How I Spent My Easter Vacation…
As I sit in the NRMA truck with my wife beside me and my MG on the tray behind me, I contemplate, “was I ever really destined to own a British sports car or am I just a glutton for punishment”?
The trip down to the MG National Meet in Ballina on Good Friday was lovely and uneventful. Lyn Boucaut had spent a great deal of time and effort mapping out a route that would take us down the back roads instead of the Pacific Highway. Since there were only four cars (Boucaut, Darnell, Gross & Parker) we had no trouble keeping each other either in sight or UHF contact.
Saturday was the Concours and the four of us arrived early and entered our cars even though we knew that we had a snowballs chance in hell of taking home a trophy. How can you compete with people who arrive with their spotless car in an enclosed trailer? We found a shady spot under a large tree and set up camp. It was fun just looking at the other cars and people watching.
Barry from MG Automotive (one of our advertisers) stopped by to chat and I told him how relieved I was to have sold my 2003 MGTF because it was so unreliable and how pleased I was with my 1980 MGB which I had now owned for twelve months with a broken earth lead on the battery being my only issue. Well, that was “THE KISS OF DEATH”!
Easter Sunday at 8:30am we set off on the first of two observation runs. At approximately 10am Wendy and I stopped at a small café along with Geoff & Lyn Boucaut somewhere near Goonangerry for morning tea. We were there for about ten minutes when another MGB arrived. The couple were from New Zealand and we chatted with them for awhile. We departed the café at around 10:30am and five minutes later I noticed that my clutch pedal didn’t feel just right. As we went around the next corner I downshifted and when I took my foot off the clutch pedal it returned too high. I tried to depress it again, but no luck. Wendy immediately got on the UHF to Geoff & Lyn who were leading and said, “Houston, we’ve got a problem”! At that same moment I noticed that my yellow/black joggers were covered in hydraulic fluid!
We were in the middle of nowhere and we had absolutely nil mobile coverage. Geoff remained with Wendy while Lyn drove me to higher ground where I was able to obtain two bars from Telstra and ring the RACQ Ultimate number. I told them that I was in NSW and they transferred me to their opposite number at the NRMA. We then drove back to where the Bumble B was stranded and none of us could believe it when the NRMA mechanic arrived twelve minutes later!
The NRMA mechanic put the little piston thingy (I never claimed to be a mechanic, I just drive them) back where it belonged and added some fluid to the clutch master cylinder. He said that I should be able to make it back to the motel as long as I keep the clutch pedal partially depressed.
Lunch was at the local bowls club and since we had to pass by there anyway on the way back to the motel we stopped with everyone else and had lunch. When we finished lunch our group decided to take a walk into town. I wasn’t in the mood for it, so I stayed at the bowls club. There were two young blokes playing bowls and they came over and started chatting with me. They both admired all of the MG’s and one of them asked, “what are the chances of us getting into one of these cars and driving away”? I said, “why would you want to”? “Chances are it’s going to break down before you get outta town”!
Back at the motel I tell Geoff that I think I can make it back home as long as I keep the clutch pedal partially depressed. He says that probably isn’t a good idea and points out that all of the hydraulic fluid that the NRMA mechanic had added is now sitting in a puddle on my floor mat.
Easter Monday 8:30am and everyone heads off for the second observation run. Everyone that is, except Wendy and me. We are confined to the motel. We spend the morning organising the NRMA flat bed truck for Tuesday and our transport home.
Tuesday morning 6:00am. NRMA/RACQ are going to take us and the MG to the Gold Coast. The president of the Gold Coast MG Car Club (David Godwin) is also the owner of the Classic Car Clinic (CCC) in Biggera Waters. They (RACQ) are then going to pay for a taxi to take us to the Hertz office in Southport where they have reserved a car (KIA) for us.
We arrive at CCC at 8:30am and are met by Robyn. He refuses to let us take a taxi to Hertz and insists on having someone drive us there. We get our car from Hertz, return to CCC and transfer everything from the Bumble B into the KIA. We arrive back in Upper Caboolture at approximately 11:30am.
Thursday, 3pm and CCC rings to let us know that the Bumble B is ready. Since Friday is ANZAC Day and they are closed Saturday and Sunday, we tell them that we will be down around noon on Monday. David’s manager (Mark) tells us that he only lives about ten minutes from the shop and that he will meet us there Saturday morning in order for us to pick up the B.
Saturday morning at 10:30am, David and Mark are both at the shop to meet us. Wendy and I pick up the Bumble B, thank them both for their extraordinary service and then head over to Hertz to return the KIA. We arrived back home around 1pm.
There are two things I highly recommend. The first is RACQ Ultimate. My total cost for towing + hire car (5 days) was $88 for the additional towing over our allowed 100km. The second is, if you ever need service near the Gold Coast, please see David and his crew at the Classic Car Clinic.
In the end, I can only relate to that old Chinese proverb which states, “IF IT HAS TITS OR WHEELS, SOONER OR LATER YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE PROBLEMS”! J