1-4 December, 2022

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Alpine Family Saves the World…

Well maybe not quite the world…

At the 2022 Lock and Load Transport Alpine Rally of East Gippsland, we like to think – and treat – everyone as family.  It’s especially important to look after each other these days and recently we were grateful for two occasions where the “family” were able to come to the rescue.

Two members of our Alpine Organising team found themselves in strife on the same Friday night a couple of weeks ago – in very different parts of the country.  

Firstly, Alpine Clerk of Course, Owen Polanski, found himself stuck at Sydney Airport on what should have been a routine stopover. Unfortunately, Qantas cancelled the flight back to Melbourne resulting in Owen and his fellow passengers being pushed back to a flight on Saturday morning. While Qantas promised overnight accommodation they could not deliver – Sydney was full. Even a hard Airport couch was not an option as the Qantas terminal was about to be closed. 

In a rare spate of passion Owen let his disappointment in his predicament be known via Facebook. 

The first to respond was none other than 2017 Alpine winner, Jack Monkhouse, who was doing a bit of overtime for his construction company shuffling back and forth across Sydney hauling 30 tons of concrete for a nearby freeway construction project. 

Much to Owen’s relief, Jack diverted his massive truck and collected Owen from the Qantas terminal and took him back to Jack’s home to a comfy bed. Then, Jack awoke the next morning in time to get Owen back to the Airport by 05.30 am!

Thanks Jack for coming to Owen’s aid!

In another display of the Alpine family going “above and beyond”, our Chief Spectator Marshal, Ian Brain found himself and his trusty VW Campervan in an extremely precarious position.

After finishing checking access and directions to this year’s Lock and Load Transport Alpine Rally of East Gippsland Spectator Points, Ian took some R&R time and sought out Deptford campground. 

Unfortunately he took a wrong turn in the deep Alpine bush on a Google guided track that  “Looked pretty good until it wasn’t.” Well I guess we all know about steep, wet creek crossings and their challenges and the choices you sometimes have to take, but this couldn’t be described as one of Ian’s best.

“I was bogged solidly in a remote location where I shouldn’t have been. And nobody, including me knew the $*@! where I was!” said Ian of his rather harrowing experience. “I spent the afternoon trying to de-bog the outfit to no avail, then I settled in to a bitterly cold and lonely night trying to work out where I actually was and how to get out.  There was no phone reception and therefore no Google Maps.”

Fortunately, Ian was able to determine his best options to walk out, which he proceeded to do the following day.  Eventually he was able to obtain sketchy reception and called in the Cavalry – in the form of the Swifts Creek Policeman and local Bruthen Corner Garage proprietor and now Alpine hero, Rick Mehlert – who was Service Crew Chief for Stuart Lawless who finished 16th in the 2019 Alpine.

Rick and a mate soon had Ian and his gear towed out and he was firmly located at Bar of the Bruthen Inn Hotel, enjoying not only a hot meal and a cold beer, but the jocular admiration of our extended Bruthen Alpine family. Thanks particularly to Bruthen Hotel proprietor Andrea “Stretch” McWhinney for her generous support in finding Ian a bed on a busy night.

Thanks Rick and Stretch for coming to Ian’s – and the Alpine’s – rescue!

Same Friday night, very different situations, but both sorted by “the Alpine family”. 

The Alpine family IS special. 

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The Bruthen Inn Hotel. Pic from wikimedia.org by Mattibgn 

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