President's Report - May 2013

Greetings All,

As I write this column, the 60th Anniversary Redex Rerun Trial is in progress, including some local entrants – Colin Handley, Geoff Boyd and Dave Rowell (and their co-drivers). You can follow all the action online with the following link. The re-run is a celebration of the famous victory of Ken Tubman and John Marshall in the first Redex Round Australia Trial, in 1953, in a Peugeot 203. Apparently, the win caused a sales rush and every new Peugeot in the country was sold within a week. It also firmly established the Pug reputation for reliability and durability in Australia – eleven 203’s started and all eleven finished the 1953 trial. Did you know that Jack Brabham also participated in the 1953 trial? He drove a 48/215 Holden, but not to a podium finish…

The re-run cars will arrive in Canberra on Friday 7 June, and will be on display at Melrose Automobiles, Melrose Drive, Phillip. There will be a BBQ from 4.30 pm onwards and all club members are invited to attend. In 2003, Sue and I actually met up with the 50th Anniversary re-run at Wycliffe Well Holiday Park (near Tennant Creek, NT), widely known as the UFO capital of Australia, and featuring a number of interesting statues scattered throughout the site.

Doing a bit of dirt road driving in the 508 recently, I managed to puncture a front tyre with a largish gash in the sidewall. Not having tyre pressure sensors on the 508 (my 407 had them, though) it took a while to realise that the tyre was flat, and I was lucky not to damage the alloy wheel. The tyre was a write-off, of course, and the next day I was $380 poorer (the cost of a new Michelin). On the bright side, the tyre had done 40,000km, so was well-worn. A few days later I had the 40,000km service done at Melrose Peugeot. I dropped the car off soon after 8 am, and drove out in a 308 loan car, courtesy of Sean, the Pug sales manager. Don’t get me wrong, the 308 is a nice car (it was a diesel auto), but the 508 is well ahead for comfort and equipment. I returned to pick up the 508 around 5 pm but there was a problem – when I turned on the radio, there was a regular beep, beep, beep noise coming from the console.

Back in the workshop the problem was proving to be tricky to fix, so I was given another car overnight – a 4008. Once again, very Spartan compared with the 508 and obviously not a real Pug, because the indicator stalk is on the right not the left of the steering column! The 4008 was happily returned the next morning, when I was able to collect the 508. The problem had something to do with the BSI (Body Control Unit) upgrade that was undertaken as part of the service, but I did not get any further details, nor did I really want them. After all, I had my favourite car back!

Don’t forget to come to the Battle of Waterloo event, to be held on the Rond Terraces (bottom of ANZAC Parade), on Sunday 9 June. We have been soundly beaten (outnumbered) by the dastardly British forces in past few years and it’s time to turn the tables. As usual, the club will run a BBQ and a coffee van will also be on hand – both most welcome in cold weather. Participants should arrive before 10 am, with the event running until mid-afternoon. Cars will enter the site from Constitution Avenue, via Wendouree Drive, adjacent to Blundell’s Cottage. As a sign of the times, the National Capital Authority requested a risk assessment plan to be submitted before they approved our event – I don’t think we mentioned the possibility of heavy artillery on the battlefield!

The next club meeting will be held at the Weston Club, at 8 pm on Tuesday 28 May, with dinner from 7 pm.

Keep on Pugging,

Brad Pillans

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