LAST WEEKEND, I went to another great Motorists Appreciation Day Ė MAD for short. Itís held in a terrific location near the coastal hamlet of Swansea a couple of hoursí drive north of Sydney. The venue for MAD is Bargoed House on the shores of the gorgeous Lake Macquarie. Iím not sure of the history of this property, but I guess itís an old farm house and the grass where the car show is held was once an orchard or something Ė itís a wide flat area ringed by gumtrees and with views across the lake. Nice! Apparently MAD has been held here for more than 30 years so itís a well-known and popular cruise day for just about every street machine and restored/classic car club within 100km. Itís put on by the lads and ladies at the Rickshaws Hot Rod club in Newcastle and entry is a $5 charity donation. This year Ė as with every other year Iíve attended Ė everyone was treated to plenty of cool cars: Minis, Hummers, the usual Camarstangs, a good turnout of Toranas; Falcon GTs, a gaggle of Monaros, Rileys, MGs and P76s, my mates in their dakdaks, Dusters and Barracudas, Datto 1600s and Geminis, a lone Porsche and even a row of 1960s and 1970s-era prime movers. After rolling through the gate with one of my VWs for the past few years, this year I cruised there in my Volvo 262C. Thereís very little formality, with the Rickshaws club volunteers making sure the cars are parked neatly and safely in rows to make sure as many cars as possible Ė and there must have been 1000-plus Ė are squeezed in without running-over anyone. Much of the broad grassy area where the cars are displayed is shaded by trees and the lake-side locale means thereís a gentle breeze to keep things cool. Lots of car owners set-up camp chairs in the shade Ė or pop-up a gazebo - and sit and chat with other car nuts. So, apart from a sprinkle of rain just after I arrived, it was a stunning sunny Sunday morning with awesome cars as far as they eye could see. Happy people were there to chat about their cars; there was excellent coffee from Gerhardís Cafť 53 Kombi van; yummy steak sangas from the car clubís big BBQ; cold Cokes and lemonade; a Mr Whippy ice-cream van Ö What could possibly wreck such a terrific day? Crap loud music, thatís what. Hey, I love a bit of background music in a pub beer garden and Iím in no better frame of mind than when I have Midnight Oil or INXS cranking when Iím on a road to nowhere. But this was dreary Elvis and Everley Brothers and heck-knowswhat- other crap from 60 years ago, with the volume at 11, and blasted out across the cars like some kind of aural flame-thrower. Lucky my Volvo has alloy bumpers because the blare was bad enough to ultrasonically strip chrome. Unless you were about 80m away Ė and judging by the empty space around the first few dozen cars, most people were - from the hoary old speakers that were relentlessly pumping this crap out, it was impossible to even think clearly, let alone chat about cars.

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