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FRIDAY 15 JUNE 2018 || ISSUE 009

INSIDE >>

P2 What’s on

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P11 Whet your attention in the wet

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P14 Engineers on track

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A TRACTOR

BUILT FOR TWO || BY KIEREN L. TILLY

LOCAL’S RALLY NOT

TURBO CHARGED PAGE 6

WE ARE YOUR LOCAL GUIDE FOR EVERYTHING ON WHEELS From skate boards to semis & cars to caravans. We have all your wheels covered.


|| DRIVER’S SIDE I went back in time recently driving from Gundagai to Junee. No, this wasn’t a DeLorean time machine, just an automatic 4.0litre, Ford Falcon XF ute with 217,000 kilometres on the clock and all the bells and whistles of the day. It has been too long since I drove a straight six, in fact, any six for that matter. Currently, my life in terms of cars, are five speed manuals and automatics, both Japanese and four cylinders. That’s not to say they don’t shift when they need to. They do and have done so when required. I have never thought to myself; “This car needs two more cylinders”. However, it was a wonderful experience to be taken back to a time when Australian six cylinders ruled and all that was needed was a well-timed right foot to get the job done. It was enjoyable to kick it in the guts and see the white posts rapidly approach then zip past. There was a solid surety of power which was somewhat limited on a weekend of double demerits.

If you would like to be included in next week’s edition please contact Kieren on:

KIEREN L. TILLY

When compared to today’s turbo four-cylinder family SUVs with eight forward automatic gears and hybrid configuration powertrains, a 4.0litre Falcon XF might be a dinosaur but, it is one of the best dinosaurs of the period; and the experience of a straight-six provided an enjoyable stroll down memory lane.

TORQUE BIG WHEEL kieren@waggaweekly.com.au 0488 533 569 | 02 6923 3900

This week we welcome two new columnists; Bruce Harper is writing on driving habits.

99 Peter Street Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650

Bruce has a variety of international driving experiences and will be providing information each week to promote road safety and good driving habits and will be sharing his knowledge

|| IN THIS ISSUE

w

Drivers Side

2

What’s On 

2

How Ultra is premium fuel

4

Local’s rally not turbo charged

6

The joy of hitchhiking

8

Whet your attention in the wet

10 11

Wagga Wagga Veteran & Vintage Motor Club annual June rally

12 & 13

Gosford Swap Meet.

The Gosford Swap Meet is hosted by the Central Coast Historic Car Club. Open and undercover 6m x 6m sites are $15.00 and no booking is required. Public admission is $4.00 and kids are free but dogs are not admitted. There isn’t any camping but there is catering on site. For further information please call Jim on 0413 921 020 or John on 0407 400 773.

Geoff King Motors Oval, Coffs Harbour Sunday 1st July from 9.30am

The Show ‘n Shine for blood cancer is a Leukaemia Foundation Fund Raiser and helps provide personalised care and support to patients, families and carers living in metropolitan, regional and rural areas across Australia. This support is provided over the ‘phone or face-to-face at home, in hospitals or at the Foundation’s accommodation centres depending on individual reequirements. Public entry is $2.00 and further information is available on the 2018 Show ‘n Shine for Blood Cancer Facebook page or via email lightthenightcoffsharbour@gmail.com.

2 || FRIDAY 15 JUNE 2018 || YOUR LOCAL WEEKLY TORQUE

And, by the way, if you think you have a bad road joke that’s better, or worse than mine please don’t hesitate to email kieren@ waggaweekly.com.au. My wife tells me I need all the help I can get. In the meantime… A tired cyclist stuck his thumb out for a lift and after three hours without result a bloke in a sports car pulled over but the bike wouldn’t fit in the car. The driver got some rope out of the trunk and tied it to his bumper. He tied the other end to the bike and told the rider: “If I go too fast, ring your bell and I’ll slow down.” Everything went well until another sports car blew past them and the driver put his foot down, forgetting all about the cyclist. A short distance down the road, they raced through a radar trap. The policeman radioed ahead that he had clocked two sports cars travelling at over 140km/hr. He then said, “And you’re not going to believe this. There’s a cyclist behind them ringing his bell to pass!” Safe Driving, Cheers, Kieren.

ON

Show ‘n Shine for Blood Cancer Hay Mini Nationals

In closing, I have a request. Could you please visit www.waggaweekly.com.au and fill out our online survey. As a free, community newspaper which will remain free to all, we seek your feedback to understand what you enjoy and where improvements can be made. Respecting your readership is an old-fashioned concept but the future of Wagga Weekly and Weekly Torque rests with you, the readers. Having you on board is vital as we continue to grow.

WHAT’S

Gosford Showgrounds Sunday 17 June 6.00am – 1.00pm.

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each week. Thank you Bruce for your interest in educating and entertaining our readership.

Mudgee Small Farm Field Days 267 Ulan Road, Bombira via Mudgee Friday 13 to Saturday 14 July from 8:30am until 5.00pm daily. The Mudgee Small Farm Field Days has been running for 40 years and attracts approximately 20,000 people a year. 2018 represents the 41st year the event has been held, making it very much part of the central-west NSW fabric. Tickets for adult are $15.00 while children are $8.00 and pensioner $10.00. Children under five are free.For more information contact info@mudgeefielddays.com.au.

Grudge Kings 2018 Sydney Dragway Eastern Creek Saturday 14 July Grudge Kings will see the baddest cars in Australia come together at Ferrers Road to race for the biggest payout in Australian Drag racing. With multiple racing classes to suit all cars from street machines to door slammers. There’s also a huge off-track program with a car show, trade alley, Babe competition, DJ, food trucks and elite car reveal it’s a day not to be missed by the whole family.For more information contact Sydney Dragway on (02) 9421 0700 or visit www.sydneydragway.com.au.


ON THE COVER

A TRACTOR BUILT FOR TWO It’s probably not the most widely known brand of tractor, but that doesn’t mean that the fans of David Brown tractors aren’t passionate about their marque. Manufactured from 1935 in the corner of the family cotton mill in England, David Brown tractors were exported around the world, until the brand was bought by Case in the early 1980’s. And three of them, all Crop Masters built in the early 1950’s, have ended up with David Brown Tractor Club of Australia members, Robyn and Neil Cole in Wagga. Taking pride of place in the family garage, resplendent in fire engine red they are extremely eye-catching. The collection includes a Super Crop Master which has been driven 6000 kilometres since its restoration, a Diesel Crop Master done up as a trekking tractor, and finally, the pick of the crop, a very rare Prairie Crop Master, which, as the name might suggest, was headed for Canada. But legend has it that, as the result of a clerical error, 12 Super Crop Master tractors were put on a boat to Australia. All up, Only 600 Prairie Crop Master were built. Locating parts for these tractors is a combination of scavenging, obtaining new parts, or finding new old stock. The Prairie Crop Master in Robyn and Neil’s collection required 18 months of restoration. David Brown tractors were innovative and stood out from the opposition by doing things a little differently. Among the more unusual was dual sideby-side seating, which meant that the driver didn’t have to straddle the transmission and by keeping the legs together there was less heat loss from the body. There was also a scuttle around the drivers position to keep the wind off the steering hands and most of the body. These touches would have been welcomed by the ladies of the Land Army serving in England’s Winter during WW2. Neil does all of what he terms the spanner work on the tractors, but Robyn definitely has the final say on when Neil can use the outdoor entertaining area as a spray booth. Robyn maintains that spray drift

|| BY KIEREN L. TILLY

has been a problem in the past. But Neil enjoys all the aspects of restoration particularly the feeling of satisfaction of restoring what can best be described as a basket case to the point it can be driven on the road at speed. Robyn and Neil both enjoy taking the tractors on, what in the tractor world is called a trek. Individual tractor treks can be up to six days on the road and a different town each day with Robyn following in a motorhome and establishing the overnight camp. Robyn also has opportunities to ride with Neil on treks which involve an out-andback loop.

Fans of Aston Martin motor vehicles might be surprised to learn that the DB designation actually stands for David Brown who at one time was the owner of both Aston Martin and Lagonda.

around flood waters which were steadily moving west, resulting in an intended crossing of the Murrumbidgee River at Narrandera being aborted. They eventually returned home after two weeks and 1200 kilometres with $12,500 raised for Country Hope. The next big event on National Historical Machinery Association calendar is the 7th National Tractor Trek which will be taking place in the Hilltops region around Young from 20 September until 22 September. Further information on the event is available on the National Historical Machinery Association website at www.nhma.com.au.

Robyn recalled as very special the revelation of her introduction to tractor drivers with huge grins sharing a cuppa and told Neil; “These guys are all going to live 10 years longer than their mates warming a chair in front of the TV.” Today she enjoys the expansion taking place in the Tractor Club and proudly produces both the Club newsletter and website. “Until about nine years ago not many wives would get involved, but now at least three ladies own and drive their tractors in the group, including a former McGrath Foundation nurse whose pride and joy is painted pink,” Robyn said, adding some sage advice for machinery operators. “Any good machine is like a good woman you look after it and treat it good and it will treat you good.” Apart from the many loops Robyn has been on with Neil, she has driven during the special Bathurst or Bust fund raising event, which included a lap of Mount Panorama by tractor. But sometimes, not everything goes to plan. In 2012, when much of the Riverina suffered severe floods Neil and Robyn left Wagga with fellow trekkers to raise funds for Country Hope. “Before we got to Mangoplah we had 80mm of rain,” Neil said, adding that Binni Creek at Mangoplah rose after they went through. The group reached Culcairn and Albury, but the return trip was a little more circumspect as they worked their way YOUR LOCAL WEEKLY TORQUE || FRIDAY 15 JUNE 2018 || 3


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HOW ULTRA IS

PREMIUM FUEL? || BY MATTHEW VANDERMARK A question frequently raised by motorists is about the benefits of high octane fuels and whether they are worth the price. I’ve always assumed they offer better fuel efficiency and performance while giving the engine a good clean at the same time. At least that’s the impression I have from advertising. However, when I pulled up at a bowser last week and saw the cost of a certain brand of 98 RON* Premium Unleaded Petrol was $1.80 a litre, I baulked. My SUV has a 73 litre tank, so it was going to cost me $120+ to fill up. Considering lower octane petrol can cost around 20 per cent less, I thought it’s time to do a bit of homework on what the real benefits of high octane are that justifies its premium price tag. I sought opinions from a couple of different perspectives - one from a scientist who lectures in automotive technology and one from a highly regarded mechanic who is equally proficient working on cars and motorbikes. Automotive technology expert Dr Martin Edwards says that every car performs differently and there is no overall yes or no answer on whether it’s worth using high octane fuel. He suggested I conduct this simple test. “Fill up your car with 98 octane and record your fuel consumption in a log book. Repeat this at least half a dozen times, while trying to drive in a reasonably consistent manner. Then calculate the average consumption. Repeat the process using a lower octane fuel and, although it won’t be the most accurate result, comparing the averages should at least indicate if higher octane fuel is going to make a difference to your car’s fuel efficiency.” Simplifying the test, I filled up my gas guzzling 10-year-old Honda MDX with 98 octane fuel and drove to Sydney and back. I repeated the trip a week later using 92. Despite it being as unreliable and inaccurate as you could possibly make a fuel consumption test, the difference between the two fuels was, to use a suitably unscientific expression, bugger all. 4 || FRIDAY 15 JUNE 2018 || YOUR LOCAL WEEKLY TORQUE

When I reported the finding to Martin, he wasn’t surprised. “High octane fuels will only deliver better fuel efficiency in cars that are made for, and tuned to use that sort of fuel. And even then, that extra efficiency won’t necessarily outweigh the premium price paid at the pump,” he said, adding that there were some cars that it would be worthwhile to use premium unleaded fuel from an efficiency perspective. “Porches, performance model BMW’s and Mercedes and the like.” he advised. So definitely not me then. But if fuel efficiency is a non-event for those of us not driving European sports cars, what about performance. Surely higher octane makes any car go faster. To answer the question I turned to my source of information on all things mechanical and performance related, Dean Norman from Riverina Motorcycles and Powersports. His initial response to my high octane/low octane conundrum was a general observation. “Fuel in Australia is pretty ordinary across the board. Full of preservatives and you never know how old it is.” Dean also shattered my illusion that high octane fuel would transform my sedate Honda SUV into a potential racing car. “If you are driving a genuine performance vehicle, like one that’s turbo charged with higher cylinder pressure, then by all means invest in high octane fuel. You can import 100+ octane rated stuff if you really want to, but it won’t make any difference to the performance of a standard car.” Dean agreed with some qualification to the other big claim from manufacturers that high octane fuels clean your engine. “Yes, premium high octane fuels can clean valves and other parts of your engine. It might even prevent build ups in the future. But all petrols have detergent in them these days. And when there’s

no lead in petrol anymore, what is the detergent supposed to be cleaning? Soft carbons? Cheap fuels can do that as well as expensive ones,” he said. To sum up, my little bit of research on the subject suggests that high octane fuel appears to offer little advantage in fuel efficiency, power and general performance or engine maintenance in cars which aren’t specifically made to use high octane. In a last desperate attempt to justify my history of using 98 octane fuel over the past few years (in what I now suspect was the misguided belief I was doing the best thing by my car), I asked Dean is there any chance high octane fuel might have less chance of being dirty and containing impurities. “The Department of Environment and Energy have strict controls on fuel quality and constantly check petrol stations. You’d have to be pretty unlucky to buy dirty fuel these days.” When asked what fuel he uses in his personal cars Dean said 95 or Eco10 but when seeing my surprised expression he added; “Eco10 has 10 per cent ethanol added which is a very good engine cleaner. It’s significantly cheaper and does the job. I’ve never seen it damage an engine, so why wouldn’t I use it?” As I filled up my car with its first tank of Eco10 fuel I wonder why the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) hasn’t been able to solve the other great mystery as to why fuel prices seem to rise by the same amount across all petrol stations during school holidays. But that’s a topic for another column. TIP: Check out Fuel Spy and you might be surprised at the variation in price at different Wagga petrol stations. On 7 June, one independent supplier was advertising 98 RON*for 161 cents a litre, while a supermarket brand was selling the same octane rating for 180.5 cents a litre. That’s a difference worth using some precious fuel to take advantage of. *Research Octane Number - a rating of petrol’s resistance to pre-ignition. In Australia it’s usually 92, 95 and 98.


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LOCAL’S RALLY NOT

TURBO CHARGED || BY KIEREN L. TILLY

It was an up-and-down weekend for the local hope in the Netier National Capital Rally, Canberra based Harry Bates who was attempting to repeat his winning performance in 2017. In fact, it should be described as a down-and-up race for Harry and navigator John McCarthy, because, after only seven stages, the Yaris AP4 experienced turbo problems, putting them nine minutes behind the leader at the end of the first leg. However, in a display of driving determination he is renowned for, Harry fought back on Sunday to finish fifth overall and fourth in the Australian Rally Championship (ARC) also collecting points for fourth place in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). He also took maximum points from the second leg after logging the fastest time on Sunday’s stages. A former Canberra resident taking part in the event, Adrian Coppin, and navigator, Erin Kelly, enjoyed a little more success, coming in second in their Skoda R5 behind overall winner, Eli Evans, and navigator Ben Searcy, whose Skoda Fabia R5 led from start to finish. The pair secured their second ARC win in a row after taking out the Make Smoking History Forest Rally in Western Australia. Third place overall went to Steve Glenney and navigator Andy Sarandis after they suffered turbo issues on the final stages of the event. The rally event manager, Michael Wallace, said the event had lived up to expectations of a tough and highly competitive rally.

“...the event had lived up to expectations of a tough and highly competitive rally.”

“This year’s event has seen some fantastic competition and strength from all our drivers both across ARC, APRC and the Mike Bell Trophy event. “We were hugely impressed by the excellent turn out of spectators and having the service park at Pialligo Estate brought an excellent atmosphere and crowd to the area. Having the Canberra media and sponsors behind us really helped bring this event to life,” Michael said. 6 || FRIDAY 15 JUNE 2018 || YOUR LOCAL WEEKLY TORQUE

Photos courtesy of Fire and Thunder Events Photography


ADVERTISING FE ATURE

RIVERINA DRIVING ACADEMY Obtaining a driver’s licence is a big step in anyone’s life, and let’s face facts, it can be an extremely nervous experience being on the road with traffic for the first time.

Wanting to start a local small business and given his wealth of expertise in instructing people how to drive, Robert decided to establish Riverina Driving Academy and he has not looked back.

Driving is a life-skill and to be learned properly it requires supportive training and technical insight – two of the reasons that, over time, parents and learner drivers have come to trust Riverina Driving Academy.

He is dedicated to teaching the technical components of driving with a major focus on road safety and encouraging students to become responsible road-users.

Owner/operator and former Australian Army driving instructor, Robert Buckley, and fellow driving instructor, Narelle Johnson, who has been a driving instructor for more than 29 years, take great pride in the service they provide to learner drivers in the Wagga district.

“If it is okay with the student I encourage parents to sit in the back and watch how we carry out the lessons and know first hand what we say to the student,” Robert explained.

most mothers won’t be able to sleep until their child walks through the door. “If they are taught properly from day one they have a greater chance of surviving on the road,” Robert said. If you are in need of a reliable, trustworthy, professional organisation to get you on the road why not call Riverina Driving Academy today on 0405 912 246 or check out its website at www.riverinadrivingacademy.com.au

He said the main reason for engaging a driving instructor is to learn safer driving methods. “For example, it is important to apply the three second rule to ensure a safe travelling/stopping distance between your vehicle and the vehicle directly in front of you on the road. Also stopping at give-ways allowing a five second gap from approaching cars from both directions, before moving off safely.” Robert also says its important to have a trustworthy, professional instructor to help begin your lifelong journey as a driver. “I will ensure that under my driving instruction they will be a safer driver. It is very important for parents because, even though their children are licenced,

Riverina Driving Academy We offer a Pre RMS Test Driving Lesson and use of our vehicle for your test. Acquire the skills and knowledge needed to be a safe road user.

0405 912 246 | www.riverinadrivingacademy.com.au YOUR LOCAL WEEKLY TORQUE || FRIDAY 15 JUNE 2018 || 7


THE JOY OF TORQUE

THE JOY OF

HITCHHIKING || BY MATTHEW VANDERMARK

I loved hitchhiking. When a broke student, or travelling on a very tight budget, I found it an extremely economical way to get around. Not just in Australia, I hitchhiked through the Middle East, North Africa, and North America. I’ve been given rides on motorcycles in California and on fishing trawlers between islands in the Mediterranean. But the best thing about hitchhiking, apart from ending up in unplanned and unexpected places that often ended up being the best part of the trip, is it’s a wonderful way to meet people, especially when overseas. People such as Hanafi who picked me up on the Kings Highway in Egypt. He pulled over in his near new Mercedes which are as common in Egypt as Commodores in Australia. Speaking in broken English, Hanafi lectured for a while about how dangerous it was hitchhiking along this particular road. “It is why I always carrying one of these.” he said while reaching under his seat to produce a shiny silver handgun which he waved around with great flourish. To Hanafi’s excitement, I conceded I had never fired one. So he immediately pulled over and insisted I have a go. After missing a rock about 50 metres away with all six rounds, another car (Mercedes of course) pulled over because the driver had seen us and wanted to compare the hand gun he carried in his glove box. Many rounds later, and much discussion about who’s gun was better and who was the better shot, the other driver departed with a wave. Hanafi thought I should drive as this was another experience I admitted I’d not tried. As well as leaning to drive on the left in Australia, I had driven a fair bit on the right hand side in North America. But I’d never driven in a country where they use both - in either direction. At various stages of the journey, I was overtaken by cars on my left and on the right hand side, which I found extremely unsettling, 8 || FRIDAY 15 JUNE 2018 || YOUR LOCAL WEEKLY TORQUE

but Hanafi thought it was all brilliant fun and he sang loudly with the window down most of the way. After Hanafi and I parted ways in Cairo, I hitchhiked to the Red Sea, ferried across to Jordon and continued hitchhiking to see places like Wadi Rum where they shot Lawrence of Arabia and Petra, which featured in the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Hitchhiking down the west coast of the United States was another truly great experience. I rarely had to wait long to be offered a lift, usually within minutes of sticking my thumb up. Then the reaction was inevitably, “Oh my Gard, you’re an Arssie!” followed by offers of a place to stay, and recommendations of places to see and things to do. I went to the Pendleton Roundup, which is one of the world’s largest rodeos, and saw The Eagles live in Mendecino County on 4th July, all through meeting and befriending people I met hitchhiking. Two of my very good friends met this way. She picked him up (literally in turned out!) by the side of the Hume Highway and they are now married with four kids. It’s hard to believe the world has changed so much that I discourage, in fact forbid, my kids to hitchhike – anytime, anyplace, anywhere. It’s a sad reflection on society that its now so bloody dangerous it’s not worth the risk, when it should be what it used to be - an economical, highly social and immensely joyful way to travel.

“The best thing about hitchhiking, apart from ending up in unplanned and unexpected places, is this often ended up being the best part of the trip.”


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Weekly Torque is this regions only dedicated wheel related publication, it is a good news, light hearted look at anything with wheels. It’s designed to inform and entertain with great stories, great images, and a few bad jokes.

Contact Kieren on 0488 533 569 or kieren@waggaweekly.com.au


2018 AUSTRALIAN

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Photos courtesy of Taryn Ruig Photography


WHET YOUR ATTENTION

IN THE WET

We all know that staying safe in wet conditions needs a different approach so here’s a few tips on what is needed, and why.

A wet road always creates less grip than a dry road, something that should influence how we drive in the wet. The situation can be worse after long dry spells such as we’ve experienced in the Riverina recently because of the accumulation of dust and oil on the roads. Because there is less grip, more space is needed to stop in a controlled way, unless your speed is lower. The distance from traffic in front should be greater than the usual three second gap. Doing anything suddenly or abruptly, such as braking, steering or accelerating is much more likely to require more grip than the road, or your tyres, will provide. To overcome this, it’s necessary to look further ahead and react earlier to any situation, requiring a smaller and lighter response. In short, smoothness is needed but smoothness can’t be achieved without forward planning and early actions.

|| BY BRUCE HARPER

The phenomenon is caused The action of braking and by the inability of the tread turning simultaneously is not A wet road always grooves in the tyre to pump good practice at any time creates less grip than the water out so that road and is extra dangerous in wet conditions because the front a dry road, something contact can be maintained. Worn tyres are much more tyres require significant extra that should influence likely to aquaplane than new grip to do both tasks. Turning and braking at the same time how we drive in the wet. ones, even if they’re legal. Wide tyres are more likely to should not be needed if a driver aquaplane than narrower ones has taken note of circumstances also because there is less pressure to squeeze the early enough to brake lightly first, in a straight line, water out. then turn. A car sliding in a turn, requires removal of power to reduce speed and cornering force. A The speed at which aquaplaning will occur is much complete loss of control is a possibility if brakes are lower if a lightweight vehicle has wide, worn tyres. applied. Everything your car does relies on it having Correct tyre size, tyres with plenty of tread and a a hold on the road. ABS, stability control, traction lower speed will protect against aquaplaning. If it control and other similar safety features are only as does occur, lift off the power and keep the steering good as the available grip. wheel close to straight ahead, otherwise things A deadly trap in wet conditions is aquaplaning. This could get very nasty when grip returns. occurs when there is a sheet of water over the road, In the wet, leave more space than usual and keep which the car’s tyres can ride over and separate it smooth. from the surface, resulting in total loss of grip. Highway speeds are very conducive to aquaplaning. Be safe.

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WAGGA WAGGA VETERAN & VINTAGE MOTOR CLUB INC.

2018 ANNUAL JUNE RALLY 10 JUNE 2018, LUNCH AT EURONGILLY HALL


ENGINEERS ON TRACK

It’s a blokey thing – no matter how young or how old, males are drawn to model railways with a hypnotic fascination and it’s just the same in Wagga, with locals and visitors alike. Start a conversation about Wagga’s tourist attractions with a group of blokes and in no time Willans Hill miniature railway gets a mention. Run by the Wagga Society of Model Engineers since 1982, this idyllically situated model railway at the Wagga Botanic Gardens includes almost three kilometres of track, bridges, tunnels and several locomotives owned by the club or individual members. For just $2 a ride it represents one of the great opportunities to enjoy the rail experiences in country NSW and provides a chance to take in some of the sights of Willans Hill and the Botanic Gardens. Big kids and little kids display big grins coming into the station at the end of the ride.

14 || FRIDAY 15 JUNE 2018 || YOUR LOCAL WEEKLY TORQUE

|| BY KIEREN L. TILLY

“For just $2 a ride it represents one of the great opportunities to enjoy the rail experiences in country NSW and provides a chance to take in some of the sights of Willans Hill and the Botanic Gardens.”

The trains are operated by the Society of Model Engineers on the first and third Sunday each month.

“There are many railways with interesting tracks, but nothing like the nature we have around us here,” he said while enticing new Society members.

Members of the Society include enthusiasts with real life experience working in the rail industry and others who simply have an interest in keeping alive the collective history of Australia and its railways.

“Come along even if you just want to get involved in the gardening or maintenance side of things, there is always something to do, and you will be made most welcome. The club community it is very social,” he said, adding that people have a common response to a ride on the train.

One of those is ex-pat German living in Wagga, Helmut Kater, who joined the Society in 1998 while still in Germany and moved to Australia in 2005. Having retired, Helmut involved himself in the electrics and signals at the model railway. He also enjoys driving the locomotives. Helmut is at the railway at least once a week, helping with maintenance on the non-running days and believes its greatest attribute is the track’s location in the Botanic Gardens.

“Mate it’s the best money I have ever spent on a train trip,” he said, trying hard through his German accent to imitate an ocker accent. If you’re interested in becoming involved in the Society’s activity it can be contacted on Facebook at Wagga Wagga Society of Model Engineers Inc. Helmut Kater, pictured below.


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HOW ULTRA IS

PREMIUM FUEL? || BY MATTHEW VANDERMARK A question frequently raised by motorists is about the benefits of high octane fuels and whether they are worth the price. I’ve always assumed they offer better fuel efficiency and performance while giving the engine a good clean at the same time. At least that’s the impression I have from advertising. However, when I pulled up at a bowser last week and saw the cost of a certain brand of 98 RON* Premium Unleaded Petrol was $1.80 a litre, I baulked.

O

My SUV has a 73 litre tank, so it was going to cost me $120+ to fill up. Considering lower octane petrol can cost around 20 per cent less, I thought it’s time to do a bit of homework on what the real benefits of high octane are that justifies its premium price tag. I sought opinions from a couple of different perspectives - one from a scientist who lectures in automotive technology and one from a highly regarded mechanic who is equally proficient working on cars and motorbikes. Automotive technology expert Dr Martin Edwards says that every car performs differently and there is no overall yes or no answer on whether it’s worth using high octane fuel. He suggested I conduct this simple test. “Fill up your car with 98 octane and record your fuel consumption in a log book. Repeat this at least half a dozen times, while trying to drive in a reasonably consistent manner. Then calculate the average consumption. Repeat the process using a lower octane fuel and, although it won’t be the most accurate result, comparing the averages should at least indicate if higher octane fuel is going to make a difference to your car’s fuel efficiency.”

INSID E >>

P2 W hat’s on

FRID AY 15

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P11 Whet your

JUNE

Simplifying the test, I filled up my gas guzzling 10-year-old Honda MDX with 98 octane fuel and drove to Sydney and back. I repeated the trip a week later using 92. Despite it being as unreliable and inaccurate as you could possibly make a fuel consumption test, the difference between the two fuels was, to use a suitably unscientific expression, bugger all.

2018

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When I reported the finding to Martin, he wasn’t surprised. “High octane fuels will only deliver better fuel efficiency in cars that are made for, and tuned to use that sort of fuel. And even then, that extra efficiency won’t necessarily outweigh the premium price paid at the pump,” he said, adding that there were some cars that it would be worthwhile to use premium unleaded fuel from an efficiency perspective. “Porches, performance model BMW’s and Mercedes and the like.” he advised. So definitely not me then. But if fuel efficiency is a non-event for those of us not driving European sports cars, what about performance. Surely higher octane makes any car go faster. To answer the question I turned to my source of information on all things mechanical and performance related, Dean Norman from Riverina Motorcycles and Powersports. His initial response to my high octane/low octane conundrum was a general observation. “Fuel in Australia is pretty ordinary across the board. Full of preservatives and you never know how old it is.” Dean also shattered my illusion that high octane fuel would transform my sedate Honda SUV into a potential racing car. “If you are driving a genuine performance vehicle, like one that’s turbo charged with higher cylinder pressure, then by all means invest in high octane fuel. You can import 100+ octane rated stuff if you really want to, but it won’t make any difference to the performance of a standard car.” Dean agreed with some qualification to the other big claim from manufacturers that high octane fuels clean your engine. “Yes, premium high octane fuels can clean valves and other parts of your engine. It might even prevent build ups in the future. But all petrols have detergent in them these days. And when there’s

no lead in petrol anymore, what is the detergent supposed to be cleaning? Soft carbons? Cheap fuels can do that as well as expensive ones,” he said.

* All prices are drive away. Premium paint (Metallic/Pearlescent) and Two Tone paint (excluding White Silk) + $495. Gift Card offer applies to new and demonstrator HAVAL H2 and H6, 2017 plated cars only. Available for May and June only. E&OE

To sum up, my little bit of research on the subject suggests that high octane fuel appears to offer little advantage in fuel efficiency, power and general performance or engine maintenance in cars which aren’t specifically made to use high octane. In a last desperate attempt to justify my history of using 98 octane fuel over the past few years (in what I now suspect was the misguided belief I was doing the best thing by my car), I asked Dean is there any chance high octane fuel might have less chance of being dirty and containing impurities. “The Department of Environment and Energy have strict controls on fuel quality and constantly check petrol stations. You’d have to be pretty unlucky to buy dirty fuel these days.” When asked what fuel he uses in his personal cars Dean said 95 or Eco10 but when seeing my surprised expression he added; “Eco10 has 10 per cent ethanol added which is a very good engine cleaner. It’s significantly cheaper and does the job. I’ve never seen it damage an engine, so why wouldn’t I use it?” As I filled up my car with its first tank of Eco10 fuel I wonder why the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) hasn’t been able to solve the other great mystery as to why fuel prices seem to rise by the same amount across all petrol stations during school holidays. But that’s a topic for another column. TIP: Check out Fuel Spy and you might be surprised at the variation in price at different Wagga petrol stations. On 7 June, one independent supplier was advertising 98 RON*for 161 cents a litre, while a supermarket brand was selling the same octane rating for 180.5 cents a litre. That’s a difference worth using some precious fuel to take advantage of. *Research Octane Number - a rating of petrol’s resistance to pre-ignition. In Australia it’s usually 92, 95 and 98.

THOMAS BROS HAVAL

77 Dobney Avenue, Wagga Wagga | 6926 0559 thomasbroshaval.com.au thomasbrosgreatwall.com.au

Weekly Torque 15June2018  
Weekly Torque 15June2018