Lotus Club Drive In a Covid 19 Environment
By John Barram, photos by Steve Lennox.
The world has changed. It will never be the same again. How many times have we heard that lately? No doubt it is true but I still want to drive my Lotus.
Like many others, when Queenslanders were allowed to drive recreationally in a 50km radius from home I studied the maps, got out the Lotus, and away we went with just a few friends. When it was 100km we went that far. But the limits on social contact remain so the challenge became to run a club drive while keeping safe and staying within the rules. This was mulled over by the club executive for a few weeks and the club drive on 28 June was the result.
Travelling with all cars in a line has its problems at the best of times so we decided to give drivers a written description of our start and finish points, towns, distances and major intersections in between so that everyone could find their own way to the end. There would be no kneed to group together at the start and no need to stop and re-group the cars during the drive.
While the blue sky and sunshine of the previous week was replaced by drizzly rain on the day, we had 16 Cars at the start including a friend of a friend with his son in a DAX clubman. The start was at Fernvale where there is plenty of room in the park and coffee was available across the road. While some people stayed in their cars, there were plenty of elbow bumps and greetings between club members who had not seen each other for many months.
I saw no kissing or hugging or otherwise naughty behaviour. So far so good. All drivers already had the navigation information which had been provided electronically so there was no need for the usual coming together for a “drivers briefing”. We simply sent the cars off in two loose groups with a ten minute gap in the middle.
After a quick tour of the Rosewood area and Mount Walker we headed up the Warrego Highway to Aratula for our first stop. Now this had been carefully selected as a place with three service stations and two cafes all within sight in the main street, to enable people to find refreshments without crowding together. The Lotus cars were well spread out as planned.
We had intended to gather the cars before setting off for the second leg of the drive, but as people already knew where we were going and how to get there, the drivers were taking the initiative and setting off in twos and threes for the drive to the picnic area at Moogerah Dam.
The light showers on the day meant that a short section of unsealed roadwork which was not there when I surveyed the route was a bit muddy but this section of the drive was otherwise uneventful.
As far as I know nobody got lost on that trip and in fact a couple of extra people turned up at the lunch point. Club members had been advised to bring their own lunch and seating. We were at a rather popular picnic spot with great views of the border ranges and we were by no means alone. But there was plenty of room for us all to spread out although most ended up in the area around a covered picnic table which we were able to snag. People enjoyed their lunches while socialising at respectable distances.
By this stage the showers had ceased and people seemed in no hurry to leave with many taking the option of a walk across the Dam wall before the trip home. A number of people said they had enjoyed the way this drive had been organised so I think there are a few lessons here in how to run a social drive whether under Covid 19 limitations or not.