Sun shines brightly as branch smashes

SUCCESS: Organisers of Colac’s annual Custom Car and Bike Show received warm, dry weather after a week when about 140 millimetres of rain fell in the city. A fallen elm tree branch failed to dampen spirits, with crowd numbers down on last year. Pictured is Adam Prigg with daughters Sophie, 6, right and Stacey, 8, left.

A sun-soaked Memorial Square greeted car enthusiasts for the Colac Custom Car and Bike Show’s annual show ‘n’ shine event.

Organisers overcame a week with about 140 millimetres of rain and a fallen tree branch that smashed across motorbikes, a footpath and Murray Street on Saturday.

The week’s rain prompted a last-minute meeting between show organisers and Colac Otway Shire Council officials on Friday, who gave the event the go ahead on a sodden Memorial Square.

Show president Andrew Searle said the event was a “great success” despite the last-minute hurdles.

He praised council staff for working with organisers to enable the event to go ahead.

“We were probably just down a little bit on numbers but it still turned out pretty good. It wouldn’t have been far off pervious years,” Mr Searle said.

“The entrants were also down a little bit but we were happy with that because we only had certain sections of grass we could use,” he said.

“We didn’t want to damage it in any way.”

Colac man Gary Haslem’s day became memorable for all the wrong reasons when a large branch from one of Memorial Square’s elm trees crashed down onto his new Harley Davidson Road King motorbike, which he was displaying at the show after purchasing it late last year.

Mr Haslem had parked his bike in Murray Street when the branch fell across the footpath and onto the street on the south side of the square.

Mr Searle said although the incident was unfortunate it failed to dampen spirits.

He said he was unsure how much the repair bill would cost to fix the motorbike, but praised Mr Haslem’s response to the incident.

“He actually ended up getting a trophy on the day, he got the hard luck trophy,” Mr Searle said.

“We felt sorry for him and I think he saw the sense of humour in it,” he said.

“It’s hard to say who’s at fault, its just one of those things, when those trees are getting to the age that they are, things can go wrong.”

About 250 cars and 100 motorbikes were on display at the show which also featured an appearance by the Camp Quality team with Giggles, the life-size tricycle riding puppet, which Mr Searle listed among his highlights.

He said the efforts of entrants made for high-quality exhibits.

“People are spending so much money on these cars and finishing them off a lot better than they used to, it’s great to see that

sort of stuff,” Mr Searle said.

Senior Constable Graham Honey of Colac said the crowd at the show ‘n’ shine was “generally well behaved” with an extra police presence issuing no infringement notices.

Meanwhile organisers postponed the show’s drive-in movie on Friday due to the Colac Showgrounds being too wet for the event.

The event will go ahead in March.

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