Hot Rods bring massive boost to Queenscliff economy
Congratulations to the Geelong Street Rodders and Borough of Queenscliffe Council for accommodating the huge crowds that descended on the town for the annual rod run. Businesses along Hesse Street that stayed open on Saturday night were overflowing, locals dined alfresco and accommodation providers reported full houses. This great weekend gives the local economy a boost and is a great social event.
The Geelong Street Rodders have been coming since 1998, and once again, judging by the thousands that lined Hesse Street for Saturday night’s street cruise, they didn’t disappoint.
Vantage points from the top to the bottom of borough’s main drag were snapped up early with some spectators securing their sites more than six hours prior to the official start of the street parade. The street rodders drew 709 official registrations resulting in more than 2000 car enthusiasts streaming through the borough.
Some local businesses reported record trades and borough accommodation was sold out weeks prior to the event.
Sitting under a tree, with a cold Peroni in one hand and sauce dripping everywhere from a near charcoal sausage in the other, is one the events quite achievers. He has turned his phone to silent for 10 minutes while he takes a break from the madness that has been 12 months in the planning.
Vic Osborne is one of the unsung drivers of the Queenscliff Rod Run, although he tends to play down his role.
The veteran “car nut ” is hardly a picture of sartorial splendour … t-shirt, baggy shorts, straw hat, oversized sun glasses and the short black socks protruding from his Kmart runners are an absolute crook look. But, make no mistake, he’s a gun, and he doesn’t miss a trick.
“I’m just a worker,” he says.” “I help out the main guys like the President Greg Morrissey, the Events Co-ordinator Bob Waters and Ray Waters the treasurer … they do the bulk of the heavy lifting.”
Nonetheless, it has been Vic burning the midnight oil since nominations opened four months ago. “My role is to manage all the registrations and make sure the paperwork is correct and then I’ll do whatever job that comes along.
“We have had near record registrations this year despite changing the criteria to only allow cars in that were built prior to 1965,” said Vic.
We were hoping that would bring the numbers down, but we didn’t succeed … hopefully by having a few less entries on the cruise tonight it will limit the instances of cars overheating.”
Vic said the street rod event was extremely rewarding on all levels to both club members and the local community. “Speaking to the local traders they tell me it is their second biggest weekend of the year …its huge for Queenscliff.”
“Local groups such as the cricket club, the Lions Club and the scouts all get involved in a variety of ways and it generates a significant revenue boost. At the Show And Shine on Sunday the ticket receipts go to the Lions Club so that gets filtered back into the local community, other clubs do the catering and that revenue also finds its way back into the town.
“According to the president, the Lions took more than $20k on the gate last year so you can see we pay our way. We don’t set out to make a huge profit, that’s not what we are about, but we do have to cover costs and if there is a surplus we are more than happy to share it among the local charities such as Cottage By The Sea, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Shannon Park Centre, Kardinia Homes and a few others.
“The year before last, we bought some Lego for the kids at Shannon Park, almost $5000 worth, and the reaction on their faces was incredible.”
Vic doesn’t have his pride and joy at this year’s run … it’s a work in progress. “I’ve got a 63 Dodge Pickup, it’s been 14 years in the build and it is getting close,” he says. “But, it’s a bit of money pit.
“It’s a unique vehicle, it’s the only one here that has been cut and spliced and I’ve put a HQ front end on it as well as fitting it with power steering and air conditioning.”
When asked if he spends more time with the car or his wife, Vic doesn’t pull any punches. “I love my wife and she goes alright, but the car takes priority … its gotta get finished. The wife’ll be around for a few years to come, but the car may not.”