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A Trip to the SaltBy Geoff G.Rea
After a 2 year break from any DLRA cars / bikes running at Lake gairdner due to the Lake being under water last year. This year we had been advised that the salt was in perfect condition.. Late last year the DLRA was offered by Roscoe McGlashen to purchase his facility at the lake. After inspection and discussion the facility was purchased. With finance coming from the sale of 32 bed sites. So for most who had purchased a bed this meet would allow them to see this site for the first time.
This year the Rea, Weir, Mumford was not taking the #24 roadster, as we hadn't got around to rebuilding the engine that we'd disasembled 18 months earlier. Hey, you can't rush into these things, besides there's always next year (our teams motto) or even the year after! It's funny you know, our casual laid back (slack!) attitude seems to worry the hell out of some people. Even to the extent that Bob Bowman offered to screw our motor together for us (thanks Bob), but it'll happen trust us.
Anyhow only Wanye Mumford and I went over this year and since we wouldn't have the truck to put a lot of gear on I decided we'd need a trailer. So we hauled Wayne's little teardrop over with us.
We set off from Yarragon (Wayne's home town) at 4:00am on the Saturday. We hit Macca's in Ballarat at 7:00am for the now traditional breakfast stop. We also filled up at the Shell heading out of town, Wayne and I both agreed that the girlie at the register was worth the price of the fuel. After an uneventful run to Murray Bridge, we headed North toward the Barossa Valley and onto Nurioota, where westopped for lunch and fuel. We also dropped in to see Heather and Steve Baum. From here we headed for Port Augusta passing through the Clare Valley. We arrived in Port Augusta at 6:50pm after a good days travelling. We hit the motel where we usually stay, you've got to have that last good meal and shower before you go out amongst it at the lake.
Next morning we arose, filled the coupe and 2 jerry cans . Whilst fueling we ran into Dick Bushell and the boys who had Bob Bowmans / Sydney Rats car in the truck. After a trip to the supermarket for bread, we were headed for Iron Knob to top up the fuel tank. Then it was onto the dirt, which wasn't in bad condition. The only real drama we had in the dirt was when a road train came around the corner in the middle of the road (he obviously hadn't seen our dust, we definatley hadn't seen his). Exit stage left, one hot rod and trailer into hte scrub, no worries, no damage, no brains (maybe?) Hey, I think the coupes getting used to this outback motoring after it's sixth trip to the salt. Around an hour later we pulled into the new DLRA camp.
We had a bit of a wander around the camp to see what we'd (Team Rea, Weir, Mumford and Mac) invested in. We were most impressed, now it was just a matter of staking a claim on 4 beds. We ended up in a hut with Garth Butterworth. Next we hit the lake, there were a few car and bikes there already. Scrutineering of vehicles was in progress by Neil Raymond and Phil Arnold. As Neil would have to go back to Adeliade that evening and I was asked if I could replace him, no problem, I'm pretty adaptable. Anyhow the salt itself was probably in the beat condition I've ever seen it and would be conducive to high speeds. The course had already been marked out. The timing equipment was still being set up. The rest of the day was spent orgainsing the course and scruitineering.
The Monday morning was spent putting the final touches to the course, timing equipment, fire marshalling rosters and various other tasks. Around mid afternoon some offically timed passes were made. Most of which were licensing passes, which are done at lesser speeds, than the maximum speed of the vehicle being timed. Even at the lower speeds most drivers were enthusastic about the salt conditions.
Tuesday's racing got going early, with a lot of quick early passes. Mike Davidson ran his car with it's newly mounted ballast and rear wings. In the past Mike has tended to spin out after going through the traps at around 160 mph. This time he had no such dramas and in fact this year got the flathead running up around 170 mph.
Wednesday saw most of the competitors at the event, around 20 cars / bikes. We probably saw one of the most spectacualr passes ever made on the salt, when Rod Hadfield popped his chute and sent the Stude ona wild ride that Rod later said he had no control over (you've got to get the video) All day the wind was becoming a bit of a concern as were the clouds. Around mid afternoon a passing violent storm caused the course to be lcosed due to wind and rain. But after about 1 1/2 hours the sky was blue again and the wind was gone and racing resumed.
Thursday again saw racingstart early and we got arounf 1 hour of racing before the wind again got up and caused a course closure. As Wayne and I would be leaving around 10:00 am we began to say our goodbyes and eventually got away about 11:00am. Normally we would get to Murray Bridge and stay the night, but this time we decided to drive straight home. The run home was a bit more eventful. with a speed ticket for (speed ace)Wayne. A flat tyre in a dinky little country town taht just happened to have a garage that was a Yokahama tyre dealer, we lost a mudguard of the trailer, then ran out of fuel, this was sort of planned so we would use the remianing full jerry can of fuel and last but not least we KO'ed a sucidal rabbit. Anyhow I pulled into my driveway at 6:30am on the Friday. The coupe had another 1700 miles on it's speedo and agian performed very well, even with Waynes lil teardrop in tow, which you didn't even notice was there most of the time and now I can back the little sucker.