The Shortest Day - Tour of the Dandenongs

Gday all Shortest Day Tourist and interested parties …

Our Shortest Day Tour of the Dandenongs is now done and dusted!

I am sorry to report that there were two errors in the Route Chart early in Section One, The Novice Tour. These crept in following the Course Check where the Immediate distances were added following discussions between the Checker, Mike Novak and myself during the Check.

Unfortunately as I mentioned in my notes at the time, Peter Fraser; who put together Section 1, was not with us due to his convalescence from an ankle op.

I did those immediates after the Check so the buck stops with me rather than the Course Checker !

For you computer geeks, yes I did use auto calculate in Excel, but the two immediates in question were both after adding a line of text and I used my older brain to calculate them !

Some crews lost some time here looking for the correct route and for that I apologise.

There have been some questions raised regarding the independence of the Checker. I agree totally with such sentiments and I need to confirm that this was the case with The Tour. Mike did not see any Instructions or Maps before getting in the Latta bus in Ringwood at 9.00am Course Check morning. This was at Mikes instance and his only other knowledge of the Route was some initial planning many months ago and the same event publicity as everyone else had available.

The suggestion to use a totally blind crew for the official check is a waste of time in my opinion although helpful I would agree as a double check once the Director and Checker confirm the Route and Instructions. I had a number of optional instructions and route variations at some points along the way which Mike and I discussed on the day and we had Tom Latta's valuable experience to call on as well.

Some have commented on the style of event not being in keeping with previous Social Permit Tours run recently by the HRA. I have looked back at my publicity and I never promoted the day just as a Social Tour. Sure it was run under a Social Permit and was not timed. I would also agree that other Social Permit Tours the HRA have run recently have been of a different style. Is there a problem with that ??

To quote from the last main publicity for the event in late May on the club website, facebook page and I think on yahoo groups also:

Section One is from Ringwood to Melba Park, Lilydale and is laid out as a Novice style Introductory Tour ...

Section Two; Lilydale to Seville Centenary Gardens. 55 kms of old style HRA Touring Assm route and navigation ...

Section Three; from Seville to Belgrave is set out as a Driving Tour of eastern side of the Ranges ...

I believe that is what the Shortest Day team presented.

The average speed used to work out the day was 60km/h on the Novice and Driving Tour Sections and 30 to 35 km/h on the Navigational Sections 2 & 4. On previous Touring Assm I have done I have used a 50 km/h average to set the Schedule.

This slower average was used, in part, as I could see the tighter Dandenongs and suburban roads would create slower running. Although I should add that the Mt Evelyn to Seville part was on mostly open roads. Also I stayed clear of the busiest Tourist areas of the Dandenongs, such as Sassafras, Olinda and Mt Dandenong itself due to the likely hood of extra traffic. I did send you to Upwey way on the other side though of cause !

Regarding distance, this was always a bit of a challenge with the event concept being a Lap of the Dandenongs. This concept came into being when I “discovering” the official map, Broadbents The Dandenongs, in my collection some time ago, and I hope you agree that it is a beautiful map. Also I did cut out about 20 kms from my first draft route, making it just on 160 kms.

Also to assist crews struggling with time I designed the event with short cuts in mind (as I always do). The main one being the loop of the Wandin's in Section 2. These short cuts were noted in the instructions in Sect 2 & 4 including a first car due time and I had a Passage Official at the start of the Wandin's loop to reinforce the point.

There was also a mention the Tour being unsuitable of the event for “classic cars”. I don’t see any relevance. There was no mention as being suitable for Classic Cars in the Tour promotion. The Information documents said, “Normal road cars are suitable as long as not to low to the ground”.

I do thank Matt Philip and Yvonne for gracing us with the presence of his Classic 1946 Jaguar and I would agree that it would have been hard too turn the good ship around in places ! One other crew rang and asked the suitability of the roads and I noticed they turned up in one of the more sporter cars of their fleet.

I summary it would appear that the old style HRA Touring Assm route and navigation may have had its day. Fifteen starter was less than expected and I am surprised that some people struggled so much in a Tour that was much easier, in my opinion, than the Touring Assm I have put on in the past.

The lack of practice in recent years must be showing!

The concept of the Tour of the Dandenongs was to be low stress from an organising point of view, and it was just that.

It was an enjoyable experience for myself, due mostly to the assistance I had from the Shortest Day crew of Mike Novak, Peter Fraser, Ken Cusack and Tom Latta. Along with Marg Daverington and Carol Latta.

On the day we had extra assistance from some regulars, Julie Quayle & Rob, Amy Jane (the Queen of Kalorama for the day) & Miss Terri, Steve Hollowood, Matt DeVaus and Paul Patterson. And Bruce Wilson who opened up Calypso Campers for the day and hang around to stoke fire.

And of course we had the ever popular Mr BBQ, aka Joe Cool, catering! First with morning tea at Melba Park with the lovely Marg assisting (no Peach Melba thou I note) and then again the never ending BBQ at Calypso Campers at the finish !

Amy Jane rightfully took out The Presidents Officials Cup for her presentation on the day and I note that all but two crews fell for the Pink “Honey Trap” and went straight into the Kalorama Karousal from the shortest – WD – direction!

Thank you all.

And thanks as well to our Tourist who generally seemed happy; and challenged, at the finish.

I have enough route from my surveying to do another Tour of the Dandenongs and a different map to base it on. I will leave it up to the Club Members to let me know if they want another similar Tour next year. I can cut out the lower section which means I can make it shorter and would not use any of the suburban roads like those from FTG to Ringwood as I don't like using them either !

Some different trophies and awards will be presented at the next HRA meeting on Wednesday August 8th. The awards are to reward a few different efforts in participating in the event and I am proud to announce that they will include a special award, The John Quayle Encouragement Award which has been judged and will be awarded by Julie Quayle.

I look forward to seeing as many participants at the presentation where we can chew so more fat over the Tour of the Dandenongs.

Simon Brown

For the Shortest Day crew