Continuing our series of posts reliving our past history, I thought I would bring you another of Andy’s reports from way back in 2005. Check out his short report below….
Finally, we’re away from Canberra and heading to even colder climes! Matt, Mel, Graham and Andy headed south to Dinner Plains just south of Mt Hotham for three days of Alpine Challenge viewing in superb conditions with some awesome rigs. We took a leisurely drive down on Fri afternoon, driving through snow bound Hotham and into Dinner Plains to the Currawong Lodge for our three night stay in ski bunny style, makes a nice change not to have to pitch tents, just throw gear in the drying room, crack a bourbon and sit back in front of a roaring open fire, pondering whether to play some pool downstairs or jump into the ten person spa while we waited for the Mt Hotham pizza for dinner.
Sat morning saw us head the 20km down the road to the private property that hosts this annual event, and even at 1000m we experienced mixed snow and rain, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. Nine teams of two rigs competed over 7 stages over the 2 ½ day event, the first being a winch challenge from hell with 45 degree slopes and boggy conditions. Not wanting to spend too much time watching the skull dragging this entailed, we moved onto the second stage to enjoy a boghole that would make the quarry* pale into insignificance. Only approached after a wild mud run up the hill to it’s start, four foot deep and steep sided, this hole would swallow up the biggest trucks and chew through winches at a rate that would make the Warn sponsors very happy little retailers. Even once extracted from this hole the woes were not over, as the ‘chicken run’ exit for those failing to complete the stage still required up to an hour of winching up the nearest hill. Nothing is easy in this game.
After a nosh up dinner and cosy overnight, Sunday dawned to a nice layer of snow that allowed the immature more snowball fights (OK, it was mostly me that started them), we headed down the road again to enjoy the carnage in superbly clear and almost warm conditions. Today would see the only rollover of the day across a horrific side angled crossing that also saw some inspired and hair-raising driving that would make Jeep Hill** no more worrying than Justin’s driveway. We also enjoyed viewing a fair share of right foot fun through some great little creek runs and bogholes.
Monday once again tempted us out to the track for the final morning of fun and the culminating stage by two drivers hell bent on finishing with a placing. With a broken front end and a tyre hanging on by a thread, and only 100m to run through the creek, a tow rope drag and redlined throttles saw the most inspired and crazy drive I’ve ever seen. The left wheel parted company halfway through the bog but that didn’t slow them until the final climb out of the creek proved too much, but not before raising a frenzy in the crowd watching the chaotic run. Thankfully we caught this action on both videos so watch out for the replay.
The butcher’s bill for the weekend, at my count, was five winches, three diffs, one totalled front end, three CV joints, several snorkels and multiple bruised egos. Carlovers will be flushing the mud from their bays for months to come!
Fully sated, we enjoyed our last tray back BBQ before heading north again, via Mt Hotham for another snow fight, and home.
Thankyou Matt for organising this trip, I’ll be back next year, no matter where I’m living! Thanks also to Mel and Graham for the great company, and Sooz for the Pumpkin Soup!
*The Quarry was a site that used to be open in the Brindabellas which was used by the ADF to test some of their driving skills in the old Mogs etc. It was fun with a few interesting obstacles. Now closed to the public.
**Jeep Hill was another site in the Brindies where there was a technically challenging (read difficult) and very steep climb with nasty rock steps and obstacles throughout. So called due to the demise of a Jeep at some stage whilst attempting the climb. Now closed to the public.
There are more images available at https://actatc.org/actatc-gallery/trips/2005-2/nggallery/2005/0507-alpine-challenge.