Last week I went for the first time racing around a real race track here in Sydney! Well I wasnâ€™t racing it was more of a first timers teaching session from a professional racing driver and racing driver instructor Mat. Lotus invited me for an afternoon at Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney in a bid to say sorry a bit for the delay on my shiny new Lotus so far. They gave me and 3 others who were prospective customers for Lotus to go out on the track in Lotus Exige S for a afternoon of fun. The car was similar to what mine will be like to drive on a track so was a great experience to see what the car could do in the environment Colin Chapman and his team designed it for.
The afternoon started with a long powerpoint presentation in the pits of all the corners and their names, entry, apex point (middle point of a turn), exit points and some safety instructions. Then there was a slow drive round the lap with the instructor a ‘sighting’ lap. Next was 6 laps of me driving with the instructor giving me tips, jeeâ€™s I was slow haha, then was a break and then 8 laps again of me driving and getting more confident and faster in and out of the corners and then to finish off the day was 2 ‘hot laps’ of the instructor driving at race speed, jee’s that was scary! I almost fell out of the car afterwards shaking and making everyone laugh haha.
This is Jon, the guy in charge of Lotus Australia, he’s English too, was sent over here for 4 years by Lotus to basically increase awareness of Lotus cars here and so to start sales in this country as they are still fairly unknown. Heâ€™s a good laugh and enjoys working for Lotus I get the feeling and knows back home in Sussex well so heâ€™s good to catch up with.
Well this was the last SHE party of the Australian summer of 2007. We had run 6 special parties over the summer of 2007, 3 of them on boats on the harbour and all being a great success with numbers. This final party was on the Sunday 25th March and was from 12 lunchtime to 5pm with the after party at the famous Darling Harbour Cargo bar. We were very lucky with the weather, we seem to always be with our boat parties always being really hot and as usual we had lots of comments of everyone having a good time 🙂
Hereâ€™s our poster for the event, our graphics artist girl is putting together some excellent posters for our events lately, and this one was as usual a great example.
Here we are setting up the DJ equipment on the top deck of the boat. There were as usual 3 floors of live music, thatâ€™s 11 DJ’s, 4 musicians and 1 vocalist singer to setup and organise.
Graham and I just before we arrive at the wharf to pick up the customers. We were goig to both wear the sailors uniforms but I couldnt arrange mine in time unforntalty, maybe next time.
We arrive at the warf at the Opera House to pick up the 400 ticket holders to fill up the boat and start the party
The boat is starting to fill up just before we leave to stqart crusing aroudn the famous Sydney harbour.
Me with my friends, Claire and Stef and her boyfriend on the far left and AC on the right and my silly French flatmate in the background
The top deck in full swing
Two of my DJ freinds I met in the clubs around Sydney and now there my best DJ’s we always ahve play at SHE, Liam Sampras at the top and Dave 54 on the bottom.
Our sax player ‘Scotty on Sax’, I met him when I was DJ’ing for a year at the Peppermint Lounge and he was my sax player every week. I relaly enjoyed DJ’ing with him he’s a great live sax player.
A lovely old ship that usually makes it way slowly aroudn Sydney harbour most weekends
I think Damien looked like he was enjoying himself, loks like he dosent get out very often 🙂
Group of friends again, from left to right, Troy, Alison, Damien, Me, Claire and AC
The lovely Eleni, she does the ticket collections on the door most times we run SHE as she does it relaly well, and she’s always smileing and happy 🙂
Alison and Troy, they have been going out for nearly a month now, long time for the Troyski 🙂
Onto Cargo bar in Darling harbour aterwards for the after party and we were all a little drunk by then. Here’s Stef me and AC. Oh and it REALLY started p!ss!ng it down like a storm about 15 minutes after we got off the boat very lucky!
Last photo, this was taken of me on the walk home by Damien. I canâ€™t remer it being takne I was so drunk, I havent a clue why i had my shorts undone in the middle of a buy street on a Saturday night?!? Haha
Well the delivery date of the Lotus has been knocked back to mid April after many apologies from the Dealer 🙁 but something positive has come of this, the dealer spoke to Lotus Australia to explain that I wasnâ€™t a happy chappy from the delays on delivery and they have arranged for me to be a guest at the well respected ‘Burrows drive day’ at Eastern creek race track Sydney for the day, driving one of their shiny Lotus Exige S cars. A good result Iâ€™d say!
My good friend Chris Southgate will be coming with me to look over the usual examples of millionaire owned exotica that turnâ€™s up, Ferrarisâ€™, Lamborghini, Porsche’s even the most rarest supercar of them all the Mclaren F1 from the early 90’s turned up once, canâ€™t wait for March 28th now!
Our holiday to Europe and Austria was for 8 days skiing for Sanna and snowboarding for me along with the parents and our good Austrian friends the Mosbuger family.
Here we are in the lovely soft snow, we arrive in the tiny village where we were staying in a valley called Donnasbach
Ahhh lovely snowy walks in the snowy countryside
Sanna and I inside the parents hut warming up and just about to start breakfast before we goto the slopes.
Some Austrian salami and smoked ham, some of the meats they have for breakfast.
Some nice faces being pulled:
Franz Mosburger in the huts kitchen, cooking up a Austrian Feast like he always does well
Dad having a paddy cos he spilt Red wine on his tablecloth
Mr Alex Mosberger
The Mosburgers getting off the main chairlift of Donnasbach, Vici, Alex and Bridgete
Everybody having lunch together at the top of the mountain in a alcoholic hut
Looking down to the small Donnasbach vald village from halfway up the mountain
Sanna having some fun in the deep snow as we explored off-piste into a valley making our way through the tree’s down the valley.
I found this hunters lookout whilst exploring off-piste in a valley. I climbed up to have a good look around to see where we were. It was all made of just roughly cut down treeâ€™s and some nails
The dreaded (well for dad) night time sleigh ride. Right at the bottom on the really fast bit Dad came off the back, hit the back of his head knocking him for six. He spent the following 2 days in Schladmingâ€™s hospital.
These are the huts that we stayed at in the village. We kept warm with log fires from the -5 to -10 that was outside at night.
and our snow covered cars that we would often find covered in a fresh layer of snow from overnight.
A nice close-up of some of the fresh morning snow and ice on the branches of a tree.
We visited poor dad in hospital where he was for 2 days the doctors wouldnâ€™t let him leave. He had a sign over his bed for 24 hours to say NO FOOD, haha that was hard work for Dad 🙂
Nearer the end of the trip we went the massive Austrian ski resort of Schladming. These are the 4 turbo Gondolas that go really quickly from near the bottom to the top of the main mountain. On the left you can see in the distance down below the old town of Schladming.
Yummy lunchtime food up the mountain, this was baked potatoes with bits of chicken breast in spices with sourcream and garlic and chives sauce yummy.
We shared for pudding a local dessert made up of thick cooked pancakes chopped up and covered in icing sugar with a bowl of stewed plum that you dip it in, really nice!
The big hut at the top of Schladming, one of the biggest I’ve found before, the outside balcony was huge and had a super cheesy live bad playing all kinds of weird and cheesy versions of pop songs, we heard â€˜Bob Sinclar – Love Generationâ€™ Austrian cheesy style.
The steepest and hardest piste we found all 8 days skiing. It was a very steep Black that ended a long Red run and it was covered in just ice. Austrians were going everywhere into barriers and fences it was so funny but we both managed to get down without a single fall. This was right at the end of the last day of skiing.
I was only in England for 1 day as I was passing from Hong Kong onto Austria but I tracked down Dom, Rich W & Leo in the pub, yes Dom still needs a hair cut.
Our trip to Hong Kong for 4 days was a stopover on our way to Austria for our skiing and snowboarding holiday. Sanna and I had never been to Kong Kong before, the closest example to a city like this was Singapore so we were eager to see in which ways it was different.
Here we are crazy Hong Kong, The mist is not low cloud that day but pollution, it’s thick pollution all the time with this haze all over the city
We arrived off the plane and we went for a walk around the harbour and Star Walk which is a tribute to all of Hong Kong and China’s film star’s. Here’s Bruce Lee and Bruce Hasan
Here is my favourite martial artist Jackie Chanâ€™s spot
The view from our hotel on Kimberly St in Kowloon, signs hanging over every street, how big do they need them! 🙂
Crazy streets but still Western influences
Instead of metal scaffolding they use bamboo! It is cheap, plentiful and bends nicely into shape. Even the most modern buildings skyscrapers e.t.c they still sue bamboo
Some lovely meat hanging on the side of the street, lovely!
One of the many large skyscrapers, this one caught my attention as it made me think of Lego pieces stuck it.
A good shot of Hong Kong city looking down from Victoria peak which is the highest part of the island. You get to it from a short but VERY steep tram ride up the hill to the peak
This is Repulse bay on the South side of Hong Kong Island. It is totally artificial, all the sand has been laid here to make a large beach that in the Summer is I heard very very busy.
A nice photo of Sanna at Repulse bay
This looks very much we are in Hong Kong now huh, lots of buddas and temples on the shoreline
Old in front and modern behind
Ah and where you have temples and buddas you have Joss sticks of course!
The bring of longevity at Repulse bay. They say if you walk over this your life is made longer by 3 days. They didnâ€™t say if you could keep walking over it though 🙂
Murray house in Stanley on the South East side of Honk Kong island. Interesting story about this house, Iâ€™ll let wikipedia explain:
Once a government building in Central, it was dismantled in 1982 to make way for new buildings. The facade was stored in a warehouse after the building was dismantled, and the facade was rebuilt in Stanley in 1998. It was open to the public in 1999. It houses several restaurants and the Hong Kong Maritime Museum (see below). When it was rebuilt, the ink used to label the pieces had washed off, and when they had finished constructing the building, they had six columns left over. These columns now stand outside the building.
Day 3 we visited the remote Fishing village of Tai O. Most of the houses are built on stilts over the water.
You could buy as much dried
and fresh fish you could ever want, yum!
a very poor village this place was, this was the main street with all the houses backing onto it.
A large temple complex where the largest budda in China is on top of a hill, this is the view from the budda on the hill down to the temples below
The largest budda in China!
and the largest pick ‘n’ mix selection in the gift shop too
Joss sticks the size of missiles!
Back in central Hong Kong, how could people live like this I really donâ€™t know
We met up for a night with Sanna’s old friend Alvin who she met in Southampton England when she doing her degree there.
More yummy looking food on the side of the road, at least this lot is cooked, but with its heads on
The tallest building in all of Honk Kong, for now of course
Just like the people in the city, the turtles in the park are all fighting for space.
Im quite happy with this waterfall shot I got the exposure just right here
Hong Kongs famous trams. The only double decker trams in the world.
Alvin, Sanna and me take a walk along the waterfront of the island, Alvin joins us from work, he’s a funds trader in the city.
The lovely dark Green Rolls Royce, specially customised for the 5 star hotel Peninsular in Hong Kong. They are made in my home town of Chichester, 2 are owned by the hotel to pick up there most distinguished guests from the airport.
Afternoon tea for two, this was the best tea and cakes I’ve ever had I have to say
Inside the beautiful hotel Peninsular Hong Kong
2007, Chinese year of the pig you know 😉
Our final night and meal with Alvin. He took us to a place that only locals would go to, it was a very interesting meal, we were the only non Chinese there and I think probably ever would be I guess.
Its a lot lighter than I thought at about 0.2g’s!
Something I learned from this exercise, Im good at Photoshop and crap at making paper models. It didnt help that I didnt have any paper glue so I used super glue instead hehe. I think I was better at this sort of thing when I was a kid, still I was impressed once i’d finished it and it made Sanna laugh 🙂
Well as promised on an email to me a couple of days ago from Lotus Cars Australia/Rick Damelian’s, Jayson turned up at my work yesterday for a drive of the brand new and only Lotus Europa in the country the very same Phantom Black one that was the star of Australian International motor show 2007.
I’ve posted some photos down below and to get the only real negative point I have of the car out the way, I still donâ€™t like the rear styling of the car but thatâ€™s just my opinion of course.
Driving the thing, well we went for a 30 minute drive all around the back streets of the South East end of the city, Kensington, Randwick over to Coogee beach zipping around some of the quieter streets in that area. I have to say it felt very much simular to the Elise/Exige to drive, I felt like the car was slighter bigger overall in width and length (even though Jayson said the width is the same I seem to remember) but handling felt 99% simular I have to say.
The same great feedback from the steering you’d come to love and expect from a Lotus and the overall feeling of being connected with the road really well from the feelings coming through the seat and steering were all still there. The suspension is slighter softer than the Elsie/Exige but to a non Lotus driver it would feel the same Iâ€™d imagine.
The exciting part in this car for me the engine. The GM sourced 2 litre turbo engine was a beauty to drive. Up shifts were particularly fun at red line with the turbo still spooled up and a shove of torque in the back as the next gear engaged. All along above 3000rpm you can hear the slight whistle of the turbo spooling around your ears but not to the level where it would be annoying and quieter than the whine of the Exige S’s supercharger for definite. Looking through the rear window into Tupperware heaven (sorry the engine bay) whilst Jayson took the helm, I enjoyed seeing the engine twist and turn on its supports as it was being revved hard and up shifted.
Would I get one, probably not as on a driving fun level it feels about the same as the Elise R/Exige abet a half second slower on the 0-100kph times but nothing too noticeable but really for me the look of the car is not as in tune with my tastes as the Elise and Exige are. I think Iâ€™ll be staying a happy Elise R customer for a while. Not to worry Jayson and Rick Dâ€™s as Jayson was proud to boast they have sold 4 Europaâ€™s in just the first 2 days of sales! So there you go the Lotus big brother is being accepted into some peoples wallets and hearts and itâ€™s only just come off the boat from Hethnel in England, good on you Lotus.
P.S Many thanks to Jayson for popping over to see me with the car and giving me a chance to experience it first hand, cheers.