By Alex Molocznyk, photos by Elisa Artioli & Gloria Wade.
Following the concours a scenic drive into the Sunshine Coast Hinterland was programmed. Lotus 2019 Guest of Honour Elisa expressed an interest in the drive, as she had been mainly on the freeways up to that point of her stay and wanted to experience some of our more interesting Lotus oriented back roads, so it was arranged to take her out in my car.
The drive was organised as a choice of alternative routes lasting 75 mins or a longer 120 min run and as the choice of route and departure times were left to personal preferences there was no formal convoy Elisa’s preference was the longer run. We left the concourse leading three other cars.
Instructions for the routes was a handout showing a basic map of the runs, so we engaged the assistance of the phone GPS for guidance. As you are aware a GPS will send you along roads you don’t want to go and this one was determined to get us on the motorway. Consequently, on the road out of Mooloolaba we had a few wrong directions at the roundabouts and in Palmwoods lost the three from our convoy amid the confusion but picked up two others.
It was then a straightforward spirited drive through some open forest and up a nice twisty hill to give the Lotus a good workout. We stopped at a scenic spot at the top of the range for Elisa to take over the wheel.
One of our convoy turned back a few kilometres past Maleny after reaching the end of a short drive option. Elisa mentioned she was starting to feel the sun and fortunately the other car had some sunscreen that they shared around.
Elisa was enjoying the drive although she had previously been a little apprehensive about driving a right hand drive car on the left side of the road. She was well in control and we were soon discussing the differences between driving the S2 and her S1. She explained it was good experience for her because she recently became half owner together with a girlfriend of a right hand drive S1 that they intend to prepare as a track car doing their own mechanical work learning as they go.
She drove through beautiful countryside to Kenilworth and then to Obi Obi for nearly an hour where she was beginning to feel the effects of the sun. It was perfect Queensland autumn weather but in the cool hills the topical sun is deceptive and the combination of being outside all morning at the concourse and then driving an open top Lotus with the sun at its peak was burning her exposed arms and legs. We stopped to put the roof up for protection from further sun and Elisa decided to be the passenger to take in the views for the rest of the drive and the rarely used air conditioner was switched on to cool her down. We decided to take a quicker route back in order to give us some time to relax and recover in preparation for the presentation dinner that night.
Summing up the scenery Elisa said she was very taken with the proximity of the town and beach of Mooloolaba and the rural mountain countryside in such a relatively short distance. It is something she does not have in Europe.
The drive was a very enjoyable part of a very successful event and a particular pleasure was showing part our world to our international and interstate friends.