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2006 Xmas In July

2006 Xmas In July, at Sam Knott Hotel, Wesburn

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On Sunday morning, 23rd July, a large group of members and friends gathered in the car park of the 'York on Lilydale' in Mt. Evelyn to be flagged away at about 10.15am on a tricky observation run through some of the quieter roads of the Yarra Valley. They were on the way to the Chrysler Club's 'Christmas in July' nosh-up at the Sam Knott Hotel in Wesburn near Warburton. There were 72 questions to answer on the run and the most observant were to be rewarded with prizes produced in the Yarra Valley.

By about midday the first of the contestants appeared in the Sam Knott car park to join with a few others that had been unable to get to the start line in time and had travelled directly to the venue. This group formed a welcoming party as the rest of the convoy appeared in dribs and drabs over next half-hour. A few of the early arrivals explored the local gift shops before entering the hotel, but apart from some fudge and Turkish delight that may have attracted some of our ladies, I don't think there was much of interest for the automotive hobbyist.

In all there were more than 60 in our group and we were seated at six large tables in an area of the dining room separated from other diners by a screen. Drinks were available from the bar at regular prices and tea or coffee was provided at no charge on a 'help yourself basis'.

Whilst waiting for the lunch to be served, Andrew Fraser took the floor and asked for each contestant to hand their entry to an independent marker for correction as he called out the answers. Would you believe that Kathie and Rod Gorman were declared the winners with a perfect score of 72? Vern Suckling's party was beaten by the narrowest of margins to be runner-up with 71.5. Nigel Nelmes' group was third with a very respectable 67.5. An award was also presented to the Keith and Maria Dodkins for the least number of correct entries, 38. A sort of observer's NAGA or NAOA perhaps. (Ask a golfer what this acronym means). A prize also went to new members Patrick and Virginia Checutti for the longest distance travelled in their nicely presented '38 Dodge having come across town from Melton a distance of about 130km taking the devious track of the observation run into account. Another new car out for its first run was the immaculate 1959 two door DeSoto of Tony Villella. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens on a car's first run, his generator failed to deliver a charge on the way and he had to rely on the capacity of the battery to get home after the event.

The three-course luncheon was a typical English style Christmas dinner served with soup and buttered bread roll followed by a very nice roasted main with either pork or ham with turkey and a good serve of five vegetables. The sweet was choice of either a fruit salad with icecream or plumb pud and custard.

By about 3.30pm the some of the group were preparing to make tracks and after saying our farewells we gradually drifted off on our way home. The late afternoon to the west was threatening rain and as we approached the outer eastern suburbs rain and hail commenced making it necessary to run with lights and wipers on.

On behalf of the Chrysler Restorers Club I would like to thank Kevin Cook, Andrew Fraser and others who were involved in the arrangements for this outing which I think every one in attendance enjoyed. A great day was had by all.

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