BMW iX3 – will be built in China and exported to markets outside of China.

            Additionally, the BMW Group has signed an agreement with the Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor to produce electric MINI vehicles in China through a mutual 50:50 joint venture. As well as electric MINI vehicles, the "Spotlight Automotive Limited" joint venture will also produce electric vehicles for Great Wall Motor. The establishment of the new company is subject to approval by the relevant Chinese authorities and the finalisation of business registration procedures.

            BMW PRESS CLUB

            • 14 Dec 2018 8:36 PM | Anonymous
              December Members Meeting | Waverley BMW
              11 December 2018

              Waverley BMW hosted the December BMW Drivers Club meeting and Christmas function.  The showroom and back of house service facilities combine to provide a professional luxurious experience that is synonymous with the BMW brand.

              The extensive range of M series and other showroom cars aroused the interest of members and their partners.  The large workshop facilities were spotless and well appointed, offering everything from servicing, fault diagnosis to supplying and fitting new wheels and tyres, detailing packages and new vehicle preparation.  The service facility also included a high-tech spray booth and oven that enabled minor repairs including rectification of small dents, bumper bar scrapes, scratches and paint blemishes to be undertaken during programmed vehicle servicing.

              David O’Dywer’s impeccable Calypso red 840 series and Ewen McConachie’s, Targa Z4M were on display and looked very much at home alongside two of BMW i8’s.

              Jo Mawson outlined some of the activities planned for 2019 and recounted the highlights of the first 9-10 months of the new club one impressive achievement for the inaugural year of the club is that membership has hit 273.  The dedicated committee and their support crews can rightly be very proud of what has been accomplished.  As club members and their partners enjoyed the festivities, raffle prize winners included Steven Garth, Theo Hoff, Andrew Brown and Bruce Paris.

              Overall there is little doubt that all members of the BMWDC Melbourne are winners; belonging to a club that delivers activities that enable us to enjoy our passion with other like-minded enthusiasts. 

              Bill Bardsley 
               Member #58
              BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

            • 12 Dec 2018 1:24 PM | Anonymous

              Diesel technology: BMW models gain top marks for pollutant readings in ADAC EcoTest.

              Diesel models from BMW were awarded top marks for their nitrogen oxide readings in the real-world road test conducted by the ADAC in Germany.

              Diesel models from BMW were awarded top marks for their nitrogen oxide readings in the real-world road test conducted by the ADAC in Germany. The following models scored maximum points in the emissions section of the ADAC EcoTest and were graded as outstanding:

              • BMW 520d Touring (fuel consumption combined*: 4.8-4.7 l/100 km [58.9-60.1 mpg imp], CO2 emissions combined*: 125-123 g/km; figures as at 06.12.2018)
              • BMW 218d Active Tourer Steptronic (fuel consumption combined*: 4.5 l/100 km [62.7 mpg imp], CO2 emissions combined*: 119 g/km; figures as at 10.12.2018)
              • BMW X1 sDrive 18d Steptronic (fuel consumption combined*: 4.6 l/100 km [61.3 mpg imp], CO2 emissions combined*: 121 g/km; figures as at 10.12.2018)

              The EcoTest organised by the ADAC (the German automobile association) is a rigorous testing procedure that subjects vehicles to a thorough examination, including measuring their pollutant emissions in real-world road driving. A trio of diesel models from BMW recently achieved the best possible score of 50 marks, resulting in the award of grade ‘1’ for outstanding. The BMW 520d Touring performed superbly in the nitrogen oxide tests, with a reading of less than 16 mg/km in urban driving and under 10 mg/km in rural driving and on the motorway. The maximum allowed is 168 mg/km. The ADAC had the following to say about the BMW X1 sDrive 18d Steptronic: “BMW is dealing extremely well with the issue of emissions. There are no abnormal figures for any type of pollutant, and the nitrogen oxide emissions are so low they could even be a record. Even the sensitive measuring equipment used for the test barely managed to detect any emissions in some cases.”

                BMW models have performed comparatively well in nitrogen oxide emission tests in the past, too. This was the case, for example, in the real-world road test conducted by German motoring magazine auto, motor und sport (issue 19 from 23 March 2017) and the many follow-up tests carried out by authorities in countries including France, Korea and Japan. Here, the respective BMW models obtained some of the best results.

                The ADAC test results are further proof that today’s BMW diesel models with state-of-the-art technology produce remarkably low emissions. Three factors, in particular, are key to achieving this:

                1. Many years of experience with and ongoing improvement of all the components used for reducing NOx emissions (e.g. exhaust gas recirculation, adsorption catalyst and SCR system).
                2. Use of the very latest exhaust gas aftertreatment technology.
                3. Matching the engine’s configuration to this cutting-edge exhaust gas aftertreatment technology at an early stage during the vehicle development process.
                Detailed results of the ADAC EcoTest can be found here

                BMW PRESS CLUB

              • 12 Dec 2018 12:29 PM | Anonymous
                Coffee, Cake & Cars Morning
                9 December 2018

                Sunday, 9 December turned out to be bright and sunny, despite the weather forecast predicting some showers.

                We had a lovely drive down to the Cooee Café in Capel Sounds, who were celebrating their first birthday.  Free coffee and birthday cake were given out to all who came into the café and there was a really warm friendly vide happening.  They also offered a $20 all you can eat buffet breakfast, which I think most of our members took up.  Very yummy.

                We had a great turn out of BMWs, a Tiguan and an amazingly restored Impala, owned by Simon Lyne, which got lots of interest on the day.

                We are a club of car enthusiast, not just BMWs, so remember we welcome all makes and models, even motor bikes at most of our events, so if you are unsure what you can bring, just give us a call and we will let you know.

                Look out for our next coffee morning and be sure to bring your favourite ride along to show to us all.

                Jo Mawson Member #2
                BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

              • 11 Dec 2018 2:07 PM | Anonymous
                High Country Weekend with BMWDCNSW & BMWCCC

                Day 1 | Friday, 30 November 2018

                During the afternoon of Friday, 30 November 2018, members of the BMW Drivers Club Melbourne (BMWDCM), BMW Drivers Club NSW (BMWDCNSW) and BMW Car Club Canberra (BMWCCC), gathered at the Atura Hotel in Albury.  Club members had rendezvoused at the hotel ahead of the following two days of driving the roads of the Victorian High Country.  In all, some 30 members and their partners arrived at the hotel.

                The pre-dinner socialising was an excellent opportunity for the renewing of friendships and the making of new ones.  The task made all the easier by the groups common love of the BMW marque and their enthusiasm for driving cars, especially over challenging terrain.

                Dinner was a delicious smorgasbord provided by the hotel and presented a further opportunity to talk about our beloved cars and to get to know more about each other’s diverse backgrounds.  That said, most members had a relatively early night as we had an early morning start to a long day’s drive before overnighting in Bright.

                As a member of the BMWCCC, I would like to thank the event organisers from the Melbourne and NSW Clubs for an excellent start to the weekend.

                Ian Cartwright
                BMW Car Club Canberra

                Day 2 | Saturday, 1 December 2018

                Saturday, the first day of summer and the beginning of the planned drives. After breakfast, our day began pleasantly warm and sunny in the carpark of Atura Albury with a briefing from our drive leader, Peter Williams.  The participants for the twisty course signed themselves in, while the two participants in the scenic drive organised themselves for a relaxed cruise through Beechworth and onto Bright.

                Peter’s initial advice that getting out of Albury on the way to Mitta Mitta would be our greatest navigational challenge today, proved to be prophetic when nearly half of the convoy got lost within the first 3km of the journey!  Luckily though, we were still within radio range and managed to coordinate a meeting point just on the border of the city limits, from which the convoy (in its new pecking order) managed an easy cruise alongside Lake Hume to our first break in the village of Mitta Mitta.

                With the weather beginning to warm up, our refreshment break at the Mitta Mitta Hotel was very relaxing.  The pub had decorated its back patio with car parts and memorabilia, which was very worthy of perusal.  Maybe at this time, some of the passengers were still blissfully unaware of the adventures to come, as conversation was animated and people eager to see what would come next.

                Omeo was our next stop, about 100km away, and the road rapidly shifted to one of nigh-endless turns, most signposted at 35-45km/h. Our convoy rapidly separated into the eager and energetic drivers, and those others who weren’t so enthusiastic!  The road conditions and surfaces were very well maintained and predictable, and a credit to Victorian road quality.  Besides the corner signposting, we were also told about decreasing radius turns, and had sufficient information about the best way to take most of the corners we encountered.

                The M vehicles in the group were pushing for the lead, but I managed to keep up with the mid-pack in my 4 cylinder 328i for most of the stint, until passenger car-sickness reared its head and we had to slow down for awhile.  The arrival of slow turns was so constant over this stretch that only the most ironclad constitutions in the passenger seat went unaffected.  Those of us driving just revelled in exercising our BMWs through this course at legal speeds, sharing the experience with like-minded enthusiasts.

                A lengthy lunch stop in Omeo allowed us all to relax and take stock of how clear and fulfilling the last stint had been, before gathering up again for another stretch to the ski resort of Mt. Hotham.  Not as technical as getting to Omeo, but challenging and rewarding nonetheless.  Not so many people up there, but this meant there was plenty of space to park all the cars in the convoy and get a few pictures.

                Graeme from BMWDCM had brought a drone, which took some spectacular pictures of the cars and the Members on this journey. The day stayed sunny and bright, which really enhanced the experience of making this journey with friends and colleagues.

                After all the effort put into getting up to Mt. Hotham, the trip down to Bright was relatively easy, but still involved a number of photo and video opportunities on the way down.

                Overnight was at the Ovens Valley Motor Inn in Bright, which was a short walk or drive to our restaurant for the evening, a multi-course degustation at The Elm in Bright.  We filled two separate rooms in the restaurant, which meant a bit of to-and-fro to catch up with everyone in a boisterous environment.

                Sean McKone 
                BMW Drivers Club NSW

                Day 3 | Sunday, 2 December 2018

                Unlike the previous day, where sweeping back the curtain in your room revealed blinding sunlight - this morning instead opened to a heavy blanket of clouds gently drizzling over a wet landscape.  You’d think that this would have put a damper on the day’s activities, but despite the rain several people found the time and enthusiasm to ‘warm up’ their cars with a quick jaunt up to Mt Beauty before the morning’s hearty breakfast back at the delightful little Ovens Valley Motor Inn.

                Coming back from Mt Beauty into the motel, I was struck by the sheer number of club cars that filled the motel lot.  With the exception of about one other odd car, the rest were all ours.  It was such a sight.  So many BMWs old and new (and Greg’s Honda Civic Type R just for good measure).

                The sun came out and by the time breakfast was done and we’d briefed for the day the roads were looking much dryer.  We saddled up and headed to Mt Buffalo.  The road was a great hill climb of twisty switching corners all the way up.  Peter’s calls from the front as guide vehicle were impeccable.

                Getting up there we were greeted with spectacular views of the valleys, watching the play of sun and shadow as clouds moved over the terrain.  It was warm in the sun but freezing when it disappeared.  We all walked around, with warming cups of coffee and tea from a little food truck, exploring the summit.  The Chalet (literally what it’s called) perched right at the top was a grand old building.  It was shut, and had been for years, but peering in it was easy to imagine how nice it would be sitting on the couches in front of those big windows looking out over the world.  Of note, the gardens around the chalet are well maintained and were a beautiful riot of colour.

                There was quite a lot of time before departure to our lunch destination.  Whilst some were happy to keep walking around exploring, others decided that naturally the best way to spend that time was with more driving.  Soon cars could be heard roaring off back down the mountain.  40 minutes later we all regrouped and headed off.

                We arrived at the Happy Valley Hotel for a solid pub lunch.  The mood was good, this was our last point on the map before it was time to all make our own way home.  It had been a great weekend.  People slowly started departing, lots of goodbyes taking place.  Eventually of the 17 or so cars, there remained 5 that headed back to Melbourne.  Sunday afternoon provided its own set of great roads and lovely afternoon sun to drive along with.  All in all, a great time.

                Simeon Taylor
                BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

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