Floriade, Canberra 2011
My collegue Liesbeth joined us for the weekend. I mentioned to her that I was going to the Floriade and she said she was trying to organise the bus to go down, so we offered the spare seat in the car. It doesn't hurt that she's Isabella and Annabel's favourite aunty.
The girls were well behaved, and they are learning to travel well.
The flowers were as sensational as last time. The weather wasn't great, it was overcast cold and grey, but we made the most of it.
We had a great Japanese tepanyaki dinner that Isabella is still talking about, and arrived home knackered.
Floriade - Canberra
Molonglo Gorge, Canberra
Still, it was worth the effort to get out and commune with Nature for a little. Molongo Gorge is part of the river that is dammed to make Lake Burley Griffin, the water feature that gives Canberra some of its charm.
Canberra at Night
Subaru Rally of Canberra, Day 2
I started out with watching the jump, which is essentially a lump about a foot high in the road about 40 metres after a tricky doulbe left turn. Even with that corner right in front of it, the cars still had enough speed to be getting anywhere upto a foot into the air off it. Truly awesome.
I had been following Dean Herridge and Bill Hayes fairly carefully yesterday, and did the same today, with the difference that I skipped hte mineshaft stage way over the other side of Canberra and went straight to Kowen Central to catch them starting stages there. Much easier than the day before, and I was able to follow the stages around and catch the top 7 or 8 cars on each section, much more satisfying.
The water splash, though, would have to have been the pick of the spots, nice and shady for most of the day, and unquestionably spectacular as the cars hit the water. What I couldn't get over was the sound as they hit the water and the cars aqua-planed over the top - like a high pitched screem.
I was thouroughly exhausted when the podium presentations were being done, and I only watched the thing - all those guys that drove all day must be made of steel...
Subaru Rally of Canberra, Day 1.
There were heaps more people this time around, its been two years since I last came down and the number of people had doubled.
The old spectator points out of Paddy's River Rd have been replaced with a new section of tracks at Kowen to the east of Canberra. The tracks are awesome with a lot more visible sections and corners, and a large arena like flyover and tunnel portion of some stages for easy access.
But, this and poplarity of the event this year meant that its not as easy and fun, bit of a shame. You had to go from the parking to the arena by bus, and walk from spot to spot. That means that I often missed the leader cars at each point, which sort of defeats the purpose of spectating...
Otherwise though, and excellent day, lots of crazy driving and dust and sunshine. The water splash was pretty great, a concrete culvit filled with water tha the cars had a straight run at. Often, the cars would aquaplane straight over the top, and the sound was astonishing - a high pitched scream.
Subaru Rally of Canberra - Official Start.
All of the drivers and cars were presented in the mall for the public to take a closer look and chat to the drivers and get autographs etc.
Dean Herrige, still driving for Subaru, was kind enough to sign a print of a photo I took in 2004 for me.
Very good to get a closer look at the cars. Lots of expensive cars with women drapped over them.
This is the first leg of the ARC and the APRC, and there were entries from a couple of Indonesian teams. The even was opened by the Ambassador of Indonesia.
Subaru Rally of Canberra, Day 2
The feel was a bit different, the roar and thunder of an approaching 300 BHP rally car, the crack-crack of the backfire, but no car... Then dust, car, roar, and gone...
A fantastic weekend out in the forest. Note to self, next year, bring a damned heavier coat, we were freezing.
Subaru Rally of Canberra, Day 1
We were lucky enough to spend the night in the hotel with a few of the drivers, so finding the first event was fairly easy - just follow the procession of cars that looked like they new where they were going !
Some amazing driving, lots of action.
The first stages were to the west of Canberra, unfortunately there had been big bushfires through only a few months previously, so what used to be a forest was now flat and featureless dustbowl - but it made for long range viewing of the cars.
THe most spectacular stage of the day was the 'MineShaft' a 45 degree downhill run with a nasty crest at the top. Lots of air, and a few near misses.
We finished the day with a tour of the Tidbinbillia Radio Observatory.