The Barry Sheene Tribute Ride travelled through Mirboo North this Thursday on its way to Phillip Island, as a prelude to the MotoGP on the coming Sunday. Once again I thought I’d cover the ride as it travelled through town, but there’s not a lot that I can write about this event as it’s more of a fleeting glimpse of riders as they pass through Mirboo North. However, I tried to do something a little bit different than I’ve done previously and incorporated still images to supplement the video of the riders travelling through town, somewhat like I did at the Blessing of the Bikes. Of course the moment the ride was about to hit town, the sky opened up and it started a Victorian rendition of mild monsoon rain, thankfully for not too long and became just a regular drizzle shortly after.
Like last time, I won’t try and write anything about the bikes themselves, I’ll just leave them to tell their own story. The shots are basically what I found interesting as well as approachable. There were so many more I could have covered, but with the sheer numbers, the bikes being packed in, and the people milling about, it was often impossible to get a shot.
It’s been a tumultuous year for Marcel and Sabine from Inline4 Cafe and I know that they have been sweating bricks all year over the change in venue for the Blessing of the Bikes from Mirboo North to San Remo. But their efforts have not been in vain, as this year’s event has become something much more significant and far more mature than what came before. The past three years has seen the Blessing of the Bikes grow from a hesitant 500 or so riders to one that this year appears to have eclipsed 8,000+ riders (my estimate). And it’s all to do with support. It’s not just the riders and sponsors that have thrown in their support, but it should be recognised that the Bass Coast Shire and the San Remo business and broader community have also put in a magnificent effort to ensure that this event would succeed and succeed it has. In fact, were it not for the efforts of the latter, this event may well have faded into history.
When the Bureau Of Meteorology (BOM) reported that Winter 2017 was the hottest on record, it immediately gave me the theme for Part 2 of ‘A Year at Mossvale Park’. The hottest Winter on record indeed. I don’t think there was one person in Mirboo North this year, or the region for that matter (I’ve spoken to a lot of people), that would have thought that the Winter just past was the hottest on record , as everyone was thoroughly sick and tired of the endless cold. Mind you, what may have been a record was the demand for firewood, which became something of a scarcity as this ‘hottest on record’ Winter came to a close. But not to be outdone, Spring came on with a vengeance and produced even more cold and then unrelenting rain for weeks on end. If firewood was in short supply towards the end of Winter, it became a luxury item in Spring. I’m just waiting for the BOM to claim that the beginning of Spring was also the hottest on record (of course it was).
Mossvale Park means many things to many people. For some it’s a place to take your dog for a run, for others it’s a place to have a picnic or wedding and still others just like to enjoy the trees and gardens. Then there are those for whom it’s a place to remember. For me, Mossvale Park means many things, but it’s especially a reminder of a bygone era and our European history, which we should never forget. Originally, I was going to write ‘A Year At Mossvale Park’ from a seasonal point of view, watching it change from Summer to Autumn and then Winter to Spring. However, there was so much overlap in subject matter that I decided to base these stories more on what I observed, trying to place related subject matter into each part, rather than doing a ‘seasonal’ theme. The thing that dramatically changed my mind about the style was something I came across towards the end of August while on one of my, almost, daily visits to exercise my hounds.
After having travelled Gippsland roads for over 40 years and now living here, I’ve always suspected that tourists and other visitors, local and overseas, don’t have a very good understanding of Gippsland road rules. So I thought I’d put pen to paper (figuratively speaking) and outline a few of the most important rules applicable when driving along Gippsland roads. Now some may wonder what I’m talking about as aren’t the road rules all the same everywhere in Australia? Not so! Gippsland road rules differ somewhat from those elsewhere, especially in metropolitan Melbourne and major regional centres, so it’s important to understand what these differences are if you’re to have a safe and enjoyable journey while visiting or travelling through Gippsland.
Ave Atque Vale – Latin for Hail (Welcome) and Farewell; originally a military tradition that reflects camaraderie and esprit de corps for new arrivals and those who are departing. Firstly, the farewell (Vale) is for the Blessing of the Bikes in Mirboo North. After three great years, the Blessing of the Bikes will now depart for new vistas and, sadly, Mirboo North loses a significant and fantastic event. For many of the supporters (silent or otherwise), this will be an extremely disappointing outcome and it will be difficult to explain to future visitors why the Blessing of the Bikes is no longer our event. Secondly, the welcome (Ave) is for San Remo, the Bass Coast Shire and the San Remo & District Business and Tourism Association who actively sought to secure this event when it became evident that it needed a new home. And a new home the Blessing of the Bikes has most certainly found.
After three great years of the Blessing of the Bikes, I have to sadly note that it will no longer be held in Mirboo North. With everything having gone very quiet for this year’s event, I recently asked Marcel from Inline 4 Cafe, what was happening, as there were rumours suggesting that there wasn’t to be a 2017 event. Regrettably, it’s become just too difficult and stressful to try and run a fourth Blessing of the Bikes in Mirboo North, given the limited resources and lack of wider support. I know from what I’ve personally heard around the traps that there are elements in Mirboo North that have vehemently opposed this event from the very beginning and there also seems to be a general lack of interest from local businesses, as well as the South Gippsland Shire. Though this doesn’t apply to all, as there have been individuals and others that have provided solid support throughout the last three years.
…and everywhere else for that matter. Just as the 2017 Easter school holidays began, DELWP decided it was a good time to start preventative burns in Gippsland, amongst other areas. Proper preventative burns have been long overdue, so I hope that this isn’t just a bit of tokenism, but the beginning of a serious attempt to address years of neglected bushfire prevention measures. What’s ironic is that these fires have now created a massive smoke haze across southern Victoria, stretching from Melbourne to at least Wilsons Promontory. Smoke health alerts were issued amongst other warnings and my wife mentioned this to me the other day, but I hadn’t noticed anything locally. It wasn’t until I took our hounds for a run at Mossvale Park early the next morning that it struck me as to how extensive the smoke was across the entire area, as far as you could see.
It’s amazing how quickly a year goes by; it feels like just yesterday when I covered the Mirboo North Italian Festa for the first time. I missed the ‘festive’ part of the festa, which followed the mass later on in the day, so this year my aim was to cover those latter activities, as they are more the fun part of what this festa is all about; food, wine, music, grape stomping and all that (I’m sure that there was some Grappa exchanging hands somewhere on that day last year). Given the short notice of last year’s festa, it turned out to be quite an event and I suspect much larger than anyone expected or hoped to achieve. This year the advertising has been far more extensive and there was a good chance that it was going to be a much bigger event than last year.