Things were going extremely well until the engine caught fire.
Well, that’s not really true because within 10 minutes of the start of the first stage of the Shannons Adelaide Rally (the largest rally in the southern hemisphere) a Ferrari 360 removed its front end when it found an embankment. Interestingly, last year a white Ferrari did something similar and was immediately covered in a sheet to protect its resale value. If you have bought a white Ferrari this year and thought you got a super deal, I would be checking the panels.
Clearing up the remains of this year’s Ferrari meant the cars behind were held up for two to three hours. Which was probably useful because the Adelaide Motorsport Festival website crashed the night before and we didn’t know what time we were meant to start anyway. But worse things were to come. By the time the cars in the modern competition got to the Collingrove Hillclimb, where the organisers had put on lunch, the other greedy drivers had eaten it all. This was not the only form of blatant discrimination. As the two oldest drivers in the rally in the oldest car, we didn’t receive a pensioner’s discount or a seniors cardholder handicap advantage. I blame the Turnbull government for this.
Your idea of rallying probably comes from watching the World Rally Championship on Foxtel — you know, three-day events driven on surfaces ranging from gravel and tarmac to snow and ice. Each rally is split into 15-25 special stages that are run against the clock on closed roads. This is the one where two people in the car shout at each other in a weird language and the Finnish drivers crash into pine trees and get eaten by polar bears. Tarmac rallying is the same but it’s all on tarmac (which is why it’s called … never mind).
Anyway, with only two stages to go, the mighty Weekend Australian BMW was billowing smoke like a coal-fired power station on steroids. Oh, and sometime before the starter motor had died so whenever we stopped we had to push-start the car. Guess who did the pushing while the other driver claimed his hands were tools of God and had to be protected. Do you think Lewis Hamilton has similar problems? We know the Mazda CX-5 does.
Anyway, we did run into (not literally) quite a few Weekend Australian motoring section readers on the top of Old Norton Summit Road, where many onlookers thought a bushfire had started. Most of the readers surprisingly said their IQs hadn’t dropped by reading this column. But then again, they wouldn’t know, would they? One reader asked if BMW stood for Borrowing My Wallet and another asked how I knew Michael McMichael (so good, like Wagga Wagga, Bong Bong, Gin Gin and Walla Walla, they named him twice) was the best mechanic in the known universe.
Well, as many of you would know, Michael has recently added brain surgery to the many side lines he is offering at the global HQ of Michael McMichael Motors in the Monaco of Motor City — Stepney, South Australia. Customers have always been able to enjoy herpetology services (brown snakes a speciality), Cicerone training — leading to a Cicerone certificate showing you are a certified beer professional (naturally proudly sponsored by Cooper’s family brewery) — as well as the day spa with the Royal Purple SAE HPS full synthetic oil and hot stone couples massage.
Like any great artiste — think Glenn Gould, David Helfgott and Leonardo — when he is working, Michael often calls on the creator by name (such is his close friendship with him/her/other), shouts words that show his deep medical training by describing many body parts and their function, and often breaks down in tears.
As you also know, despite the high profile the Weekend Australian Racing Team enjoys, we have struggled with sponsorship, especially from Mazda. Usually it’s only been Michael McMichael Motors (herpetology division), Dean How’s Peninsula BM and myself who have shelled out to keep our many cars competing. In good news, the soon to be internationally known Monrovia Tires (“The best tires for your car and your wagon”) has agreed to supply us with at least three tyres for each event. Chief executive Aloysius Dorme Tipotek said in a prepared statement: “Our tires are built for the toughest conditions Liberia can throw up: military coups, civil war and landmines buried in the roads. We hope WART can take us to the world.” If you are looking for a new set of slicks for your car or wagon (two or four wheeled) Monrovia Tires are on the corner of Monrovia’s Ashmun and Mechlin streets. Aloysius promises serious discounts to any reader who says the password: John Durie.
After a rough 24 hours we’re hopefully starting today. It will be huge, with the last day of the rally, Troy Bayliss aka Mr Buzzi fresh from his appearance on Gouger Street last night taking kiddies for a ride on the back of his superbike, Craig Lowndes in an F1 car, a Time Attack demo (sadly without former world champion and WART team member Garth Walden), a drift demo from The Driftsquid, the Barossa’s own Jake Jones and a race between a Ferrari F1 and a Toyota 86. With Ferrari’s run of luck lately, the 86 will win.
If you are the unlucky owner of the 360 and were looking to replace it, you missed out on the 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione by Scaglietti by a whisker. Complete with a huge racing history, RM Sotheby’s sold the Fezzer for $24 million in New York late this week.