Most of you know that the term “hoon” originated in Australia. It can conjure mixed emotions down there since it refers to folks who drive recklessly. Here in the states we have adopted it and I feel it best describes someone who has a passion for driving. One Australian I can think of feels the same way… Redusernab reader Mark Goddard recently sent me some photos of his local Porsche club out for a drive. More photos and his description after the waltzing Maltida…
Some gentle Porsche Hooning down in Australia.
I think I’m correct when I say that the word “Hoon” originated in Australia. But I could easily be way off the mark. Whatever, the hooning tradition is alive and well in Oz. The Porsche Club of New South Wales was established in the early 60’s and has a long and proud tradition of both social & competition events. Recently those two aspects of the Club were combined into a country drive and race weekend event. A couple of hours’ drive south west of Sydney is the city of Goulburn, and the main attraction to hoons is the nearby winding & undulating Wakefield Park racetrack, 2.2 kilometres of challenging tarmac.
The competition guys drove sedately down the freeway to the circuit, a procession of GT3RSs, RSR replicas, Boxsters, 930 turbos, 993 turbos etc, while the more socially oriented of us drove south of Sydney through some truly wonderful roads in the Southern Highlands. Now, these roads have seemingly been designed for the local hoon population to savour, and while the temptation to put the hammer down is always there, I can testify that we were all quite restrained and well behaved. Yes I know, what a bunch of wimps. But sadly, Australia has become something of a nanny state and there are speed cameras everybloodywhere. You can see in some of the photos that there are aerial speed checks & speed cameras liberally dotted around the countryside. They’re well signposted, but a well-sealed country road with no visibility problems hardly seems like a traffic black spot worthy of a 90k zone and a speed camera. Enough of that, I’ll get off my soapbox now and get back to the hooning. Sorry, the responsible driving.
I was driving a 1975 2.7 litre Carrera targa, one of 5 in the country. These days 210 horsepower may seem a bit inadequate, but these are real Porsche Horses, and coupled with a lightweight body, no power steering, no power brakes, no ABS or any other interfering acronyms and loads of grip the Carrera is a truly involving driver’s car. The added bonus of a sunny day and an open top made for a wonderful experience.
The Southern Highlands region is only about an hour south of Sydney, and those readers lucky enough to live here are doubtless well aware of the spectacular scenery and fabulous roads on offer, and the countless little towns and villages dotted around, most of which are unchanged since the 1800s. If you haven’t yet sampled this area, well, what’s wrong with you?
So, after a few hours hours of careful but enjoyable driving – but no hooning remember, you never know who’s reading this – we arrived at Wakefield Park circuit to find things well under way. There were plenty of cars on track and much BS flying around the paddock relating to claims of outlandish late braking manoeuvres and other dubious driving. The deal between the social set and the racers was that the social drivers would undertake flag marshalling duties on the day, in exchange for 5 hot laps in an assortment of race cars, driven by the boy racers. After a day’s racing and the passenger laps, which resulted in many screams of terror, we adjourned to our respective accommodation venues for a clean up before dinner.
Dinner over, we retreated to our B&B and its very welcome open fire. A few glasses of coffee, port and wine later, and even more car chat (there’s always something to talk about when you’re a car nut), bed beckoned.
We awoke to a chilly Goulburn morning – it’s not quite snow season but it’s not far off – and gathered in town for the drive home. After a pep talk from the organiser-type bloke, something about driving carefully and representing the Porsche Club in a responsible manner I think, I wasn’t really listening, we pointed the Porsches North and off we went. More fabulous roads, but different ones to the drive down, took us to some stunning lookouts and hidden valleys. I’ve lived here all of my 55 years and I went to places I’d never even heard of.
It’s always nice to get out of town and just drive for the joy of driving, but when you’re in a convoy of like-minded people, it’s just that much better. Each coffee stop brought more talk of how great that last stretch of road was, and how well the car was going, and what a difference it will make when I fit those new seats, or get that gear linkage fixed.
The weekend over, we arrived home tired but exhilarated after another tremendous weekend playing with cars. I often reflect on how glad I am that decided to become a petrolhead instead of following the the obligatory rugby or cricket. There are myriad possibilities for pure joy in the world of cars, and I think that we car nuts are so lucky to have so many options open to us. So get out there and enjoy your cars and leave the worries of the world behind you. I recommend it!
I need a large glass of Shiraz to satiate my thirst for down-under hooning. Thank you Mark! Hopefully one day I can get to the land down under and experience a little Germania by way of Australia.