Phillip Island, Victoria
When: Thursday 18th to Monday 22 ndMarch, 2010
Venue: Silverwater Resort, Phillip Island
Written by: Victor Lee, Alfesta 2010 Convenor
Alfesta 2010 committee:
- Victor & Mary Lee
- Graeme & Lynnie Peake
- Vin & Marie Sharp
- Jeremy Caldicott
Like most of AROCA Vic’s 2010 Centennary Celebrations, planning for Alfesta 2010 started in early 2008, when an idea was floated to combine Victoria’s turn to hold Alfesta with a two day race weekend held at the same time. The appearance of some “special” Alfas at such an event was a good possibility…
Victorian Alfesta attendees sought the initial expression of interest and received the participants’ approval at Alfseta 2008, Mooroolaba to allow Victoria to move Alfesta away from its traditional Easter timeslot to an earlier weekend.
This approval was reconfirmed a year later by Alfesta attendees when we presented Alfesta 2010 at the final dinner at Alfesta 2009, Orange. The Silverwater Resort was announced as the venue, and attendees were updated on the increased likelihood of the aforementioned appearance of these “special” cars.
About two-thirds into 2009 we discovered that, as is typical in the world of motorsport, Club level events were going to be pushed to the bottom of the pile. After a wait for the Australian Grand Prix, then the Adelaide Clipsal 500, then the annual Phillip Island Historic Meeting to confirm dates, we were left with our Alfesta dates and our two day race weekend on different weekends.
What was initially thought as disastrous actually became quite advantageous to us as organisers. Alfesta would now be held on the same weekend as the annual Phillip Island Historic Meeting. Would (predominantly social) Alfisti prefer to watch club-type cars or real classics? The latter was more likely, so we replanned the event on that basis.
Silverwater Resort is a four star self contained apartment resort with conference facilities. Spread over seven hectares, other facilities include indoor and outdoor pools, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, children’s facilities and a resort oval. It hosts one, two and three bedroom, self-serviced apartments.
We initally reserved accommodation for about 80 people, but then in December bookings literally started flooding in (typical Alfisiti – booking at the last moment!), and had to reserve more rooms. Most of our attendees chose the one bedroom apartments but because of other conference bookings at the Resort and the fact that the Phillip Island Historic Meeting was on the same weekend, we were unable to obtain more rooms and some Alfisti on the waiting list missed out. Some even volunteered to co-share a three bedroom apartment (which has two bathrooms) so they could still attend the event.
Because of the heavy bookings, the Resort gave us an unexpected surprise. At the last moment, we were informed by them that they were unable to provide any more one bedroom apartments to us and we will be provided with two bedroom apartments and extra three bedroom apartments at no additional cost, giving guests that extra bit of space in their rooms!
As we were to discover later, this ‘bonus’ caused some disquiet amongst some attendees, who asked the question: “Why couldn’t we fit more people in?” For the record, this was at the discretion of the resort and more importantly, the events scheduled over the weekend could not physically allow for larger numbers than what we had already organised and booked. We were maxed out! On this note, I want to thank Graeme & Lynnie Peake who did a superb job in answering people’s enquiries and taking their bookings.
On the Thursday evening of Alfesta, we welcomed our attendees. For the majority, this was the end of their journey from their respective homes. For others, it was another event in the AROCA Vic’s calendar of Centenary Celebrations in March as several had stayed over from the immensely successful ‘Alfas Only’ two day race event at the Phillip Island circuit held the previous weekend.
It was heartening to see the largest contingent of New South Welshmen (30) attending in a long time, along with the great effort from 6 West Australian Alfisiti. There were 19 Queenslanders, 4 from the ACT, 16 from SA and 42 from Victoria. Every division was represented in what was the largest Alfesta in over ten years!
In our welcome room, where attendees were checked off, we showed our visitors the special “Alfa Grille” chocolates that we had been made up especially for Alfesta (also because there would be no ‘Easter Bunny’!), along with a framed poster print depicting the Alfetta 159 at the Phillip Island Circuit by artist Bill Caldwell (number one of 50 produced). Also on display were the prizes for our Sunday night raffle, as well as all our Club Shop wares. This room would become very well frequented over the weekend!
After the buffet breakfast on Friday, the official welcome by the Alfesta Committee and the traditional group photograph, it was time to start our first activity, the Mix ‘n’ Match welcome games. We divided and deliberately allocated all the attendees into seven groups so there were different state people in each group.
Mary was the game master and devised the seven games. These ranged from simple physical games like golf putting (Gasket Golf!), throwing horseshoes (Broken Springs) and target throwing (Sticky Serpent); to more intellectual games like a memory game (Rusty Memory), Alfa grilles recognition (Know Your Hearts) and general Club knowledge (Club Challenge). But it was the hilarious Helium Stick game that was to prove the most fun and challenging. At one point, staff from the resort came running to see what all the laughter was about. My thanks go to Dorothy Caldicott and Vanessa Sharp in assisting in running two of the games.
Lunch was at Panny’s Chocolate Factory where we were treated to chocolate samples, a chocolate tour and lunch. Did I mention the chocolate samples?! Afternoon was free time and some went to the track to watch the Classics and others made use of free vouchers included in the Alfesta pack, including the historical farm and afternoon tea at Churchill Island.
At 3.30pm, we had arranged a special visitor to the Resort. The Alfetta 159 was en route to Phillip Island circuit, and we coordinated it to be unloaded from its transporter for an hour or so onto the resort’s Village Green. Alfisti were able to have a private viewing, up close and personal as well as many photos of this rare and special part of Alfa history.
We had an early gourmet BBQ dinner at the resort because of the arrival of two coaches to take everyone to the famous Penguin Parade. When you’re visiting Phillip Island, this is a must! Luckily the evening was not too cold and everyone had great views of the penguins as they scurried their way back to their burrows.
Saturday saw the Ray Sharp Observation Run (proudly sponsored by South Australian, Julie Crafter’s company – Car Torque). This event has special significance for Victorian members, as the trophy remembers Ray Sharp, a stalwart of the Victorian Club and a really devious setter of observation runs! Who remembers getting lost within 100 metres of the start line at Echuca in 1996?! Whilst no one got lost on Vin & Marie Sharp’s run, it wasn’t without its interesting moments … like when participants were required to walk around their car twice at a break stop!
Vin & Marie had a special treat for Andrew and Rachel Carra when they rolled up to the start point in their people mover with three young kids in the back. The kids were given lollies and whistles. And in case Mum & Dad took away the whistles, the kids were given spares! Even with all these added distractions, the Carras were the winners of the Observation Run.
The finishing point of the Observation Run was the Seal Rocks Nobbies Fucntion Centre at the far western point of the Phillip Island. A clear blue sky and panoramic vista of the ocean all the way to the horizon combined with the nearby Nobbies in the foreground made a pretty spectacular backfrop for our luncheon.
Saturday afternoon was allocated free time, until the coaches picked us up for the short journey to Dutchies Stone Grill Restaurant for dinner. What was different about this meal was that all our main courses were served on a very hot stone rick, which then continued to cook in front of you for a different eating experience. I did a mini-trivia quiz which was won by Ross and Lilliana Flood (Victoria).
Sunday was our busiest day. An earlier start was necessary so everyone could get their nice, clean Alfas to the Cowes foreshore car park for the Wash ‘n’ Shine (proudly sponsored by Victorian Alfa Dealer, Lance Dixon Alfa) by 9.15 am. Dark skies and the threat of rain did not deter diehard Alfisti from cleaning their cars upon arrival, in case it picked up that little bit of dirt on the short journey.
Judging was by people’s choice. It was interesting to note, however, that most cars received two votes! Most of the votes were in favour of Gary & Nerine Pearce’s 105 GTC for ‘Best Presented Car’ and Colin & Terry Densley’s modern Spider for the ‘Most Desirable Car’ award.
After the Wash ‘n’ Shine, we drove in convoy to the Phillip Island Circuit and into a specially roped off area that was reserved for us. A short walk over the pedestrian bridge later led us to the functions area above the main straight Pit Garages, our lunch destination. In addition to the Alfesta attendees, we had a total of over f170 people for the luncheon. We were directly above where the Alfetta 159 was garaged (P3 and Tipo 33 were its stablemates) so we could see all the action first hand.
We welcomed Diana Gaze who graciously accepted the Club’s invitation to be the Patron of the Alfa Centenary Events. Alfisti Ian Frost was volunteered to auction a low numbered Alfa Centenary Rally Badge. The original Alfetta 159 painting by local artist and past AROCA member, Bill Caldwell was displayed and subsequently sold at the luncheon. VHRR chairman Ian Tate sent his thanks to the Club for its attendance and participation and the wide variety of cars that the Club assisted in getting to the event. The forecasted rain did arrive, but we were well covered watching the racing from the comfort of the function centre.
Alfsesta then finished up another year with the Presentation Dinner (sponsored by South Australian, Paul Lonsdale’s Turin Imports. Jeremy Caldicott was our MC for the evening, keeping the night’s activities under timely control. We had a few fun activities over the process of the night like auctioning off the framed number one limited edition print of the Alfetta 159 by artist Bill Caldwell, along with the auction of the Centenary Rally Badge number ‘156’ and the fantastic raffle prizes.
The Alfesta Perpetual Trophies were presented and awarded as follows:
- Ray Sharp Observation Run Trophy: The Carra family
- Bob Gardiner Memorial Trophy: Gary & Nerine Pearce
- Harry & Joan Lewis “Spirit of Alfesta” Award: Blake & Sandra Zanari
After brief goodbyes on Monday morning, it was all over! Several of the Alfisti then continued the AROCA Vic Centenary Celebrations by participating in Gary Pearce and Tony Hawker’s two day road rally to Lorne via the Sorrento Ferry and the Great Ocean Road. For a report on the two day drive written by Leon Cottle, click here.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the hard working Alfesta Committee: Graeme & Lynnie Peake, Vin & Marie Sharp, Jeremy Caldicott and my wife, Mary. For without them, this Alfesta would not have proceeded.
I would also like to make one last mention and express our sincere appreciation to our Alfesta financial sponsors and contributors, the majority of whom are club members:
- Turin Imports – Paul Lonsdale, SA
- Car Torque – Julie Crafter, SA
- Lance Dixon Alfa, VIC
- Oceanic Food – Victor Lee, VIC
- PACE Engineering – Vin Sharp, VIC
- Maranello Purang Motors – Bruno Colauttti, VIC
- Alloy Race Components – John Barbieri, VIC
- Nesci’s Transport – Keven Nesci, VIC
- United Home Services – Richard McKee, NSW
- PRBM Office Supplies – Colin Densley, QLD
- Camera Lane – Alan & Venus Lane, VIC
- Hugh Harrison – Alfpa Repairs, VIC
- Pit Stop Books, WA
We’ll see everyone at Alfesta in South Australia next year!