Early and Mid 911 Register Run to Pitruzello Estate
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Sunday 9th August
Story by Vickie Morris Photos by Peter Cromie & George Nichas
Ken Anson put the kiss of death on this article when he voiced I would be penning it and my inaugural story a year ago was “fantastic”. Like the dreaded awaited second album syndrome I warn you in advance I may take some artistic license or a new literate style that may disappoint some.
I was very much looking forward to this run despite the antagonism of a scratchy raw throat and cold/ flu like symptoms I experienced the night before. I was not going to miss it due to some bacteria raining on my parade. I woke prior to my alarm at 0800 and eagerly prepared Dietfried (my 1990 Black 964 Cabriolet for those who have not yet been introduced) and myself for the day;
Nurofen Zavance and Strepsils – check
Gaffer tape for any type of repair – check
CDs to counteract dreary radio – check
Sunglasses for possible sun – wishful, but check anyway
Quick exterior cleanliness inspection – check but barely passable.
I live in Chadstone so the hour drive to the meeting point in Plenty was a considerable challenge at 0830 on a Sunday morning. Nevertheless the warm up was rewarded when I saw all the overly impressive Porsches parked at Maccas. I was struck by the plethora of pigments. David and Jill’s Arena Red 1996 993S, Rafael and Donna had brought Dietfried’s green twin, Rob’s Venetian Blue 1988 911 3.2 Carrera – adding a splash of colour amongst the classic greys, whites and blacks. I should mention Wayne and Lindsay’s Glacial Blue CAR (make I can’t disclose in a Porsche Magazine) added to the whimsical palette.
No Mc Donald’s coffee for me as it usually ends up in a dire situation ie do I stop and pee and potentially lose my spot in the convoy hence get hopelessly lost OR have an accident of a very embarrassing kind in Dietfried. No brainer – wait till morning tea.
After a quick morning catch up, succinct briefing in the car park and a slightly wondrous question from Sylvia (“Where is University Drive?”) the Register Run made tracks! Note to self …don’t follow Mark and Sylvia in the Blue / Black Boxster.
I always get a little surge of adrenalin when starting a run. Whether that be from the sheer delight of finally being part of a marvellous club or part of the spectacle of so many beautiful Porsches pulling out of a meeting place or the sheer terror of getting caught at the lights by myself thus having to drive AND navigate to Morning Tea, is not clear. Nevertheless it’s a positive feeling of being alive!
The first 20kms took us on some fairly straightforward country roads accompanied by quaint country views and one very slow set of lights on Main Hurstbridge Rd. The dry conditions had invited every type of wheeled machine out for a Sunday Cruise. Many Harleys, other motorbikes and cyclists were occupying asphalt. Dodging cyclists became par for the course for most of the morning. Ken had highlighted this on the run notes so I wasn’t too perturbed. Better them than me - way too much energy required. I hadn’t taken this route before so it was interesting to pass through Arthur’s Creek and the Growling Frog Golf Course (didn’t hear any). I’ll admit I missed Yan Yean Reservoir. Much too focussed on the road. Thanks to the run notes I didn’t bottom out over any rail crossings or bridges.
73km brought us to a T intersection. Run notes stated “Caution. Known Police Presence”. Sylvia must have distracted Mark with this fact as he almost went up the back of Murray and Sharon in the green Carrera. Obviously Mark’s quick response time coupled with the automotive prowess of his Boxster avoided a potential club riff.
83 Plenty k’s away (do you like what I did there?) we descended upon The Wine Hub. Incident report – collisions 0, Road Kill 4 (2 wombats – one sporting a fluorescent pink cross, 1 small kangaroo and something too flat to identify), Burnt out vehicles – 1 late 70s BMW – I think). As I pulled in to the carpark I remembered PCV had been here previously. I love this place. Brian is so enthusiastic and was over the moon to have us again. If he wasn’t he should really consider acting. The Wine Club is very comfortable and inviting, quite efficient and does the best dessert spread I know. Caramel slice, mint slice, cheesecake, mudcake, rocky road, flans, apricot slice….sweets I haven’t even dreamed of were enjoyed. Brooke and Pam busily attended to coffee fixes for approximately 26 club members while Brian announced the door prize winner. I should mention the vast numbers of wines available too. On any other day when not driving I would happily indulge. Perhaps Polina could invite me around to her place to sample her raffle win – a 93point Shiraz – when she’s not driving her little boy Michael around in her 2009 911.
After what seemed like a very quick mass exodus – had to neck my coffee – 16 exquisite beasts took to the second leg of the run. I was following Aggie and John in their 1987 Purple 911 Cabriolet. The first time I had followed them in a run. Possibly the last. Fuelled by sugar and caffeine, basking in the sun that had almost come out, admiring a few blue sky patches and rolling green pastures the occupants of the Purple Porsche mindlessly drove along the smooth tar for two kms past the Darraweit Valley Rd Turn off. I blissfully followed. We pulled onto the side of the road at about 96km and debated the possibility of missing a turn.
Aside and please bear with me …….
Miraculously and/ or ironically my bacteria friends had left my party for the time being and joined their friends in Clair’s body. I am glad she fought the little critters for the day because like a knight in shining armour galloping on a white horse she appeared in the distance in the crisp White 993 (the equivalent of 285 horses give or take) with driver Peter to guide us in the right direction. Apparently following a car that has a navigating passenger isn’t always the advisable thing to do.
I’m not sure if this turn off could have been more obvious. Apparently there was a very large grey Kangaroo here too directing traffic.
“Windier” roads provided very enjoyable performance testing opportunities. Checked 6000rpm on Dietfried. Not sure if that was luck, talent, or a mistake but it felt good anyway.
Understably Kerrie Rd and Kerrie Valley Rd could be easily confused….and was. Once again I found myself following the Purple 911 on a dirt road to nowhere, certainly not Hesket. To our credit we figured we were on the wrong path quickly and corrected our journey en route to Woodend with only a couple of hundred metres added to the odometer. Made for an added arithmetic challenge whilst driving.
Nice to see “Morris Rd” at the 50 km mark. Must have been a “sign” – poor but writer’s “licence” – they just keep coming – I crack me up. Impressive architectural sights greeted drivers around Mt Macedon. Futuristic abodes standing side by side with buildings of a classic era. John and Tania kindly waited for disoriented club members in their white ’89 911 Targa. Little did we know that at least 5 of us would regroup around 65kms thanks to the slowest tourist driver in a little blue something. Literally put the brakes on. Even slower than the silver 4wd in Woodend. At least he/she pulled to the side after 1km.
In contrast PCV members were approached in the next few km toward Sunbury by an oncoming bright orange Lotus, a black Lamborghini and more Harleys. Had they already visited our lunch destination? Was driving fine machinery a pre requisite for Pitruzzello Estate patrons?
Converging onto Pitruzzello the sheer size of the building struck me. A contemporary box shaped structure with large wooden, glass and metal panels surrounded by its (hopefully) fruitful olive grove and vineyard.
PCV occupied the Olive Bar Room, one of 5 function rooms and that’s not including the Restaurant and Cafe. Our room was airy and light with beautiful afternoon “sun” streaming in from the large grid windows.
Pitruzzello Manager Olga invited us to taste the olives and olive oil produced on the estate that was presented on numerous sample plates along two long smartly set tables. Everyone concurred the olives were extremely tasty.
After a short period of post run mingling accompanied by beverages of choice we took our seats. I saw this as an opportunity to get the PCV Wine Appreciation Club’s review on the offerings. White was a popular choice with the ladies. Donna rated the Chardonnay a smiley face. Harriet preferred the Chardonnay over the Sauvignon Blanc which Lindsay and Clair described as “Wet” although Clair advised the accuracy of her elaborate review may be tarnished by the copious amounts of cold and flu remedies she’d consumed. The sparkling red was “Sweet” according to Aggie but the Shiraz elicited most enthusiasm - Dean noting cherries, oak and “very drinkable”.
Ken proceeded to the door prize section of the day. Pitruzzello had generously donated wines for winners. Ironically Aggie and Dean took home a 2009 Shiraz each whilst David Hosking would be sharing a Classic Dry White with Jill courtesy of Harriet’s draw. Jackie and her colleagues served alternate lunch plates of succulent steak (that Mark reeeallly enjoyed twice) or stuffed chicken breast both plated with creamy mash, roast pumpkin and sliced carrots. Garden salad was optional. Unbeknownst to club members Olga and her team were choosing their favourite Porsches in the car park while we were dining. Dean was on a winning streak taking out runner up for his Agate Grey 2015 981 Cayman. A 2012 sweet white for his pride and joy. First prize ….drum roll please….. Murray Pivac received an elegantly presented Duo box of 2012 Sweet Red and Sweet White which just goes to show if you put the effort in and polish your Forest Green 1988 911 3.2 Carrera before a register run you will be rewarded
The end of the day was approaching so what better way to prepare for one of two suggested routes back to Melbourne than with a sugar load. Rich tiramisu and decadent strawberry cheesecake were served. Members consumed their simply scrumptious delights and slowly departed the venue.
Hopefully we hadn’t scared off our new members Paul Sbrissa and Karen Bentley, who brought his 1979 Black 911 SC, from future events. Perhaps George & Michelle (occupants of the red 1980 911 SC) can flick them a few of their day’s photos to encourage them to future events.
Those more inquisitive of us decided to peruse the restaurant/ cafe area where Olga pointed out the olives were for sale along with numerous other delectable treats – cheese, pickled vegetables, olives oils and sensational wines. Aggie and I may have purchased a few of the abovementioned.
As I pulled out of the carpark leaving Ken and Harriets’ Silver 1981 911 SC 3.0 Targa in the distance I decided to take Tullamarine home rather than go via Keilor east. Quite frankly I don't know where Keilor east is. Sunbury was pleasantly busy. Somehow I missed the M80 turnoff and ended up in Moonee Ponds then travelled through the city and past the MCG where I encountered the Footy Crowd dregs. Chapel St wasn’t a good choice either, as the police had blocked off a sizeable chunk of it and were detouring drivers. Maybe Dietfried didn’t want to end a fabulous day. After all, I truly believe there is nothing better than being lost in a Porsche.
Early and Mid 911 Run 19 April 2015.
By Ken and Harriet Anson.
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Melbournians are fond of saying that “if you don’t like the weather now, just wait a few minutes and it will change”. But after the coldest and the windiest April night for eight years, the weather hadn’t changed much for the better for the Mid 911 Run down the Peninsula. A huge front with heavy showers was completely covering the area. With our SC’s propensity for “stepping out” when accelerating out of even slightly wet corners, and its recalcitrant windscreen demisting system, this run was always going to be interesting, even without taking into account the slippery road conditions and the single digit temperatures.
At the meeting point while I was complaining about my demisting system to anyone who would listen, the organiser, Graeme quietly advised me that I was actually quite fortunate compared with him, because his 1969 911S did not even have a heater or demister. Apparently during its previous racing life the heating system was removed, and never replaced!
It was also going to be an interesting day for Yannick. For the first time in ages, she was driving Graeme’s manual 964 C4, and she usually drives an automatic. And with her she had her Aunt, Jeanine as her navigator. So what, you would think. Well, Jeanine, who lives in Noumea, doesn’t read or speak English. And no prizes for guessing in which language the notes were written! Apparently the language barrier was overcome by directional hand signals, so the navigation side would still have been interesting in that car. But they still got to morning tea and lunch on time!
The cars included Graeme’s bright yellow 1969S, Julian and Sarah Cress had their ivory 1973E, a number of Mid 911s, a Cayman S, and a couple of 996s including Colin and Margot Templar’s 996 GT3. Now under the conditions on the day, driving that car could have been exciting.
A heavy shower pelted down as Graeme completed his introduction and briefing but we departed Hallam in bright sunshine. A gentle cruise south in loose convoy down the South Gippsland Hwy followed by an attention holding drive with rain and a fogged up screen took us through Dromana and Red Hill South and brought us to our morning tea venue at Merricks General Wine Store where Graeme had thoughtfully reserved the elevated open outdoor patio just for us. But, rugged up, and with the heaters going, and quick service of hot coffee and cakes, morning tea was good.
After morning tea, we headed west down to the coast to Martha’s Point, and through Dromana where we looked forward to the second gear corners and curves of the 1000 foot climb up Arthurs Seat. At least in the SC it was second gear. We found ourselves guiltily, but unnecessarily, checking our speedo as we passed the almost permanent police presence at the bottom, before some hard work at the wheel as we powered up the hill to the top. Then good roads with some tricky turns took us in an anticlockwise loop through Main Ridge, and Flinders, back past Merricks, and then into Terre restaurant at Dromana Estate.
Terre Restaurant at Dromana Estate turned out to be a bit of a hidden gem for us. I doubt whether we would have even heard of it if had not been for this Club Run. The Restaurant has been refurbished, has nice gardens, and plenty of good parking. Lunch was ordered from an a la carte menu, followed by a selection of desserts. The meals were of a very high standard. The drink service was quick and well organised. This is a must revisit place for myself and she who navigates for me.
Lunch completed, it was time to draw the raffle. Tony Stevenson’s son, Christopher was invited to draw out the first winner’s name, a job he performed with credit. Ken Ellaway and Jeanette Sampson each scored a bottle of wine, and Justin Reed won half a dozen stubbies of boutique lager.
This was a run against the odds. Saturday night the weather was atrocious, in fact so bad that one member elected to bring his Golf instead of his very nice 1968L, and I think I would have done the same if it was mine. But not a single person dropped out.
And with Graeme selecting interesting roads that kept the navigator and the driver on their toes, a good place for morning tea, and a lovely lunch venue which served up an outstanding meal, I feel all the participants enjoyed the day regardless of the road and weather conditions. Well done, Graeme and Yannick.