BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

  • 28 Aug 2021 10:43 PM | Anonymous

    Event date: early hours of 28 August 2021

    For those of you who couldn't stay up late last night, you missed a great catch up with Eva and the BMW Clubs and Community Management Team in Munich.

    Members were invited to join in the video hook up for the first of what will become a monthly casual catch up with the BCCM Team to keep up to date with what is going on and coming up in the world of BMW.

    Last night we met the team and had a tour of the display housed in the original BMW building that is open for members to go and see, once we can travel again.

    We have been there a few times and it is well worth the visit if you get the chance. But for now, it's great to be able to have a video tour of the facility and see some of the cars that make up the BMW Classic Collection, as well as catch up for a chat with the people that run the BMW Club network worldwide.

    The BMW Collection comprises more than 1,500 cars and bikes a couple of boats and even an Aeroplane, but there are only a hundred or so on display at any one time. It is very interesting to note that nearly all of these cars and bikes on display are registered for use on the roads and are often used for displays and historic events. Some are even raced in historic race meeting still.

    Was great seeing the new Motorrad gallery, that has been added since we were last there, too.

    We will let members know when the next hook up is scheduled, and you too can log in and have a chat with the team. They were very happy to answer questions and asked if there is anything we would specifically like to see to let them know.

    Graeme Bell | Member #1
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne 

  • 27 Aug 2021 1:14 PM | Anonymous

    At our presentation dinner earlier this year, we had a raffle with the prizes being paid for by money provided from BMW Australia under BMW’s BMW Club and Community Management Support Program.  The funds raised from raffling such items have to be donated to charity.  The committee decided to send off the proceeds of the raffle as a donation of $535 to The Smith Family.  We received a thank you letter from The Smith Family and information that our donation was being used for the Student 2 Student Literacy Program.

    Children cannot choose their circumstances.

    For one in six Australian children and young people growing up in poverty can limit their choices, opportunities and outcomes in life.

    Investing in the education of a disadvantaged child delivers long-term positive benefits for them, their family and potentially generations to come.

    As Australia’s largest national education-oriented charity, The Smith Family support disadvantaged Australian children to participate fully in their education, giving them the best chance at breaking the cycle of disadvantage. The learning support and mentoring programs help children in need to fit in at school, keep up with their peers, and build aspirations for a better future for themselves.

    Disadvantaged children often miss out on developing the building blocks of early learning. Children who are read to more frequently at an early age enter school with larger vocabularies and more advanced comprehension skills (Mol & Bus, 2011). Yet without books to stimulate learning in the home, or encouragement from a parent who is aware of its importance, disadvantaged children often don’t have the same shared reading time with their parents or carers as their more advantaged peers.

    {The Growing Up in Australia study has found that up to 35% of lower social-economic households have less than 30 books, 10 % less than 10, for children to read and up to 20% of these children were not read to by their parents in the week preceding interview. 93 % of higher socio-economic households have over 30 books}

    Alarmingly, disadvantaged children are already well behind their peers by age four, and by age six, many are around seven times more likely than other children to be doing badly at school. Providing early learning resources and support in the home is vital for a child’s future potential. The reading gap in primary school between the lowest socio-economic students (SES) and the highest SES is equivalent to almost 3 yrs of schooling.

    The literacy foundations built by children during their primary and early secondary years are crucial to their ability to do well at school. Research identifies a clear link between the development of cognitive skills such as literacy and numeracy at an early age and higher levels of education achievement, greater employability, higher earnings and greater social participation.

    The Smith Family Student2Student program

    Our student2student program works by matching students who need to improve their reading with peer buddies who help and encourage them with their reading. Peer support is central to the program’s success. Evidence indicates that one of the best ways to support students who have reading difficulties is for the help to come from others near their own age.

    student2student involves three groups of participants:

    • Students in Years 3 to 8 assessed as being up to two years behind in their reading development and want additional support to improve their reading.
    • Reading buddies with good literacy skills who are at least two years older than the student. The buddies are trained by The Smith Family to help their students develop reading confidence and skills, using the ‘Pause, Prompt, Praise’ reading support method. 
    • Volunteer Supervisors who provide support for up to 10 reading buddies, helping them with problems and ensuring that they are supporting the students effectively.

    Each student and buddy receives an identical book pack from The Smith Family. The reading buddy then telephones the student two to three times a week for at least 20 minutes, over an 18 week period. The student reads to the buddy, who uses the skills learnt in their training to assist the student with their reading and offer encouragement and praise. The buddy keeps a simple record of each phone call and reports progress to a Volunteer Supervisor fortnightly. Student2student operates nationally via landlines, mobile phones and digital.

  • 17 Aug 2021 5:21 PM | Anonymous

    Event date: 31 July 2021

    At the start of this year at the age of 52 I decided I needed to live life a bit more courageously and among the list of things I have done included changing jobs, creating new friendship groups, buying my first BMW and then coming to the Come and Try Track day held at Broadford last month.  

    I was terrified. I am not a car person.  I bought my brand new BMW XI M-Sport because the boot has push button close, it fits my two dogs comfortably, I love the heated seats and massive moon roof and feel at my age where I have put everyone in front of me (husband, kids etc) for the past 20 years that I deserved something nice.  I also had my 18 year-old son doing his best lobbying to direct my choice of car purchase.  Pester power just gets stronger as kids get old I am sure. But I am glad he did as I love it and I love driving my car. 

    The night before Broadford though I finally really closely read through the fine print of the day’s requirements.  I totally freaked out.  What had I signed up for if you need a helmet, stickers on your car (what about my paint work?) and even fire extinguishers.  I thought the day would be a little zip around the track, a few chats with new friends, and the chance to buy some fun merchandise.   I called Jo Mawson, who has been so encouraging and supportive of me and she assured me all would be ok. 

    My son Daniel and I had both signed up to attend.  He has only had his Red P Plates since January and is a confident driver so I was keen for him to have some coaching from the volunteers.  We were really thrilled at the start of the day that Daniel was announced as winner of the scholarship for the day.  He wrote about how he had strongly encouraged me to buy the BMW – we test drove dozens of cars across all brands over every weekend in January when I was looking.

    I could not believe when I arrived how friendly, supportive and patient everyone was – and willing to help calm my nerves.  It was lovely and I felt welcome and my lack of car knowledge didn’t matter at all.  Daniel and I were coached by terrific volunteer Anton (thank you) who taught us both how to manoeuvre around the track, forgetting traditional road rule standards (ie you can drive anywhere on the road if there isn’t a blue flag) but focussing heavily on keeping us safe on a race track.  By my third lap session I was feeling a lot more confident.  I loved it totally. It was amazing how exhausting driving for 15 minutes can be though – and in normal times I commute 40 minutes along the Calder Freeway and Bulla Road to work each day so didn’t think it would affect me at all. 

    Taking part in Broadford was a bucket list achievement for me but I am adding it back on and now have a goal to drive all of the tracks for Come and Try days.

    If you haven’t done a Come and Try day and if you aren’t a car enthusiast, or even own at BMW you should still give it a go – just like us.  There’s young people who are building up their own cars they are making themselves, real car pros, people who just love getting out and about, people who love BMW and people like me who just bought a car and wanted to do something different in their life this year.  I hope to meet you there at the next Come and Try day. 

    Nicole Laurie | Member #690
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne 

  • 13 Aug 2021 7:14 PM | Anonymous

    Today I enjoyed some of the extra benefits that being a member of the BMWDCM brings.  I will start by letting you all know that I am that 50+ year old that loves these cars, doesn't need a GPS (it's in my head), will have a go at fixing most things, and suffers from very high testosterone levels which leads to male pattern baldness, so no blonde moments here.

    Anyway I was at my local service station this morning and taking my red rocket for a run to stretch her legs as the day was what can only be described as a beautiful spring day in winter.  Removing the nozzle from the pump housing I attempted to open the fuel latch but it would not budge.  I spent 15 embarrassing minutes trying to open the bloody thing.  I ended up giving up my manhood and made a call to those that should know. 

    Firstly I went right to the top to ask some troubleshooting advice from our president.  I think he must have my number in his phone and when I call it comes up with "pest".  He chose not to answer.  Not letting this deter me I made a call to the V.P who answered my mayday call.  Jo made "the pres" talk to me after I explained my predicament.  The conversations that transpired and instructions following I have been asked to tone down to a "G rating" for the wider reading group. 

    Anyway, the solution was to manually override the locking mechanism for the fuel flap.  To do this, I was advised to open the boot, look for a small cut out on the drivers side boot liner at the rear of the wheel arch just behind the line of the fuel flap.  Anyway,  so I merely had to insert my finger into the hole and press the magic little button (the override button) which resulted in "the release of the flap".  

    Success and a beautiful day cruising around.

    Thank you both very much.

    Andrew Dickson | Member #248
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne 

  • 1 Aug 2021 11:00 AM | Anonymous


    Dear members

    July began with round 6 of our Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship at Philip Island.  We saw many new and familiar faces and all seasons in the one day.  It was Shannon and his dad's first time at the Island in their new E30.  They had quite the eventful day, which you can read about here.


    We then had our July members meeting at Waverley BMW where we were joined by the 540d Touring Highway Patrol car on display for our members to see. We raised over $300 on the night for the Blue Ribbon Foundation so thank you all to our very generous members who helped support another worthy charity. 


    Unfortunately we then went into another lockdown and we had to cancel our Christmas in July event for the second year in a row.  We're really sad to have to postpone one of our favourite events again and we're hoping that we will be able to hold it soon.  Any excuse to get the Christmas outfits out!


    We wrapped up July with our delayed Broadford Come and Try/Driver Training Day yesterday. We had good registration numbers and it was a fun day as always. 



    Welcome to our new memberLeon Puszka, Prakash Shrestha, John Nauta, Jim Suggate, Tim Trainor, Emily Trainor, Joseph Barbieri, Sam Marsh, Yuanlin Zhou, Guy Allen, Andrew Hayward and Errol Stubblety. 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 August:

    Sunday, 1 August
    2021 Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship | Round 7 at Broadford
    Good luck to those competing at Broadford today!

    Tuesday, 10 August
    August Members Meeting via Zoom
    Please join us for an informal meeting from your home where we can all just catch up with all the upcoming events and what has been happening in the club.

    Sunday, 15 August
    Coffee & Cars Beaumaris
    All members and non-members are welcome to join us for the morning at Flavours Patisserie Cafe in Beaumaris.

    Saturday, 21 August
    2021 Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship | Round 8 at Phillip Island 
    Phillip Island is a very popular track, get your entries in quick to avoid disappointment! 

    Sunday, 22 August
    Maling Road - Autoclassico
    Visit the event page to register your interest now.  We are strictly limited to the number of cars that can attend.

    Sunday, 29 August
    German Auto Show at Sandown
    German Auto Show brings the best German vehicles together in Melbourne in one spot, with some of the quirky and now defunct brands being included.

    It is a great setting, raising funds for a good cause, and with lots of interesting vehicles to look at and fascinating company.

    Be sure to keep an eye on our calendar to stay up to date with our events.

    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. 

    NEWS & BLOG 


    Have you seen our classifieds page?

    Want to sell something?  Looking for a specific item?  Email us today to list your car/parts/anything BMW related!


    Taking one day at a time is all we can do.  We can't go back to yesterday, we can’t predict tomorrow. Focus on today and take the day as it comes.

    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:

    All Commercial/All Residential Real Estate
    Bell Motorsport

    Berwick BMW

    BM Tech

    Creative Custom Cars
    German Auto Haus

    Mornington BMW

    Shannons Insurance
    South Yarra BMW

    Southern BM

    Traction Tyres

    Waverley BMW

    Zagame Autobody

  • 31 Jul 2021 5:00 PM | Anonymous


    Dear Members,

    Hi and welcome back again for another report just out of lockdown.

    Sadly, we are getting used to these snap lockdowns and they are playing havoc with our social and motorsport schedules.

    July started with our Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship Round 6 at Philip Island, and we had a fabulous turnout considering we had every season in one on the day as well. Thank you to all who attended, as it was a wild and woolly day, with breaks of sunshine interspersed with arctic winds and rain but everyone stuck it out and still had a lot of fun.

    6 July was our members meeting at Waverley BMW with the BMW 540d touring Highway Patrol car on display for our members to get up close and personal with.  We had some items for sale and raffle care of the Blue-Ribbon Foundation and by the end of the night the tin was full.  We raised over $300 on the night so thank you all to our very generous members who helped support another worthy charity. The presentation by Sergeant Mark was very interesting and informative. You cannot hide from them these days, they can see you and know who you are long before you can see them.

    Then the incursion from north of the Border brought us to a screeching halt and dropped us into a 5-day circuit breaker lockdown, which ended up being 2 weeks. I guess we should be thankful that we are so used to following the lockdown rules and it did end up being a short stop, as we see our NSW friends aren't having the same luck. I feel for them, we did it last year for months on end and I'm sure none of us would want to go through that again.

    Christmas in July had to be postponed again, which was a shame but we do say postponed, not cancelled.  We will try to do this event later in the year.  Christmas in August or September possibly - watch out for event notices. Once we see what happens over the next few weeks we will try and squeeze it in somewhere.

    We wrapped up July with our Broadford Come and Try/Driver Training Day, which was supposed to be earlier in the month, but was moved due to lockdown.  Luckily we managed to secure 31 July.  We had good registration numbers, and it was a fun day as always.  Similarly, our Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship Round 7, that was to be on 18 July following our Come and Try Day, was pushed back two weeks as well and will be happening on 1 August.

    August is pretty well booked out and will be a very exciting month, with lots to keep us all busy and give you plenty of events to choose from, if you’d like to come and join us at one or more of them.

    On 7 August we have Winton Festival of Speed display (pending COVID rules allowing spectators). Keep an eye on event notice emails if you want to come to this, as we know, things can change pretty quickly.  This is a prime example of why you should register your interest in events so that if we need to change things, we know you are planning on coming and we can let you know.

    8 August is a one-day Race Meeting at Phillip Island for Round 5 of the E30 Racing Championship. Quite a few of our members will be down at the Island racing with the E30 Racing club and looks like a bumper field of entries for the one-day meeting. It was to be a normal two-day race meeting but due to restrictions in place at the moment the organisers decided to shorten it to one day, with the same number of races. It will be a very busy day for us!  

    On 10 August we have our August members meeting via Zoom. This will be a nice catch up meeting for a chat on Zoom.  We always try to get out and about for our meetings where we can but we thought it might be nice to do another zoom meeting to enable those that can’t get to physical meeting to attend and catch up with everyone too.

    On 15 August we have Coffee & Cars at Beaumaris (take two!). This was bumped back during Lockdown V4, looking forward to catching up with Christopher and sampling some of his delicious cakes!

    On 21 August we have Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship Round 8 back at Phillip Island again, entries opened last Friday, so get in quick, it always fills up very quickly! 

    On 22 August we have Maling Road Car Show, with very limited spots to display.  If you want to display in Maling Road send in your expression of interest as soon as possible.

    We'll finish August with German Auto Show on 29 August.  This is going to be HUGE! If you have a German car, bike, truck, plane, tank, race car, what-ever, bring it along and show the world. We will have trade stands, food and drink vendors, Shannons will be there, you name, it will be there.  We are even trying to organise some WW2 planes to do a fly-over. The German Auto Show has outgrown the space at St Kilda Road and we are running it this year for the VW Club so come along and help make it a fantastic day. All proceeds on the day go to Beyond Blue and thanks must go to Shannons for helping cover the cost of the day so that everything we make on the day will go to the very worth charity.

    If you are unable to attend but still want to donate, please use this link. 

    Other events to look out for:

    • 4 September - Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship Round 9 at Sandown, entries will be out soon.
    • 10 September - Port Fairy Whale watching weekend. Take 3, due to being postponed twice, we will try again to go and see some whales whilst they are still around. 
    • 23 October - Scenic Drive and Karting at Stony Creek, always a fun drive and afternoon on the go-kart track.
    • 26 October - Tassie tour. Looking forward to getting down to Tassie for a burn around the Island, it’s been too long, and if you have never been down there, you should com along. It is very beautiful, and the roads are amazing fun. There are a lot of people coming already, so it will be a fun week with a fantastic bunch of people, as always.

    As you can see above there is a lot to look forward to and we hope to see you all at one or more of them over the next few months.

    Coffee & cars will be at one of our club members’ cafe, so be sure to pop in and say hi to Chris and we will have vouchers for discount coffee and yummies.

    Our Tassie trip is filling up quickly so if you want to join us on this please register as soon as possible.

    We have some great new items in the online store, such as our new full size umbrellas and UHF radios with accessories to go with them too.  We thought it would make life easer for our members if we had the radio of choice in our store for you to order and pick up on the morning of the drive, or earlier if you wish.  Check out our store for other great items too.

    Our welfare team is up a ready to help anyone who might need help.  We would like to thank Shannon Cooper and family for supporting our team and enabling them to be able to offer as much support as we can moving forward. If you need someone to talk to or a shoulder to lean on, talk to one of our welfare team, they are available for anything you need help with.

    We would like to thank Makulu Storage for supporting our Come and Try days this year and sponsoring one driver each round. Nella Santisi was awarded the prize for our Sandown Come and Try day and Daniel Laurie won the prize for today's Broadford Come and Try day.  Well done both Nella and Daniel. 

    Membership is still growing, currently we have 624 members and we are so happy to see new faces out at our events each month, as well as the regulars.  It is fantastic to see the Club healthy and growing.

    You may have heard that our wonderful Vice President/Event Organiser/Energiser Bunny, Jo has been laid up lately. Jo had her second hip replacement two weeks ago and is slowly on the mend now.  It won’t be long and she will be back on her feet running and around again. We wish you all the best Jo, we all look forward to your recovery.

    I look forward to seeing you at an event soon and, as always, drive careful out there and take care.

    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

  • 28 Jul 2021 1:50 PM | Anonymous

    The BMW Drivers Club of Melbourne has been given the green light to run its Driver Training and Come & Try Day this weekend at the Broadford Motorcycle Complex.

    While it has been a fortnight of uncertainty surrounding whether the event will go ahead due to Victoria’s lockdown, the recent easing of the state’s restrictions has allowed the club to push on with its plans.

    Around 35 participants are locked in for the event, which aims at helping individuals get involved in the sport behind the wheel for the first time, as well as build the confidence of those who have already completed a number of come and try days.

    The day will see drivers split into multiple groups based on their experience and each group will enjoy multiple sessions on the complex’s short circuit, with the rookies to run with instructors.

    Club President Graeme Bell was thrilled the event could continue this weekend.

    “We’re really excited to be able to go ahead this weekend, especially since we had been planning on running it. It’s great to be able to put that hard work to use now,” Bell said.

    “These events are really good at bringing new people into motorsport and teaching them the fundamentals in a controlled environment where they drive safely at a speed that’s not too fast.

    “They also get the opportunity to go for a few laps with the instructors so they can get a real taste on racing lines, breaking points and other skills required to race.

    “We love doing these sorts of days because they have proven quite successful in the past and generally result in people joining the club to get into motorsport either as an official or as a competitor.”

    The day isn’t just focused on drivers. It’s also used as an opportunity to train officials who are looking to join the sport on the other side of the fence.

    Throughout the event, individuals will get an insight into many of the different roles required at race meetings, for which they use as a foundation in building a pathway through the sport.

    It isn’t just first-timers who utilise the club’s come and try day with the Victorian Flag Association often sending members to continue development and get necessary training in a stress-free environment.

    With 25 officials already part of the event, Bell was confident that events like this were instrumental in helping grassroots motorsport grow.

    “We use this day to train officials and give people a chance to taste life as an official,” Bell added.

    “Because it’s not timed or there isn’t anything riding on it, we can spend a little bit more time on all the areas of officiating and really help the participants. We quite often get people who loved it and come back again to be flaggies or scrutineers.

    “Events like this are really important for both sides of motorsport because at a meeting, it’s fairly hard to train officials as it’s always a busy environment, so if you can start them off in a more relaxed setting, then it gives them a taste without lots of pressure.

    “It’s fantastic that the Victorian Flag Association believes in these days and has trust in us to train their new members. It gives us plenty of confidence that we’re doing a good job.

    “The club has also had a focus on inviting junior drivers and women to these events. Earlier this year, we ran it in conjunction with International Women’s Day and a lot of those same women will be coming back again this weekend.”

    The event will run in line with current COVID restrictions and Motorsport Australia’s Return to Race Document. 

    Click here for more information on the event and how to attend. 

    The BMW Drivers Club of Melbourne’s Driver Training and Come & Try Day takes place at the Broadford Motorcycle Complex on Saturday 31 August.

    Motorsport Australia

    Article above as it appeared on the Motorsport Australia website here.

  • 19 Jul 2021 4:19 PM | Anonymous

    Event date: 6 July 2021

    When Ford and Holden announced an end to local manufacturing, the search was on for Victoria Police to replace the ubiquitous Falcon and Commodore.  After detailed technical and commercial evaluations, combined with availability of BMW factory ‘police packs’, the BMW 530d joined the fleet.  “The Ultimate Driving Machine” and “Sheer Driving Pleasure” are iconic tag lines forever linked to BMW.  A natural fit for Victoria Police Highway Patrol to have BMW vehicles in the fleet.

    At July’s Members’ Meeting, we were treated to an up-close and personal look at a Highway Patrol BMW 530d wagon, and a presentation from an officer who sits behind the wheel.

    Victoria Police Highway Patrol have a roving brief for road law enforcement across the entire state.  Mainstays of enforcement are random drug and alcohol tests, speed detection, mobile phone use, and recently COVID-19 compliance.

    BMW’s advanced technology built into the 530d is a given.  Equally advanced is the technology which makes this car fit for Highway Patrol duty: 2-way speed cameras (front and back), license plate recognition, specialist red and blue LED lighting, mobile fridge for drug samples, electronic roof-mounted signs with programmable messaging and much more.  For those young enough to remember David Hasselhoff’s Knight 2000 Trans Am, the fit-out would make him blush.  All up, the technology and kit to get a base 530d into Highway Patrol mode costs around $100 thousand, nearly as much as the car.

    BMW deliver vehicles to Victoria Police with factory paint, and decals are applied locally.  In BMW 2002 Turbo tradition, ‘Police’ is spelt backwards on the bonnet, so there is no doubt in the rear-view mirror about what is coming up behind you.  

    BMW 530d sedans, wagons and X5’s are in the fleet, together with vehicles from other brands which we won’t mention.  Victoria Police lease the cars and turn them over after 90,000 kilometres.

    The Highway Patrol officer shared a few war stories and dispelled a few myths.  A driver caught doing 109km/h in a 100km/h zone, detected to be under the influence of many substances, and a menace to other road users.  Some argue that isn’t too much over the limit, though you never know what is causing the behaviour.  Another driver, caught at the lights head down in their mobile phone, despite a fully decked out Highway Patrol car pulling up next to them.  Also, an emphatic no to the myth that speed enforcement is influenced by revenue raising.

    An informative Q & A session wrapped up the presentation, followed by time to appreciate the 530d star of the show.

    When you next see a BMW Highway Patrol car, admire the machinery, and know BMW play an integral part in safety for all road users.

    Thanks to Victoria Highway Patrol for this behind-the-scenes look, and our hosts for the evening, Waverley BMW.

    Jean-Dominique Abraham | Member #681
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne 

  • 13 Jul 2021 11:06 AM | Anonymous

    Event date: 24 July 2021

    “Greame has a solution for everything, doesn’t he..?”

    That was Payton, my  seven year old daughter after I told her about our day of racing at the AROCA Super Sprint Day at Phillip Island on 4 July.

    If you imagine Phillip Island in July as being cold, windy and wet - then you have imagined the weather on that day perfectly.  It was all of those things.  Squared.

    It was our first time with the new E30 (you can read about our first day out here) at Phillip Island.  Dad (Wayne) and I were both excited and a little scared- the track and conditions on that day were sure to be a challenge for even experienced steerers, let alone newbies like us.

    We had attended the BMWDCM Come and Try Day and learned a lot about our car and how to drive it, so we were looking forward to Phillip Island as we continued to learn about the car.  We were looking forward to the dry version of the Island though, not so much the Antarctic version that was served up to us!

    Anyway, with the preliminaries done, and some advice from Graeme about how to tackle the first practice session,  I doddled out and gingerly lurched from corner to corner getting familiar with the conditions, the car and the track.  Trying not to get too over enthusiastic and keep the car on the black stuff.  Easier said than done!

    I did enjoy the challenge though of driving in those conditions though and tried to focus on learning the track and lines.

    Next it was Dad’s turn. Buckled in, again some advice from Graeme, and off he went…

    Graeme, Tim and I waited on the pit apron - huddled up to keep warm - for him to come around and complete his first lap… which he did.  And then we waited patiently again.  And waited and waited.  “Where’s Dad?”

    Then the red flag came out. “Ah, that’s why he hasn’t come back around!”  As we started to walk back to the pit area, expecting Dad to meet us there, we noticed the Ambulance go out onto the track.  Never good.

    My heart sank.  My pulse raced.  Dad’s not back.  The Ambulance is out on the track.  It’s wet.  It’s our first time here…

    “But it might not be him.” II tried to reassure myself. 

    At this point, no one knew which car or driver was involved, or even what they had been involved in.  So, it was a tense few minutes, until we were told that it was indeed our car that had caused the red flag,  It had been in an accident.  And of course it was my Dad in the car.

    Still, I didn’t know how bad the incident was, or how Dad was.  All I could do was wait.  And wait I did.  It was a really worrying and nervous 10minutes or so. 

    The AROCA team at race control, gave me as much information as they could, assuring me that Dad was ok, and the damage wasn’t too bad either.  He had hit a fence they said…  Reassuring?  Hardly.  Until I saw Dad in person, I couldn’t relax.

    Soon enough, the ambulance escorted Dad back and he was fine.  His ego was bruised, he was embarrassed and worried about how bad the car was.  But medically he was fine, which is always the main thing.

    Dad explained that he had hit some standing water coming out of Siberia and slid off the track and into the safety fence.  Ouch!  He was very worried about the car and how bad the damage was.

    We didn’t have to wait too long to find out.  The car arrived back on a tilt tray soon enough.  And, just like the AROCA crew had told me, the damage wasn’t too bad.  The left-hand side front guard had peeled back, and it had some front spoiler damage.  No mechanical or structural damage that we could see.

    As we stared at it and listened to Dad tell his post-mortem, the next thing I remember hearing was Graeme saying “Righto, let’s get it fixed.”

    And before I could blink, he had started getting the front panel off…. Over the next hour, our garage was a flurry of tools, hammering and race-taping.  And coffee, of course.  And we mended the E30 as best we could.

    Graeme was determined to get us back out there- more ‘backside in the car’ time he said. 

    His resolve and help were amazing and to be frank, quite unexpected.  He had come down to the track to support the competing BMWDCM members.  Given the weather, I wouldn’t have blamed him if he stayed home in bed!   But that’s not the kind of bloke he is- and his dedication to all of us in the club was there for all to see in that cold Phillip Island garage.

    Remarkably, we only missed one run each and I was back out there for my next run in the patched-up car.  By this time, it was really raining, sideways and all ways.  It was horrible weather… but again I was determined to get out there, see how the car felt and keep learning.

    The car felt great, as much as you can get a sense in near blizzard track conditions, no noticeable impact from Dad’s incident. So, it was valuable track time.

    And next it was Dad’s turn again.  Not surprisingly he was bloody nervous about getting back in the car but determined to do so.  Oh, and the weather just kept getting worse….  Some coaching from Graeme and instructions to Dad just to drive around, rather than race around- and off he went.

    Like the first run we all waited patiently on the pit apron for Dad to complete each lap.  I was really nervous.  Graeme explained that feeling is similar to the one he has when any of his kids are racing.

    Dad completed a few laps, then brought the car back.  Safely and straight this time.  No ambulance or tilt tray required.

    After Dad’s run, the weather had deteriorated so much that they cancelled the rest of the day.  So that was that.  Our first racing experience at Phillip Island.

    Clearly, it didn’t go to plan… but the experience was valuable.

    The reason we decided to go E30 Racing was because of the camaraderie of the people involved, and the real level of care they have for each other.  And if we needed any more proof of it, we got it down at the Island.

    To everyone who helped and supported that day; Rod Martin, Darryl O'Neill, Alan Rodgers,  Jim Tucker, Tim Oh and especially Graeme- Dad and I say “thank you.”

    A shout out too to the AROCA team, the ambulance crew and all the flag marshals for showing care and doing such a great job in tough conditions.

    So yeah, Payton, even if your E30 is a crinkled mess in a pit garage, Graeme does have a solution for it- and will do everything get it back on the track for you. 

    Shannon Cooper | Member #599
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne 

© 2021 BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc. All Rights Reserved.