Morgan Park Group B Sprints – August 1st & 2nd 2020.
Story and photos by Cris Johansen.
It was getting close to 6 months since I had driven down to Warwick in the Granite Belt region of South East Queensland and I’d forgotten just how picturesque it is around there. Coming down from Cunningham’s Gap towards the New England Highway was looking stunning in the winter sunshine. When compared to the same time last year, when the region was suffering through severe drought without a blade of green grass to be seen, this year the countryside was looking so good that I stopped for a photo of the landscape.
Most of the Lotus contingent had gathered at Morgan Park for practice on the Friday afternoon and joined those who could not get down in time at Pit Stop Lodge on Friday night to catch up, over a drink, on the impact of COVID-19 on our lives since we had last gathered. We walked down to the Stockyard Tavern for a socially distanced meal and enjoyed the crystal clear night sky and a great view of the moon in close proximity to both Saturn and Jupiter on the way back to our accommodation.
Saturday morning brought perfect conditions for the track with full sunshine, no wind and a temperature in single figures and, despite the challenges of social distancing, the Warwick District Car Club had things running very smoothly with the first group of cars out on the track by 8am. With round 2 being cancelled as a result of the lockdowns of late, this event was counted as round 3 and ran on track layout E that most of us enjoy, particularly since they had resurfaced the section of the track just leading onto the main straight.
The Lotus cars made up 2 run groups, with group 3 consisting of a Clubbie, an Evora and 4 Elise variants, whilst run group 11 had the Honda powered and/or supercharged Elises’ along with 2 V6 Exiges and an S2 Exige.
Some of us where a bit rusty having not driven on the track for several months but no one embarrassed themselves too much with everyone enjoying the opportunity to put in some quick laps. Geoff Noble was fastest as usual but was keen to ensure that his recently applied silicone sealant was staying in place and lost track of the laps and Barry Mather was having trouble with a wheel bearing that ended his weekend prematurely.
It was great to 2 guys down from the Sunshine Coast in their Elises and both Pat Richards and Peter Quinn kept getting quicker as the weekend progressed. There were relatively few hold ups on the track so we all managed to get our 4 runs in on Saturday in plenty of time to head back into Warwick for a catch up before dinner at Bluebird Smokehouse, followed by dessert back at The Lodge thanks to Marie who organised the ice-creams and chocolates.
Sunday was another stunning day with identical perfect weather for a day at the track and most of us managed to put in our fastest times during one of the 3 runs we had on the second day of the event.
The final results of the event were that everyone was a winner for having been able to enjoy our first track time after such a long break and for having the pleasure of enjoying driving our Lotus’s in the way they meant to be. For those looking for more trophies to fill their garages, were as follows;
Sports Cars 1501 – 2000cc
1st – Gary Pitt
2nd – Allan Hunt
3rd – Rob Stevens
Sports Cars 3001cc and over
1st – Geoff Noble
2nd – Tony Seymour
4th – Martin O’Brien