MSCA wrap – The Bend, June 2022
We finally made to The Bend! Around 148 super keen competitors and their crew from Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia headed to Tailem Bend. After saying goodbye to Miss Elise, The Husband and I loaded the course car onto the back of the motorhome and set off. After a couple of shaky setbacks of “did you pack the run group stickers?” and, “where’s the key to the Abarth?!”, we were on our way with what seemed like the rest of Melbourne.
After about 8 hours of car karaoke, too many red frogs and way too much chocolate, we arrived at The Bend. The place was buzzing with MSCA folks. The vibe was high, and the smiles were wide as we shared a meal and got some track tips from Wayne Williams, The Bend Operations Manager, before heading trackside the following morning.
While most of the competitors were enjoying their Sunday breakfast, the Abarth and I (thankfully) cut a few laps so we could work out which way the squiggly bits went. It would have been very uncool if the course car lost the field. I think I did manage to lose a few – easily done in the bendy blind bits of the track. Sorry about that. I was under strict instruction from the Husband: “The first session is two laps under course car. On the second lap, I want you to fang it”. Sure. This Girl Racer does not need to be told that twice. So, with that in mind, I planted my foot and the little Abarth, as best she could, took off, only to be told (read yelled at) by the Clerk of Course (aka The Husband) to “Slow down! You are going too fast!”. Apparently, I was having too much fun. Oopsie.
To say The Bend is a technical track is an understatement. It is packed with squiggly bits, blind and off-camber corners and a beautiful righthand sweeper that if you get right, flows oh-so sweetly. It’s a fantastic track that reminded me about vision and looking through the corners (well, the ones that weren’t blind). Miss Elise would have loved this track and I missed her dearly. Not to say the Abarth wasn’t a whole lot of fun, but I have a feeling Miss Elise would have had a wow of a time. The Bend has been accurately described as a cerebral workout and it did not disappoint. Remembering which corner went where was truly a memory test. I had the good fortune of cutting many laps in the course car and even then, it took some time to dial in. Any wonder most drivers were lost in the curves for the first part of the day! I suspect that just when you think you know the track, you don’t. But that’s what makes it challenging and a whole lot of fun, right?
The Bend claimed a few cars, with mechanical issues ranging from gearboxes to clutches and brakes. We lost mufflers, air filters and the odd dorian, and a few drivers went sightseeing off the black stuff. Judging by the wide grins and stories from the paddock, a good event was had by all. We finished the day with just one red flag and three recoveries. An amazing effort given most drivers had never been to the track!
The fastest time of the day was Ian Branson in his Hyper X1 with a time of 2:01:5, followed by Stuart Shirvington in his PRB Clubman (2:03:9). The NSW clubbies were fast! Our Victorian boys need to lift their game!
A huge thank you to our Victorian officials who made the trip over and to the SA officials who helped bring our day together. The Bend staff were so helpful in answering our many queries. Even Steve Suggan from SD Pics made the trip out west. If you want to grab a Bend brag shot or two, you can visit Steve’s website: http://www.sdpics.com/motorsport/cars/?sub=b90cb95d2a24b5cb21103bc3348584bf
Finally, thank you to our competitors for your patience and for sticking with us despite the two-year hiatus. We could not have done this without all of you, and we are so appreciative of your support.
Shall we give it another go next year? We’d like to hear from our Bend competitors to get an idea of whether you’d like to do it all again. Standby for a survey that will be coming your way soon.
Winton, Sunday 21 August
We are back at Winton after our winter break, and we are hosting the Triumph Challenge which is always a great spectacle. Entries are open for this event, so if you want to challenge yourself on this technical track, join us at this great regional circuit.
Phillip Island, Sunday 18 September
We are off to the Island in September and entries are now open. Our Phillip Island sprints are popular so get in fast to avoid disappointment. The winter weather should be behind us by then so come for a run!
Come & Try Day – Phillip Island, Saturday 3 December
Our Come & Try Day is aimed at novice drivers and offers a safe introduction to grassroots motorsport. The popular program includes basic circuit driving techniques, classroom and practical sessions and coaching by skilled instructors. The MSCA supports diversity and inclusion in motorsport and encourages women and juniors to enter this event. This is a great opportunity to get your support crew, friends and family members involved. The event is untimed, so no one will ever know if they are faster than you. Entries are now open for this premier event so spread the word!
MSCA nominated instructors, please also register for this event to confirm your availability.
I look forward to seeing you trackside soon.