Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Road Trip to TSOA National - Clare Valley SA - Part 1

When Ken Bryant suggested a few months back that we should try and make the TSOA National in South Australia it seemed easy to agree. There was a Supersprint planned at Mallala circuit and the accommodation was right in the middle of a fantastic wine producing area. We just needed to drive a few thousand kilometres which me and Humph had done a fair few times 15 - 20 years back in some fairly old cars.
Fast forward to 19th October 2016 and the three amigos gathered at my place at the leisurely time of 10.30am for the planned three day trip to SA.
The cast assembled here are Kens 4.3 RV8 1970 saloon, my 1973 2000 and Humphs 2.7PI track car.
We had all had various bits and bobs to do pre-event.

Ken had to rebuild his P6 diff after towing a dead Stag back from Geraldton - it is a bit on the limit with his circa 300bhp. He had also had his Stag drums machined on the outside to try and sort vibrations - we have found most Triumph drums benefit from balancing to improve smoothness at circa 70-80mph.

Humph had managed to break his gearbox a few months back so was running a freshly built unit with various 40 year old components had also managed to fry his alternator and then loose a main feed cable on the monday due to vibration fatigue. Humph also bought a set of 195/65 15 Michelin XM's for his spare set of minilites to save his R tyres which he stowed inside.

I had a long list of things I should do but obviously did very little other than basic checks and some minor welding in the standard Australian saloon rust spot of the main NS chassis under the leaking washer bottle. XRM got its bi annual polish and was deemed ready to roll - using it virtually daily does allow a certain faith in its ability to run reliably.

Inevitably we filled our boots with a huge selection of spares - starter, alternators, coil packs edis modules, driveshafts , seal rubber etc etc - I don't recall doing this last time I drove across the country in a 30 year old PI!

Satnav programmed and indicating that we would arrive in South Australia 26 hours later we headed off down the Great Eastern Hwy with the planned destination of Fraser Range station - a start of 800km's to get us in the mood and onto the Eyre Highway but not involve any night driving.

We made Norseman (below) by 4.30pm and purchased an essential 24 pack of refreshment to wind down. All cars running nicely with no dramas - fuel use was also seeming very reasonable which was a relief to all concerned as it ain't cheap heading east.

Heading east in the Southern Eucalypts towards Fraser Range homestead - setting sun behind us - time to find a bed and avoid the wildlife

So a decent start to the trip - no issues - good fuel consumption and 800kms or 500miles knocked off. Humph was using a bit of oil through a leaking oil plug but only annoying rather than a problem.

After a decent sleep and a minor snoring competition with Humph we got up early just after the sun at around 5.30am and set the GPS for Ceduna. Not many junctions today then - stay on the Eyre Highway for about 1100kms...... From this point at Fraser Range / Balledonia through to Eucla the road resembles the floor of a meatworks - dead roo's and the odd dead cow everywhere with Wedgetail Eagles feasting on the carcasses. Not a place to drive at night - leave that to the all night road trains with large RSJ's for roo bars..

GPS makes it look small but that's the equivalent of London to John O Groats

Nullabor is slightly rubbish latin for No Trees - you can see its pretty apt.... You really don't want to have a problem out here - nothing is cheap or simple this far from civilisation. Luckily cruising at 70 - 80 mph is very low impact so as long as you stay alert and don't do anything silly. It was a different story 40 years ago before they sealed the road!

A quick stop at Border village for a top up with coke and coffee and grab a shot of a larger than average roo.

A bit of sight seeing - this is looking back to the west at the sand dune near Eucla. It was starting to blow a absolute gale at this point - fortunately in the direction we were going.

To be continued.....