2013 ASRF Nationals – Parklands Showground, Southport QLD

Road Trip to 2013 Nationals Parklands Showgrounds QLD

Saturday 23/3/13, I had just finished a 12 hr shift, arrived home and started packing the A model Tudor while waiting for Debbie to get back from a Hens day/night party, all the time contemplating about heading off as soon as Debbie got home. After packing, I thought it would be a good idea to get some sleep, so I laid down on the couch for a nap – half an hour later I woke, and was jumping out of my skin, but still had to wait for Debbie.

Debbie finally arrived home at 10:45, so I told her my plan to drive until I got sleepy. 3 hours later, we pulled into Glenrowan for fuel. As my fuel gauge decided it wouldn’t work, and the speedo was in miles I decided to stop every 200 miles or so for fuel. 35 miles down the road a kangaroo tried to attack us, but at 70 mile per hour – he came off second best. At this point I thought we were in trouble as Debbie let out the loudest “F” bomb I had ever heard. Getting out inspecting the damage, and worried about how we could get repairs done in the dark, I quickly turned on my iPhone torch, only to find there was no damage at all. It seems that I had hit the kangaroo with the left hand front wheel and bounced over him, with his head coming off and splattering blood all over the bonnet and across the windscreen! (No pictures, sorry!)

As we got back in the A model and started to drive off slowly to see if there was any damage to steering components, I said “did I hear you drop the magic word”, with that we both started laughing, because Debbie never swears without alcohol. Debbie was a bit worried about roos after that, so I stopped at a parking bay for a sleep. With the back seat being full I put my feet up on the left hand side of the windscreen, while sitting in the driver’s seat. We stayed there for about 30 min, before moving on as it was cold and uncomfortable. The sun had just come up as we pulled into Gundagai for coffee and a top up. We stood in the sunshine warming up with our coffee and soaking up the sun. I checked out the A model for damage in the day light, and was happy to find nothing wrong.

I hoped to get through Sydney, before I got tired as it was Sunday and it would be easier than the Monday morning rush. On the road again and admiring the scenery it wasn’t long before we got to Pheasants Nest for fuel. I was quick to word up a fellow motorist on the quickest way through Sydney and before we knew it, we were going past the Newcastle turn off. Stopping for fuel at Belahdulah, we decided that we had enough and it was time to call it a day. I managed to talk Debbie into going as far as Taree, and booking into a motel for the night. On arriving at Taree we noticed the Taree Aquatic Centre on the river opposite the motel, a nice easy walk to a cold beer and a meal. The local entertainment was the Sunday meat raffle, with ½ the town in attendance, I’m not sure if they were talking about us, because we were strangers in their club, or because we were buying their raffle tickets. We gave Pete and Robbie Lauder a call as they were leaving Geelong after us. They decided to travel the Newell Hwy and were making a good mile. They had been in contact with the Tassie guys and the Hamilton boys, who were both coming up behind them, so if they had any trouble they would have some support. We then checked on the McDonalds progress, with Deano letting us know he had just arrived at Ashmore Palms and was about to have a cold beer. Most of the Geelong Rodders were staying there.

We didn’t do any good in the raffles (much to the delight of the locals) so it was off to get some well-deserved sleep. Up at 7am and back on the road, we planned to stop in at Coffs Harbour and catch up with a couple of old time rodders in Jenny and Peter Crothers. A quick chat and a look at Peter’s A Model collection, that he is bringing in from the USA before moving on to Brisbane, and stay with my brother Steve. Steve had been down to the Queenscliff Rod Run in February and was driving my A Model Tudor for the weekend when, Larry from Australian Street Rodder took the picture of Steve cruising the main street (picture in Australian Street Rodder No 275).
We decided on a few beers then a BBQ for dinner and a few more beers, before Steve came out with a bottle of Kilkenny. Let’s just say I wasn’t very well until dinner time the next day. The Tudor wasn’t very well either, so a new set of points and a condenser was tried, but it didn’t help. I decided to put a carbie kit through the Holly, talk about a can of worms, she was badly corroded. I had the kit so I gave it a good clean, new power valve, jets, and gasket kit, but after doing that twice to no avail, I contacted Steve Piper from the TAC who was nearby and he had one at home, so I looked after his work shop until he got back. A little tweak from the carbie man and we were on our way back down to Ashmore Palms to catch up with the rest of our crew.

Hugs and kisses all around, then off to Parklands to collect our goody bags at registration and have a look around. Guess what? The place was the same as when we left it in 2005. The girls had organised to go to the RSL for dinner. After going around in circles for 20 minutes trying to find the front door due to endless road works, we sat down to a very nice meal and a couple of drinks. We went back to camp for a night cap, and to share our road trip hazards with each other. Good Friday we cruised over to the showgrounds together. Upon arrival, we could see a lot more activity than what was happening the day before with the food vendors and trade sites open for business, the place was a buzz with people everywhere.

We slowly cruised down between the trade sites checking out the new products on display, when a 32 ford roadstar with no-one driving it, started up and drove up on the running board and into the left quarter panel. The fool owner had given the remote to a mate to open the boot, he pressed the wrong button, and with no lock out switch, or hand brake the roadster took off. This put a dampener on the day as I was not happy.

We found Chris Mitchell; he had set up on top of a hill that over looked most of the showground and the entrance to the Cruz track, which made a great vantage point to take in the scenery. As the weekend went on more and more of our friends came to take advantage of the view.

We walked through the trades picking up a bargain or two as we went. The Cruz track was still gravel, and the go-whoa was on grass which quickly turned to dust. There was a good display of show quality cars on display in an air condition shed, which provided great relief from the sun as it was a bit warm outside. Rods were displayed on the oval over the weekend and cruising to a few different diners was arranged for the rodders to Cruz to. Some traders took advantage of the crowds and called in some celebrities, such as Dwayne from Coddingtons and Mark JACKO Jackson from the AFL to be the MC at a so called lookalike talent show. The Dyno was in full flight with some Hot Rods pulling some big horse power, and attracting huge crowds.

Saturday night dinner was very well catered for with heaps of food being put on our plates, we had to say stop that’s enough! Sunday morning the sun shining and the Easter Bunny left Easter eggs on all the Hot Rods in Ashmore Palms. We cruised back over to Parklands for brekky, but the catering staff had let some people down as it was very light on, we were early and got a feed. So it was a day of relaxation and viewing. By the time presentations came around the skys had opened up and things were a little soggy under foot outside, but the big marquee proved to be money well spent to keep everyone dry.

On Monday they had organised a day cruise to Coolangatta for a show and shine, and take advantage of the restaurants that had specials on for the Rodders. Some people were clever enough to move their accommodation to Coolangatta, to save them doing extra miles the next day, and relax by having a drink or two.

Knowing we were leaving the next day we went back to our cabin for a cook up and not being in a hurry, we didn’t get ready to leave until 9:30am. Heading back off down the highway, we called into Coffs Harbour for one last coffee with the Peter and Jenny Crothers and to find a Clark rubber store to get a cushion for the trip home.

 Debbie and I were suffering as the seats in the A Model weren’t that comfortable on a trip as long as this. We decided to go off the beaten track and call into Foster/Tuncurry as we had never been there before. It was quiet surprising to see multi story apartments on the other side of the river. After a look around we found a nice fish and chip shop and grabbed a bit to eat and headed for the motel.
We got up at 8am and made tracks for Holbrook having decided that would be a good place to stop to break the trip up, and give us an easier last leg home. Pulling into Holbrook we found the RSL was walking distance from the motel, so we left the rod behind, and walked to work up a thirst. It’s very hard to beat the good old RSL when it comes to meals. I’m glad we walked – that way we were able to get the meal down before we hit the sack.

The next morning I checked the water and oil, and packed the Tudor for the last time of the trip. We arrived home mid-afternoon and was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. Overall it was a great trip; great Nationals and we got to enjoyed it with great friends.
Ian Riseley

Just a few pics