As the front cover caption states, the yellow TF is TF9181, the green one is TF9112 and the grey one is TF9097. The respective owners are Ralph Stewart, David Ritchie and Matthew Magilton.
The occasion was the Rob Roy OST (Observed Section Trial) run by the MGA Register of the MGCC of Victoria.
‘Rob Roy’ will be familiar to our friends ‘down under’ but is well worth a few paragraphs of explanation for the benefit of readers elsewhere.
The Rob Roy Hillclimb was, at the time of its construction in the late 1930s, one of only three bitumen surfaced purpose built hillclimbs in the world, the other two being Shelsley Walsh and Prescott (UK). Its origins go back to 1935, when representatives from the then Light Car Club of Australia inspected the property known as Clinton’s Pleasure Grounds with a view to establishing a suitable venue for the hillclimb meetings.
The first meeting was run on 1st February 1937, and the track fully bitumenised in 1939. Many meetings were conducted over succeeding years by the Light Car Club, including nine Australian Hillclimb Championships, the very first of which in 1938 was won by Peter Whitehead in his ERA.
In 1962 the area was ravaged by bushfires and the track unfortunately fell into disuse.
In 1992 the MGCC of Victoria was successful in obtaining a ten year lease on the property, and reconstruction began, which involved re-laying the entire surface, improving access roads, and the installation of guard rails on the causeway. The result was a faithful re-creation of the original track.
Even allowing for an immense amount of work put in by MGCC members on a voluntary basis, the costs involved in the project were substantial. To cover some of these costs, the Friends of Rob Roy was established. A foundation membership, limited to 500, was offered, giving subscribers a ten year period of exclusive free spectator entry, among other benefits. This was fully subscribed very quickly and the bulk of the finance was available in a very short time.
In February 1993 the first “Return to Rob Roy” Historic Meeting was run with outstanding success and a huge spectator attendance. In November 1999 the MGCC ran its eighth Historic and Classic Hillclimb at Rob Roy and the popularity of the event from both competitors and spectators alike has never waned.
The club lease of Rob Roy includes the surrounding hilly paddocks and these are used for the annual Rob Roy OST as well as a “come and try” day for novices where they are introduced to OSTs, Hillclimbs and Motorkhanas.
The OST was introduced to Australia from the UK in the early 1950s and is designed to test the capabilities of the car and driver.
The event consists of cars traversing marked sections of muddy or slippery surfaces and steep or otherwise difficult terrain. The object is to complete the course without stopping and without departing from the marked course or hitting any of the markers.
Points are awarded for the number of markers reached, and the test is to maintain traction under difficult conditions. Speed is not a factor.
A competition event consists of a number of courses. No special equipment is required.
Ed’s Note: The above description of an OST was taken from the website of the MG Car Club of Victoria www.mgcc.com.au/mgcc The paragraphs on the history of the Rob Roy HillClimb were taken from and in the main reproduced from the Rob Roy section of the website mgcc.com.au/robroy/history.shtml
The next two photos were taken at the Rob Roy OST held on 7th July.
Matthew’s car and David Ritchie’s finished up equal outright on the day (highest number of points totalforthe four courses) out of 35 entrants in MGs ranging from J2 to ZT. Nobody can recall two TFs finishing outright before.
The structure is approximately 32 feet high and weighs 3 1⁄2 tons. It was constructed from 6ft by 4ft sheets of plate steel, welded together and cut to shape. The plate thickness varied from 1/16th to 3/32nd of an inch.
The shoes were laid flat on the ground on site, and joined at their apex by a large steel pin. Two thirds of the way down the structure, where there is the horizontal joining “START” beam, another two pins connect the arch.
The structure was originally built for the Templestowe Hillclimb venue (north east of Melbourne) and was completed at the PBR works in late 1957/early 1958. It was transported to Templestowe and erected in time for the 27th Templestowe Hillclimb event on the 27th March 1958.
Templestowe closed in 1987 having been earmarked for housing development and the PBR brake shoes were acquired by the MGCC of Victoria in 1989.
Restoration was carried out by volunteers between 2007 and 2009. The original intention was to have the restoration work completed in 2008 which was the 50th anniversary of the completion of the shoes and also the 50th anniversary of the Club, but it was not to be. The actual re-erection date was Wednesday 18th November 2009.
To quote from the MGCC of Victoria’s website “The important thing is that an iconic piece of Australian Motor Sport has been saved in a living motor-sport venue.”
Ed’s Note: It is evident from reading about the re-construction of the ‘Rob Roy’ course and the re-siting of the PBR brake shoes that the MGCC of Victoria is an enterprising Club with plenty of ‘get up and go’. Long may the Club continue!