Singer National Rally 2011 Report

Singer Car Club of Australia - National Rally 2011 Report

By Andy Bull

Friday we left Melbourne around 11 am in the hope that the Easter traffic might have cleared and we would have a quick run up to Shepparton. No such luck. From the on ramp to the Hume Freeway traffic was banked up as far as we could see. The Singer didn’t complain though, and after an hour or so of slow moving traffic jam it began to clear and we reached Shepparton only slightly later than expected.

It was a bustling scene at the Park Lake Motel, where the street behind had been closed off so cars could be unloaded from trailers. The registration team was remarkably efficient and in no time we were kitted out with caps, shirts, rally book and goody bag. We were soon settled into our room and ready to explore.

The motel was built around a central courtyard/parking area which was ideal for drifting from car to car greeting old friends and making new ones. We gradually drifted into the dining room for dinner and the first briefing from rally director John Haywood. We also had the first of many raffle draws.

Rick McDonald's 9HP Utility

Rick McDonald's 9HP Utility which won the Best Commercial Award Saturday.

The morning was clear and cold. Some of the cars needed a bit of extra assistance to get started, as perhaps did some of the owners. Another raffle draw at breakfast – how did Peter Bilston bag all these prizes? As we left the motel a photo was taken of each car, with a print given to the owners on Monday. This was typical of the attention to detail of the rally committee. They thought of everything - except our inability to follow directions, which took us several kilometres in the wrong direction.

Our first stop was the nearby town of Tatura, and a special visit to the local history museum. This specialises in the history of the prisoner-of-war and internment camps which were established in the vicinity in WW2. This is an aspect of our history which we knew very little about, and the talk by one of the museum volunteers brought the exhibits to life.

The next stop was the Waranga Basin, full of water for the first time after many years of drought. A cuppa and a locally made, award winning vanilla slice kept us going for the next leg of our journey to Rushworth. One of the advantages of the Shepparton area is that it is pretty flat, so the older cars were not too disadvantaged by hills.

The Easter Fair at Rushworth was in full swing, and those of us who were taking part in the Easter Parade were put at the head of the queue for the barbecue lunch so we could take our cars to the assembly area. As seems to be usual with parades, there was a long wait while everybody lined up, but there were plenty of old tractors and horse drawn wagons to admire. Our participation with a representative sample of Singers seemed to be well received.

Trev Leech took the microphone and provided a running commentary. The observation questions on the way back to Shepparton seemed more fiendish than usual. Dinner that night was at a nearby Italian restaurant. The food was fantastic but unfortunately some of the party had to be placed outside in a courtyard, which was rather cold.rushworth easter parade Singers everywhere!!

Rushworth Easter Parade

Rushworth Easter Parade Sunday

The display and concours judging was held in a park directly across the road from the motel. It was a fine morning and the Singers attracted plenty of spectators. The RACV sponsorship helped here, as Peter Lester’s Le Mans had been on display in the local RACV shop before the rally and this helped to raise awareness and draw a crowd. I spoke to a number of local classic car enthusiasts who enjoyed seeing and chatting about the cars.

We were given a packed lunch back at the motel, and then wended our way to Dookie agricultural college. Once again the sight of some Singers turning left while others turned right indicated that the next must have for rallies is a fully programmed sat-nav, but it wouldn’t be half the fun.

Our lunch stop was at the winery at Dookie, a fully professional operation for training winemakers. We sampled the goods and they get full marks. After lunch we had a rare opportunity to climb Mount Major, the highest point for many miles around. Usually this is locked up, but we had been given a key. It’s a narrow winding lane to the top, which was once used for hillclimbs. They must have been brave!

The views at the top were magnificent, but we were surprised on the way down to meet another party coming up. Apparently more than one group have keys to the gate. Luckily no harm was done. The presentation dinner was held that night, and it was a lively affair. See "2011 Rally Concours" for a full list of trophy winners, which were presented by Brian Kelly and his wife Nayda. A silent auction added to the fun.

On Top of Mt Major

On top of Mt Major

The view at the top of Mount Major for the more adventurous. Monday Some of us had the honour of taking veterans on the ANZAC parade in the morning, then it was off to the local car club rooms for the Singerlympics. A shopping detour meant we arrived too late to join the fun, but we made sure we didn’t miss lunch. Again hoping to miss the traffic we left straight after lunch, but many stayed on until Tuesday.

It was a terrific rally overall and our thanks go to the hard working rally committee – John Haywood, Phil and Fiona Seager, Peter and Diana Bilston and Trev Leech, plus many other helpers. Thanks also to the RACV for their sponsorship and support which added so much to the rally. Next rally is in 2013 in Raymond Terrace, just north of Sydney. See you there!

Easons 1937 Singer 9 Special

Easons 9 special

The car everyone wanted to own!! John and Vanessa Eason's 1937 9hp special, a regular entrant at SA race meets and former Targa Tasmainia Rally Entrant.