Torque Tube Register Inaugural Night Run and Dinner at Riva, St Kilda on Saturday 8th September 2012
Story & Photos by Tony Monteleone
On Saturday the 8th Sept, The Torque Tube Register held their first inaugural night run. The night started with the majority of the attending members meeting up at the Coldstream brewery, which is about an hour out of Melbourne, for a scenic night run through the Mt Dandenong forest tourist road and then onto some of Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs to St Kida for dinner and drinks at the iconic RIVA bar and restaurant on the marina.
This being the first night run ever held for the PCV club, it was bound to be an interesting night. Now, whenever you’re planning a run, you try to look at roads that will be interesting for the drivers, somewhere challenging, and fast. All this is good when you are planning a day run, however planning for a night run meant a slightly different set of considerations. Firstly, it was going to be hard to read a map in the dark, secondly, it was going to be hard to see street signs, and lastly, you need to concentrate more on the road as it’s difficult to see. The Mount Dandenong tourist road seemed a good choice-there was one way in-and as long as you stayed on it - one way out.
We all met at the Coldstream brewery at about 5.30pm for a drink and a discussion about the roads we were going to take. Now when looking for a meeting venue and finding a nice pub on a Sunday afternoon in country Victoria, when it’s nice and quiet, to have a cold one, is very different to rolling up to the same pub on a Saturday night during footy finals time. The Coldstream brewery was full of bus loads of yahoos going on a pub crawl from pub to pub, not to mention all of the local country boys in their Utes taking offence to us parking our Porsches in their spots and then there was the wide screen TV showing the football with all those lads cheering on. Needless to say, I think we felt a little bit out of place. Luckily we were only there for half an hour.
With maps in hand, 3 cars set off, a 944S2, a 968 and a fabulous white GT3, for the Mt Dandenong tourist road. By the time we reached this point it was completely dark and to top it all off, it started raining. This was going to be interesting driving conditions to say the least. Now driving the road at night was very different to when I mapped it out. First of all, all the corners were blind as the road through the forest was poorly lit. Secondly, this was no F1 Night GP, we couldn’t see a thing. Nevertheless, it made for some exciting driving and certainly some fantastic views of the city at night. We eventually managed to clear some slow moving traffic to enable us to test our nerves and driving abilities through the twisty roads in darkness- Ohh and did I mention the driving rain at times. It certainly was fun from the feedback I got from the other drivers even if you couldn’t see a thing. Once into the outer eastern suburbs, it was an easy drive down to St Kilda with only the usual Saturday night hoodlums trying to drag race you have every set of lights.
Once at RIVA, we made our way into the enormous car park and met up with our “don’t like driving in the dark” friend Frank and Gloria (sorry Frank) in his Boxster S. As there was a smaller group than anticipated, the restaurant allowed us to order a la-cart from the menu which was fantastic. A couple of bottles of wine ordered and our night was underway. As usual, the conversation was dominated by car talk, as well as more car talk. Apologies to the lovely ladies that attended for that, but I think there was some holiday talk in between. Now, no night at some swank inner city Melbourne restaurant would be complete without a little bit of celebrity spotting, and if you look carefully at the pictures, you might just recognize who that blonde, ex footballer, channel nine getaway program celebrity was. Needless to say, the two other blonde female guests at his table could have just walked off the catwalk at a Victoria Secrets fashion show – guess that is the price of fame!
The food was fantastic, the wine chosen perfectly by Frank and the company of Al & Maria, Frank & Gloria, Mark & Caroline and my friend Veronica made the night what is was – FANTASTIC. I would like to personally extend my thanks to all those that braved a cold Melbourne night in September to attend our first ever night run. Time to start planning for the next one.
Torque Tube Register May Day Lunch and Gallery Exhibition at “The Convent “on Sunday 20th May 2012
Story & Photos: Tony & Angelo Monteleone
The weather for the day was cool but sunny and nothing goes down better with a crisp morning than a fantastic breakfast at “The Auction Rooms” in North Melbourne. Being one of my favourite places for coffee, the mix of industrial chic heralded back to the glory days of Melbourne old. With Errol street jam packed with Porsches everywhere, we reserved a corner room (thanks Gary) for our morning brief.
With 32 people signed up and some 16 Porsches, we were thrilled to have such a great turn out for the run. There were a lot of familiar faces as well which is great to see. After a briefing of the day’s activities by Tony Monteleone, and well planned route maps handed out, it was time to get going with the mandatory line up of Porsches. It was quite a spectacle to see all the Torque Tube Porsches lined up in Errol street end.
The sun was shining, albeit too cold to pull the roof off, but still a nice leisurely drive up the freeway on route to the Sunbury Rd turn off. The route took us through some very windy and narrow roads through the back of Sunbury, which were perfect to really let loose and tackle the windy roads for those who dare, and there were also some very Porsche favourable straights that certainly tested the nerve of some Porsche passengers. !
Of course, the day would not be complete without a “Porsche Kodak moment” just coming out of Lancefield when the “T” intersection seems to catch one driver off guard (Not mentioning any names Co-Captain ) which resulted in a hard brake lock with lots of blue smoke heading towards the nice rear end of a 2010 Boxster S being driven by my favourite PCV friend Frank and his ever lovely partner Gloria – luckily, the excellent brakes and tyres held and besides a couple of expletives – all was well .
The drive through Riddles Creek was uneventful – we even managed to dodge the ever present speed cameras on that road that seemed to taking the weekend off! All good for us.
Then onto the main highway for a bit of boring driving towards Kyneton – I always hate the highway part of runs but they are unavoidable. Finally after what seemed an eternity of white line fever – we were on the back roads driving through the State Forest at Springfield-Glenlyon. The road was very exciting to drive with sweeping corners and crossover bridges. My navigator managed to get some nice rear facing pictures of the Porsches coming through the forest.
Now having a navigator with you doesn’t always mean that you are guaranteed to turn in the right direction as I found out at a “T” intersection where my brain was telling me – “We go left here” but he said – “Turn right“ so I did and of course the eventual “DOH!!!” was the trigger for me to do what’s commonly known as a ‘Uewy’. Luckily the other 16 cars were sitting there at the intersection waiting for me to embarrassingly turn around.
I noted that we were running about 20 minutes ahead of schedule as we fast approached the little town of Glenlyon. I remembered that there was a quaint “General Store” right off the road and thought – let’s make a stop for a coffee break and stretch.
So I ducked into the car park – jumped out of the car and started flagging down the others to pull into the car park. Most pulled in except for some members whom decided at that moment to do some high speed overtaking (sorry Wayne). Anyway , it was a good stop and photo opt. Unfortunately for Angelo, we recorded our first ever damage on a Torque Tube run with a stone smashing through his front left fog light- consolation for not more damage I guess.
After a brief 20 minutes it was onwards to Daylesford. I had secured a private car park at The Convent Gallery to ensure all Porsches were kept together. Our host and owner of the Convent, Tina Banitska gave us a wonderful introduction about the colourful history of The Convent, from Nunnery to School to Art gallery and everything in between.
Tina then gave us a private tour of the fantastic Art Gallery and commentary of some of the works on display there. It’s quite impressive and really one of the major art galleries in Victoria which everyone should go and see. There is also a large beautiful chapel and function room where Tina told us they hold about 120+ weddings every year.
And all this before Lunch – what a great opener!
Lunch was a delicious 3 course meal served with champagne. Time to chat, mingle and observe the artworks in the room which Lindsay pointed out one that cost $2200 after I bumped into it! Oops
Some very fine and aptly named “Good Catholic Girl” Shiraz set the scene for some interesting photo moments, and with the day winding up with a big Thankyou speech and a recap on memorable moments, the Torque Tube Register Captains presented to each PCV attendee, a “I SURVIVED THE TORQUE TUBE RUN TO DAYLESFORD” Certificate as a bit of tongue and cheek.
Of course the first certificate had to go to Frank and Gloria after their near rear end miss with the second certificate presentation to Mark Dempsey for managing NOT to subsequently rear end Angelo. PHEW!
A big thank you to the many attendees whom enjoyed the day with us, and look forward to the next
Torque Tube run which will be something completely different to the usual format and very exciting but I will keep you in suspense for now. Look out for it in September.
Combined Run with the Boxster/Cayman Register "Summer Escapade to East Gippsland" on Sunday 19th February 2012
As the heading of “Summer Escapade to East Gippsland” conjured up images of a leisurely Sunday drive, it was obvious that, once the formalities and map layout was dissected, this was not going to be that sort of a drive.
Because of the popularity of the run, 23 cars between Boxster/Cayman and Torque Tube registers and more on the waiting list, it was decided to divide the attendees in three groups to make the run more pleasant and to give Nick’s café more time to serve the morning tea.
After Will welcomed everyone and introduced Mark and Colleen McKnight as prospective members to the Club, Lindsay gave the usual warnings and some details of how the day should unfold.
Everyone got in to their car and under the skillful management by Will, the cars started to exit the MacDonald’s car park, it looked more like a President’s track day starting grid than a register run!
With roofs down on all of the Boxsters, the morning run took the cars and drivers into the hills and to the winding, sometimes very narrow, paths of the Poowong/Drouin Mountain Basin, where the picturesque hills and valleys were glowing with the morning sun. Not that driver or navigator could spend too much time window gazing, as the twisty roads were very challenging and fast. Best of all, the traffic was almost completely nil allowing us clear air to enjoy the drive.
Morning Tea stop at Nick’s Bakery in Drouin was lovely, with the Devonshire Tea for all and a chance to regroup, get some photos and talk strategies for the arrival at Djinta Djinta winery at Kardela. It was also a pleasant surprise to see Alison Belot amongst us and hear that she had returned from Singapore for good and, luckily, had not sold her Boxster.
With all Porsches away, we left Drouin for another delightful drive towards Neerim then heading South to Kurumburra. The road conditions were perfect for experiencing what the cars were built for, long sweeping roads and challenging corners which by the end of our journey had certainly built up a great appetite for lunch at the winery.
Upon arrive at the winery, the U shaped car park allowed for a great line up of the Porsches with the opportunity for some great photos. Eleonor, the owner and her lovely staff looked after our crew with complimentary drinks, platters of cheeses and nuts from the local area, and a tasting of their award winning wines.
Lunch was booked at the “de Vine” Restaurant upstairs overlooking the vineyards with a great view of the car park filled only with Porsches. The food was absolutely delicious with 4 different mains and 3 desserts to choose from. A standing ovation was given for the chef at the end of lunch for a stellar performance. Would you believe that by himself he managed to serve soufflés to the many who chose it for dessert?
With Lindsay and Will entertaining us with trivia questions and a door prize competition, a box set of wines were won by Glen Smith and Ian Flynn - great effort. This capped off a great afternoon had by all that attended.
A special thanks to Wayne, Lindsay and the organizers for planning, mapping out and putting together such a memorable day of driving and we hope that Colleen and Mark will join our great Club.
By Angelo Monteleone
Torque Tube Christmas Run to Yarra Valley on Sunday 4th December 2011
The day started at the Brunetti Café Carlton, and the Zonzo attendees were very pleased to enjoy a great café style breakfast before starting the Torque Tube Christmas run to the Train Trak Winey.
9am at Brunetti’s is always busy with bike riders stopping for their usual latte after a bike ride, families having breakfast with kids, the tourists trying the vast array of cakes and then there was “us” – the Porsche enthusiasts who came to start the Torque Tube Christmas run to Train Trak winey. We were easily recognisable, a Porsche design cap here, a Porsche design jacket there and of course the PCV name tag hanging around our necks.
There were 22 entrants who attended the run with 12 cars being 944s, 968, 928s, Boxster, Cayman and a 997 to round it off. Our President, Will Darvall made a surprise visit and speech to see us off, which was fantastic considering he had attended the Annual Dinner Dance the night before – well done Will and thanks.
The route had two stages, the first through the back of Christmas Hills in Eltham, is both windy and steep in sections with lots of ups and downs – it feels like a grown up’s roller coaster ride. This is great for the drivers, but I was starting to wonder if the poor passengers were going to feel like lunch afterwards. Luckily there was a bit of highway driving into Healesville to allow you to recover.
The second stage of the route saw us drive towards Healesville, Toolangi and Chum Creek Road. The road has lots of twists and turns and great bush scenery. A real driver’s road.
But first, there was trouble…I radioed my pit crew to advise them I was coming in to pit stop, (well actually, I telephoned my co-captain to advise that I needed to go to the toilet) apparently there was too much pressure in the oil sump and we needed to pit and re-adjust the flow! Embarrassingly for me, all the other cars decided to take my lead and pull over to wait for me.
On arrival at Train Trak winery, we were treated to a nice array of wines to taste, with the 2007 Pinot Chardonnay Sparkling being my favourite. Lunch started with a superb antipasto, the best I have seen for a while, and then a great line up of wood fired pizzas till we could eat no more. The scenery overlooking the rolling hills of the winery vines and Yarra Valley in the background was superb.
Being Christmas, the restaurant was full of end of year parties, which added to the fun for the afternoon, as we joined in the festivities with some of other tables to discuss the finer aspects of driving a Porsche, but I suspect the hairdressers were not that interested.
A thank you to all those that attended and I hope to see you on our next run in 2012.
Toque Tube Run to T'Gallant Winery, Mornington Peninsula on Sunday 17th July 2011
When we started to plan for this event, we decided on 2 things – The run had to start somewhere that served good coffee and end somewhere that served good wine – The sandbar café and T’Gallant proved the winning combination and thus the Torque tube register winter run to the picturesque “T’Gallant” winery on the Mornington Peninsula was on.
A winter run is always tricky – you don’t know how many people will come, you don’t know what the day will be like and you don’t know what the road conditions will hold – Fortunately for this run, none of those issues came up – The day was sunny, we had a sold out number of cars and attendees, and the roads were perfect – well kind of – but more about that later.
The day started bright and sunny with numerous cars lined up in front of Sandbar café on Beaconsfield Parade in Middle Park – We had cyclists, joggers and rollerblades all admiring the line up of Porsches and a few Masserati’s just for good measure. We somehow managed to get star treatment by the Melbourne Newspapers, listing our run in their respective drive sections, which meant 2 things; 1. We had a few extra people come to the café to have a chat and see what was going on and 2. We got the notice of the boys in blue that made themselves very well known to us along the beach route to Mornington. Luckily everyone stuck to the rules and no trouble was reported.
The run up to Red Hill was a little slow considering we had to weave around the cyclists for most of the way along Beach Road through to Frankston, then we had the police watching us at quite a few major intersections, plus the slow moving cars driving up Arthurs Seat blocking the entire road with little consideration for the magnificent German automobiles charging up behind them on the hill - it was a good run.
Once over Arthurs Seat, we mapped out a very fast twisty loop around the entire Red Hill area which saw some spirited driving along the fast straights, windy back roads and blind bends for the lead cars. We even got some “Wow” looks from the Subaru WRX club cars doing time trial runs going the other way.
We also had some – ummm – “non-spirited” driving, however all participants showed great respect for their PCV mates and in good team camaraderie, resisted the urge to overtake these front drivers.
Once at T’Gallant winery, the team was treated to complete wine tasting review of all the fabulous wines of T’Gallant and some good discounts on wine lots. They are well know for their Pinot Gris and certainly was my personal favorite.
After the wine tasting was over, we were seated and presented with a delicious 2 course meal in the “La Baracca” restaurant complemented with great wines, which was outstanding, and even enjoyed some Latin tunes by their solo guitarist right outside our window. It was a great time to mingle with all the members that had come out to enjoy a nice run on a cold crisp winter’s morning and thank them personally for coming and making our Torque Tube winter run a success.
With the formalities over, time for a few photo opportunities, a bit more wine and a look around the winery, before heading home to relax.
Thanks again to all those that participated and look forward to organizing the next Torque Tube run.
Torque Tube & Boxster/Cayman Registers Queenscliff Run - Sunday 23rd January 2011
Sunday 23rd of January started fine and cool with a forecast for a warmer day to come. I start with this as the weather was tailor made for a Porsche Club run and no-one could fail to enjoy driving their babies on a day like this.
We all gathered at the Melton McDonalds more or less by the appointed time with one or two members making a short detour to the "other" McDonalds in Melton or, having missed the exit, a drive up the highway towards Ballarat until they could legally do an about face. But having gathered the seventeen cars all together (three more were joining us in Geelong) there was the obligatory briefing and we were off!
From near the front of the 'procession' it was quite impressive. Nine Boxsters, Five 944's and a smattering of others namely a 996, 964 and Will and Barbara's 1955 Spyder - a fantastic sight! After Geelong we were joined by another 944, a 997 and a Maserati 4.2 GT. Any enthusiasts dream parade and indeed heads were turning as we drove through Geelong.
The object of the day was of course lunch at the Queenscliff Hotel but first some driving through different country. Morning tea was in Geelong so the day was basically split into a country run followed by a coastal run - something for everyone. We soon cleared Melton and took the scenic run south past the Melton Reservoir then through Exford, Balliang, Anakie, entering Geelong via the Midland Highway, the roads were flat and fast with some spirited overtaking of slower moving cars - and lead us directly to the waterfront and, almost, morning tea.
Now the plan had been to rendezvous at Cunningham pier for morning tea (lots of parking you see and a wide choice of venues) but at the last minute word was passed to us that the waterfront was going to be clogged with the annual Australia Day Regatta (sponsored this year by some other German auto maker with lots of rings) and it was suggested we avoid the waterfront. So an alternate venue was organised and we took our break, meeting up with our final three cars, at the Elephant & Castle Hotel (Thanks Roger Holding ). Even with the changed venue all cars made it and there ensued a pleasant and very social morning tea.
After our break we headed back into town and with minimal fuss was able to link up to our original route even managing to zero our odometers more or less correctly to match our route notes. We quickly made our way to the coast below the Geelong Botanic Gardens and could easily see the hundreds of yachts just off shore preparing for their day of sailing. We then edged around onto the Portarlington Road and via Drysdale made our way to Portarlington where we once again took the slower but really pretty coastal road around the peninsula to St. Leonards. It's worth noting here that the weather was also bringing out the tourists and sight- seers so we were forced to take our time and savour the surrounds - nice really.
Once past St. Leonards we turned inland for a few clicks before turning south and following the curve of Swan Bay visible over rolling green pasture (something I haven't seen in summer for quite some years). We then made our way skirting past Point Lonsdale on the final stretch into Queenscliff. The weather had, as I previously said, brought out the day trippers and the traffic was worthy of Melbourne at peak hour! This was really brought home when we arrived at the Queenscliff Hotel to discover the normally vast and vacant parking was the exact opposite. Unfortunately some people had to park several blocks away and I even overheard someone commenting over lunch that they were parked half way back to Geelong... pretty sure that was an exaggeration but you get the drift!
Lunch was terrific (well mine certainly was) and the surrounds were of old elegance. As is often the case on Porsche runs the conversations and camaraderie made it a two to three hour sojourn before people finally headed back home. Several members took the opportunity to take the ferry across to Sorrento to shorten their return journey and I believe a good time was had by all. Thanks to the great collaborative work of both registers, the day went without a hitch.
Torque Tube Register at Lavandula - Sun 12th Sept.
Torque Tube Drive and Luncheon at “La Trattoria"
A fun day was had by all at the “Torque Tube spring run to Lavandula farm at Daylesford”. La trattoria café “at Lavandula was a snug timber room in stone cabin and a big long table, where all the participants could sit and enjoy each others company-It was the perfect setting after an exciting and eventful drive to Daylesford. Our day started with a drive through the exciting twists and turns of the back roads through Sunbury; but my navigation skills were not exactly up to scratch- so after our first wrong turn and then our second “drive too fast and miss the turn off”, mishap, surely the morning couldn’t get any worse. Luckily, I had my co-captain to handball some of the blame too. We decided to stop for a good photo opportunity on the side of the highway out of Kilmore; Well, it only seemed fitting, as there was a mobile speed camera on the other side of the road – so, while he was taking pictures of other speedsters – we thought, why not do same, and at the same time try to work out which fork in the road we should take to get us back onto the Freeway. Luckily, everyone decided that we should take the road which wasn’t on the map and try our luck – It paid off ! and we found our way onto the Calder freeway – Well almost – This time my co-captain thought it a good idea to drive past the freeway entrance and try our luck at turning six cars around a narrow road and head back to the freeway entrance (Mishap number 4)
Onward and upward – Ahh, finally highway and easy driving to Daylesford – The final leg into Daylesford took us through some very long straight country roads, where, we were finally able to open up the cars to some power overtaking and nice power runs though long bends and exciting curves – needless to say, most took full advantage of the opportunity.
Daylesford was a buzz with farmers market stalls and activities and the sight of 6 Porsches driving though the middle of town turned some heads – alas our destination awaits – Driving through ‘Break Neck Gorge’ in Hepburn Springs was our last exciting bit of driving for the day into Lavandula farm.
Nothing stopping us now I thought – Except , the flooded creek crossing – ohh well, I thought, we will have to park the cars on the side of the driveway into the farm.
This proved a bit hazardous for our Boxster friend who got bogged in the mud (Mishap number 5) Luckily, there were 5 strong PCV members on hand to help get him out and after a heave and a hoe we managed to push him out to park on more firmer ground ( A stop to the car-spa on the way home definitely required).
Lavandula farm was picturesque with beautiful rolling gardens – the stone buildings and chooks running around made you feel like you were in the Italian countryside. And the food was fantastic, the wine great and the bread was all home made . we all sat on our long table and enjoyed a fantastic lunch with a warm open fireplace to set the mood for discussions about cars and other PCV outings and of course to have a laugh at our directional mishaps.
Thanks to those that participated.
Torque Tube Annual Christmas Winery Lunch Run – Sun 6th December
It was a gorgeous Sunday morning to be out, the sun was shining and the air was crisp as we met in Carlton for a quick coffee and some navigation tips. This being my 1st time as register captain of Torque Tube, I was a little bit nervous.
All the participants were on time and well organized, there was my Red 944S2 convertible & my co-captain's Black 944S2 Convertible, a red 944S2 and a gold 944 and lastly a very fine 2009 Black Cayman just to round up the team. After a few handshakes and the mandatory Carlton espresso, we departed Carlton, Healesville bound taking in the picturesque green scenery of the Eltham, Yarra Glen and Healesville.
The roads were surprisingly clear and this allowed us take advantage of the tight twists and some long straights to stretch the legs if you know what I mean. Of course the day was not without incident, having missed the Yarra Glen turn off, luckily everyone was obedient to their Captain and followed me for another 10 minutes until I realised my mistake ( Must remember to take a navigator with me next time). Healesville was abuzz with markets and lots of people when we arrived at our destination, the Giant Step/Innocent bystander winery.