Skip to content

The Adventures of Crofty Down Under – Part 1

We picked up Crofty from the airport on Friday night, 15 March, at around 7pm and dropped him off at the Crown Towers. After the 11-hour flight from Doha, he was looking forward to having a good rest in the evening, even though he knew he had some preparation to do for his first show in Adelaide on the Sunday night.

We flew out of Perth, on Qantas, early afternoon on Saturday and landed in Adelaide at 6:30pm (losing two and a half hours due to the time difference!). Our two technicians, Brad and Anthony, had taken a Virgin flight that was supposed to land around an hour before our flight but coincidentally landed at around the same time, enabling all five of us to pile into the arranged transfer in our Kia Carnival, Crofty in the front with our driver Maria, and the four of us in the back seats.

It didn’t take long for Crofty to strike up a conversation with Maria (about 10 seconds and 20 metres), with Crofty enquiring about why Adelaide was called the City of Churches. Maria responded with the obvious answer in somewhat of an obvious ‘tone’! This resulted in a friendly banter for the next 30 minutes between Crofty and Maria, that had the four of us in the back in fits of laughter.

It’s fair to say that Maria did not know she was transporting one of the great entertainers of our time, and also fair to say that she left knowing that she had been a successful contributor to a repartee worthy of recording. Thanks Maria.

We arrived at the Arkaba Hotel and had dinner in the fine hotel restaurant with the only surprise being Anthony testing out the Butter Chicken Pizza! With a verbal ‘run-through’ of the show completed, everyone retired to their rooms.

Sunday morning saw Crofty, Wendy and Phil transferred to the Adelaide Motorsport Festival by Suzie, our expert and professional Festival concierge. Arriving at the Pagani Suite (which had a very expensive Pagani on show in the suite), we were quickly whisked away for Crofty to take part in an interview with the expert Channel 10 ‘Supercars’ commentator, Jess.

From the Supercars interview, Crofty went to the Grand Marquee, where he was scheduled to interview Valtteri Bottas. With Bottas running a little late, it didn’t take long for Crofty to be spotted outside the Marquee and immediately surrounded by dozens of fans desperate for him to sign shirts, caps, calendars, and model cars.

The crowd were thoroughly entertained by both Crofty and Bottas for the next 30 minutes, which also included an impromptu Q & A with the engaged audience. At the conclusion of the event, Crofty walked back to the Pagani Suite, followed by a train of followers in the vein of the Pied Piper of F1.

Following an interview session at the commentators’ box at the festival, quickly followed by a Sky Sports segment with Damon Hill, we transferred back to the hotel for a show rehearsal.

At 5:30pm, many VIP guests were already awaiting the appearance of Crofty at the beautifully appointed VIP Lounge downstairs at the Arkaba. His first opportunity to engage with his guests proved to be highly successful. Following photos and signings, VIP guests moved upstairs to the Top of the Ark entertainment venue, whilst our General Admission guests entered from the front entrance.

After our now popular opening video, Crofty entered the stage to rapturous applause, followed by his opening monologue, full of incisive observations and humour.

The interactive show was a resounding success, with the whole audience committing their attendance to the next year’s show(s) in Adelaide in 2025.

Crofty, with the stamina of an Olympic athlete, then returned after midnight to watch the West Ham v Aston Villa Premier League match on the giant screen in the Sporty’s Bar at the Arkaba.

On Monday morning, after a well-deserved sleep-in, Crofty, Wendy and Phil set off for The BEND motorsport complex in Tailem Bend. Upon arrival, Crofty was greeted with an illuminated billboard with the now famous (and copyright) “IT’S LIGHTS OUT AND AWAY WE GO” followed by “Welcome TO THE BEND, CROFTY.” Plenty of photos followed. This was repeated in the foyer of the Rydges Hotel and in the centre of the track with another large, illuminated billboard.

After lunch, Crofty got to drive a powerful V8 Supercars Mustang around the amazing circuits that make up the BEND. Even better, Crofty, Wendy and Phil had the experience of ‘hot laps’ in a Porsche Carrera Cup GT3 car with their wonderful driver, Wayne.

The evening saw Crofty enjoying an exclusive, sumptuous, three-course meal provided by a dedicated chef, Will, and wine-tasting with a wine expert, Martin, at the Rydges restaurant.

The next morning, we set off on our 7-hour drive to Melbourne, with the ambitious target of getting Crofty checked into his hotel before 3pm. It would have been easily achievable if Crofty had avoided social media and not asked for tips on what to see on the trip.

First stop was the ‘jeep on a pole’! This was a sight to see – it was a jeep on a pole – just off the main highway. We also saw a ‘plough in a cage’ and a ‘truck on the road’!

Next, we stopped by the giant koala which was – and by now you would have guessed – a giant koala made from bronze and fibreglass. As this was next to an ice-creamery we enjoyed a giant ice-cream within sight of the giant koala.

We also dropped into Bordertown (which is actually not on the border between SA and Victoria?) to purchase delicacies from the Bordertown bakery famous for – yep – baked goods. And they were delicious.

On the whole trip, Crofty was obsessed with at least catching a glimpse of kangaroos, but alas, the kangaroos had not been watching much of the Formula 1 and thus decided to lay dormant in every hiding place possible. Crofty was convinced all the ‘beware of kangaroos’ signs was merely a clever ploy by the Government to entice gullible tourists to travel great distances across Australia. This was even though Crofty had seen several kangaroos in their natural habitat whilst on a tour of the Bend the previous day!

After Crofty was dropped off at his Melbourne Hotel at 2:30pm (we made it!), Wendy and Phil went to their hotel and ‘crashed’, thankfully the only ‘crash’ we experienced during the journey.

………check out Part 2 …..coming to you next week……..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *