How the weekend came about
In recent years the Jets have had a fixed booking for the Labour day long weekend in March at Rusty Springs in Avenel,
unfortunately in 2018 the Venue double booked us with a wedding. (Who could stand in the way of young love) so we gave
up the weekend and moved on, at the time we were all disappointed……but hey this presented us a new opportunity. As a
committee we decided to each look at some options and bring them to the next meeting, several ideas were tabled but the
problem would always be finding a town with accommodation large enough for the Jets family whilst also providing us with
enough interesting activities in the local area, I had been talking about us doing the Rich River Rod Run in Echuca but
further investigation uncovered that it’s a Bi-annual event and not on in 2019, I had already looked into accommodation and
spoken to the Mercure Port of Echuca, Di and I had stayed there a few times in the past, so we knew it was big enough with
secure parking nice clean rooms, a great pool area for the jets family to gather and only a stone’s throw from the centre of
town. So why not do Echuca as our Jets weekend away, the committee agreed….and so it was decreed that on the 22nd
Day of February in the year of our lord 2019 the Jets would descend on Echuca.
Friday Meet up
The entire weekend went off like clockwork, from Fridays meet up to the Monday morning photo shoot for the local paper.
21 cars departed Donnybrook at 11am, Brian led the convoy up the Highway in perfect fat arming weather thanks mate it
was nice just to cruise along for a change.
1 hour later we arrived at our lunch destination, Heathcote following lunch we set off for the final leg into Echuca arriving
around 2:30pm At this point it was weekend on, Four days full of good fun and lots of great laughs. Having said that we did
incur a casualty, Phil Grimson, ended up in the emergency department at Echuca hospital, here’s Phil’s account of what
took place. Phil claims that late Friday evening leaving the pool area arm in arm with the beautiful Louise he was viciously
attacked by a large volcanic rock, apparently this aggressive out of control rock appeared from nowhere and dealt Phil a
savage blow to the ribs leaving him laying dazed and confused in a garden bed. Now the truth Phil was pissed, and as he
staggered along the path to his room he tripped over his own feet and body slammed a poor unsuspecting rock as it lay in
rest, in the process of assaulting the innocent rock Phil sustained rib damage along with other scratches and bruises, the
rock was later reported as saying he would not press assault charges against Phil for the unprovoked attack but would like
an apology from the young man who urinated on him moments prior to Phil landing on him. Look on the bright side Phil your
lucky he’d only urinated, you could of ended up in the Shit.
Unfortunately we also had a couple of vehicle casualties before arriving in Echuca, Adam blew a tyre before reaching the
Donnybrook meeting point, Thankfully he and Julz were able to get to a tyre service, source a new tyre and still join us in
Heathcote for lunch, Adam had a second tyre blow out on the leg between Heathcote & Echuca. Adam now has a full set of
new whitewalls on the Bird and will from here on be known as the Michelin Man, Chris Astbury’s beautiful Mustang cried
enough and refused to leave Heathcote, she spent the weekend in the naughty corner at the Auto Repair shop awaiting a
piggy back ride back to Melbourne on Monday morning, the auto had jammed in reverse, I reckon Chris handled the
situation extremely well, accepting the Mustangs misfortune and jumping in with Gio to continue on and enjoy their weekend
in Echuca. Di’s comment was, “lucky that wasn’t us”, for some reason she seems to think I have a short fuse.
In true Jets fashion several of the family stopped to do whatever they could to assist Chris & Marion and Adam & Julz, on
behalf of the club and I’m sure Adam & Chris, thanks to all those who stopped and stayed with them to help get things
sorted, There are those who claim that cruising together is pointless, I guess there are times when the issue can’t be fixed
on the side of the road but sometimes just being there for moral support can make a big difference.
Again well done to the Jets family. That’s what families do.
The Friday night BBQ was a great success a beautiful warm summer night by the pool,
Di & Rosanna had organised a spread fit for the Jets family, Loui & Phil cooked up the meat while the ladies prepared the
salads, some enjoyed a dip in the pool while others kicked back with a light refreshment and enjoyed each other’s company,
Di & Rosanna put some games together that certainly provided some great laughs, It’s obvious most guys don’t know their
wives very well. Better brush up boys. Most will remember I made up a little trophy late last year to honour Rod Astbury’s
(Shade Tree Mechanics) effort on lowering the front of his car, well Rod has been at it again, Rod decided to turn his
garage into an impenetrable fortress, great idea Rod, just don’t lock your keys in there, oops too late. Early on a fine
Sunday morning Rod & Ruth were heading to a car show (Rod yells out, Ruth where’s the Bloody Keys) Rods next
comment OH SHIT!!!! There in the garage, a call to a lock smith and $380 later Rod has his keys back. This prompted Chris
Gleeson to donate a perpetual trophy to the club which will be known as the Jets Turkey Award. Of course the very first
deserving recipient was Rod Astbury Chris presented the Trophy to Rod while telling everyone the unfortunate adventure
that Rod had been on. . All in all, day one was the perfect start to the weekend. Except for Phil of course, oh and that poor
Saturday morning the Girls had breakfast and met up for a stroll into town and the Port area, apparently there were
huge sales on at every shop in Echuca and they were almost giving their stock away. shoes, clothing, household items.
Now I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed but how come every time I go to Autobarn or Bunnings I pay full list price but when
Di goes shopping there is always 50% off everything in the store. A little Suss me thinks.
The boys met up at 9am and headed for Southern Rod & Custom (SRC) in Shepparton, My stress levels were thru the roof
at this stage, I hadn’t been to check this place out so was unsure whether driving an hour to get there was going to be worth
the effort. Chris Astbury had called on this place as a rep in the past and knew Shane, his assurance that all would be ok
certainly helped. I had spoken to SRC earlier in the week and organised everything but just to be sure I tried to ring them on
the Friday (3 times) with no answer left messages No reply, just wanted to confirm it was still all go, I tried one last time at
9am Sat morning when we were departing Echuca but still no answer, So as they say, press on McDuff, away we went, the
cruise was excellent, great weather good roads perfect morning for fat arming. Lots of looks and thumbs up driving thru
Shepparton, When we arrived at SRC Shane greeted us and gave us a brief history on how this Rod Shop has become one
of the worlds best, he then took us into the showroom, The looks on the Jets boys faces said it all, we had arrived in
Nirvana this place was petrol head heaven, The build quality on the cars was absolutely world class. The showroom had a
dozen or more top end world class cars all built by SRC , and there were maybe another dozen full custom builds underway
in the Fabrication and Assembly shops, the workmanship was simply mind boggling, one build a 67 Chev Impala will owe it’s
owner $2million on completion, a HK Monaro owed it’s owner $280k before arriving at SRC, Shane estimated another
$300k will go into it before the owner gets it back, The Camaro being built for the Seema show in the states would owe $1.6
million. Hourly rate in the shop is $125 per hour Estimated build time usually 3,000 hrs, average build cost $350k, All the
Jets boys I spoke to were in total awe of this place, it was a shop visit I’m sure we will all remember and talk about for years
to come. Thanks to all the boys for wearing the club shirt, the group photo is going straight to the pool room.
Saturday Night the girls frocked up and we headed to the paddle steamer Pride of the Murray, Thanks to Don Fisher
who organised Elvis to be on board. A great night which proved there is more than one way to cruise. It was a tasty two
course meal with lots of great laughs, we celebrated Cheryl Hutsons 21st Birthday with a cake and a very loud rendition of
Happy Birthday to Cheryl. Rod Astbury’s reign as the Jets Turkey was short lived, Rod nominated Phil Grimson so within
24 hours of receiving the award Rod got to pass it on to Phil following his poorly thought out decision to body slam a large
rock. During the presentation Rod was smiling, Phil had a tear in his eye and the rest of us were in fits of laughter. who will
be the next Jets Turkey? keep an eye out and nominate the next deserving recipient.
It was a great night.
Sunday morning unfortunately several of the crew left for home and those of us that remained headed for the Great
Ausssie Beer shed, a 10 minute cruise from our accommodation, I think leading up to this, some were a bit sceptical about
the Beer Shed, That was until they arrived and met Neil the proprietor and our host for the tour. This guys should be doing
the comedy tour he had us all laughing and entertained with his wicked sense of humour and extensive knowledge of all
things Aussie trivia, He certainly knew how to make everyone welcome and part of the show. Carmen even got to stand on
the oldest item in the beer shed (No not Kevin) it was an 1800’s ammunition box, Neil had Carmen stand on the box so they
were eye to eye. A great morning in fact even better than I remembered from several years ago. The place has expanded
and the new displays including the car museum are very cool. Lunch was nothing short of delicious the food the catering
Co. Scrumdiddlyumptous (yep that’s their name) served up was plentiful and very very tasty. Following lunch we headed
back to the Mercure for some pool time, The boys decided to head to the Holden museum in town and although we were
predominantly Ford guys it was a great way to spend the afternoon. Turns out the owner is an old friend of John Leggo so
he gave us the grand tour with a story on every car, It was a great afternoon, very informative (Even if we were on the Dark
Sunday night was the farewell dinner for 34 of the Jets family at the Moama Bowls Club, the busses arrived and picked
us up from the Mercure to ferry us across the border to our dinner venue. As we walked into the Bowls Club one of the Jets
family said to me, this place is like a Las Vegas casino, It sure was very impressive, especially considering it’s tucked away
in a back street of a smallish town. Following dinner some stayed for a drink, while some cashed up on the pokies and the
rest headed back for a final fling beside the pool.
Monday morning it was brekky followed by a quick photo shoot of the cars and owners in front of the Mercure reception
for the local paper. It was then time to saddle up and head for our morning coffee stop at Heathcote.
Time to say Thanks
Firstly and most importantly
Thanks to all who attended, It’s not often you can put 60 people together for four days and the fun laughter and enjoyment
is as strong at the end as it was at the start. The Jets family is a very special group of people.
Other clubs I’ve been involved with always seem to have the dick head element, The knucklehead who upsets everyone
else. I’m not sure how but we’ve been very lucky to avoid that in the Jets family.
Graeme took a mountain of photos over the weekend and is planning to send the pics and a spiel we will write up for an
article on the Jets weekend in Echuca for a feature in Cruzin magazine, Same mag that did the spread on the Jets at the
Victorian Hot Rod Show in 2018.
Graeme is friends with Gavin the man behind Cruzin magazine.
Thanks to Di & Rosanna, These two beautiful ladies have been amazing in bringing it all together.
a lot of planning and organising went into this one. Thanks to the committee for getting behind it and supporting Di &
Rosanna simply doing what was needed to make it happen. It’s easy for a committee member to find the negatives and say
that wont work, not these guys, they got behind this idea from day one. Finally Thanks to me for just being me.
Until our next event