WELCOME TO THE MGB REGISTER NEWSLETTER PUBLISHED IN THE February 2019 SAFETY FAST
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I was scratching my head and wondering what to put in this four-page spread when content arrived from Roger Boys and, to my astonishment, from Australia! It’s good to get confirmation that one’s ramblings reach far and wide. Thank you, Gentlemen.
It only remains for me to remind you of the Register AGM to be held at Kimber House on Saturday March 23 at 11.00am and the Spring Run on Sunday April 7 starting at Millet’s Farm, Abingdon. Details, of course, on the Register website.
THE BICESTER HERITAGE SCRAMBLE
Christmas has come and gone, the Boxing Day Run was great fun in the cold, so now it’s some time before the MGB can be used again. Oh no, it’s not – the first Bicester Heritage Scramble was on January 6. “ Let’s go,” I said to friend Tony. So on a cold winter morning I got the Boneshaker out and set out on the 50-mile drive to this excellent event. There was a really old-fashioned queue when we arrived, full of a wide variety of classic cars waiting to get in. When we got into the massive site we quickly found the MG parking area, organised for the MGF Register by Ian Worzel Wright, there were in the region of 70 other MGs parked up.
Then it was off to explore the site. There is a fantastic variety of cars on display, ranging from VW split-screen campers right through to beautiful Rileys via 1930s Bentleys to a 2018 McLaren super car. The pre-war cars this year were in the main hanger again with a wonderful variety of splendid cars. It was “ tyre kicker’s” heaven! There are a number of classic cars specialist companies who open their doors to display their skills. It was interesting to see that Vintage Tyres were now on the site and happy to answer questions. The same applied to Classic Oils who are experts on all lubrication products available for classic cars and generously provided the oil for the MGB Marathon Car during the rebuild. Also, there are numerous high-end restoration companies showing some absolutely amazing cars that most of us can only dream about unless the Lottery has come up trumps.
The food sites were doing a roaring trade as they became the focal point for meeting up with friends and a warm- up with a bacon butty and coffee. The PopBangColour Studio completing an amazing art work on the floor with lots of paint and electric model cars as paint brushes made an interesting and very messy contrast to all the magnificent cars on display.
It proved to be a great day out, which perhaps you should add to your diary for 2019. There are numerous similar events on during the year, including Drive it Day. Take a look at the website www.bicesterheritage.co.uk Remember that it’s situated only a mile away from the famous Bicester Village Outlet Centre, so it would be possible to drop your partner there for a shopping experience, providing you have deep pockets! I didn’t remind Nicky about it this year!
THE 1968 LONDON TO SYDNEY MARATHON
Peter Briggs has sent us the following from Australia. It follows on from what we knew about Jean Denton’s adventures.
The London to Sydney Marathon in 1968 with Jean Denton’s MGB story was featured in recent editions of Safety Fast!. This has brought back a lot of memories for the Western Australian MG Car Club members. Particularly now that the original car has recently been discovered.
I was a Foundation Member of the Club in 1962, which was the first “ all model” MG Car Club in WA. At the time, in 1968, I had an MGB and I now own an MG NE and an MG K3 Chassis 3003 and an MG Airline Coupe. In 1968, whilst I was President, I had a call from your Club in London to say that Jean Denton was in the London to Sydney Marathon and would we look after her whilst she was in WA, which naturally I accepted.
In 1968, whilst I was President, I had a call from your Club in London to say that Jean Denton was in the London to Sydney Marathon and would we look after her whilst she was in WA, which naturally I accepted.
This was like a Club Event and my fellow Club Member Richard Ashton takes up the story from here: “ The London to Sydney Marathon event started in London Earls Court, November 24 1968. One of the entrants was an MGB No 47 being entered and driven by Jean Denton and co-driven by Tom Boyce.
The rally was routed through Europe. Paris, Turin, Belgrade to Istanbul across the Bosporus by ferry, then on to Asia via Kabul, to Delhi on its way to Bombay, India. On December 5 they were transported by sea to Fremantle where we waved Jean in.
The first check point was at Youami, a deserted old mining town seven hours away from Perth. Some of us went there to be on standby. The second group were split into two and three. One group were to go to the end of stage two at Marvel Lock for 5.00am onward and the following morning for an expected 7.00am arrival of the MGB.
The second group would go on to Norseman, to be on standby for an anticipated 10.00am arrival. Although it was not an official check point, it was a stop for fuel and service point, before the big crossing through to Ceduna in South Australia on the old road, a journey expected to be some six hours and 18 minutes.
From the start at Gloucester Park at 6.00pm for the first cars, it would be 1.00am to expect the MG to reach Youami. A further four hours to Marvel Lock by 5.00am. Then on to Lake King by 7.00am. Considering that it would take the field about an hour to get on their way, we had adjusted times for us to be in place.
50 kms after leaving Lake King on the way to Norseman, Jean and Tom and the MG became briefly airborne over a “ jump” section. They were going a little too fast and applied the brakes too suddenly. When the car hit the road, the engine kept going and the fan went through the core of the radiator.
They patched up the radiator as best as possible and sent forward a message to us who were anxiously waiting at Norseman. Finally the message came through via another competitor that they were in trouble half way across from Lake King.
At the toss of a coin, which I lost, my radiator was sacrificed to the cause, and quickly removed from my car. Away we went; about six suddenly MG Car Club radiator experts were sandwiched into three cars, complete with a dripping radiator, a toolbox and water.
We found them about 30 miles into the Lake King Norseman track. Jean and Tom were running slowly toward us, after having blocked off the engine water pipes, they had had no success with trying to patch up the radiator. They had crawled along mile after mile with the heater going full bore. When the engine frequently got too hot, they would stop and wait for things to cool down and slowly move on again.
With repairs quickly made, MGB No. 47 was on its way. We also reversed and made our way back the way we came. Back at Norseman, with Jean and Tom well gone; we caught up with our remaining MG crew. They had seen them through and on their way to cross the Nullarbor.
In my radiator-less MGB, my wife Ronda and I were towed through to Esperance, after receiving promises that a new radiator would be sent down on the overnight trucking service from Perth. It’s amazing how cold a car can become with no engine heat from up front. MGB No 47 got through to Sydney and finished in 42nd place.
After leaving Ronda and I to wait for the radiator, the rest of the MG Car Club team drove back home to Perth the next day. We had a forced but happy break at Esperance, even though we were on shanks’s pony and forced to live frugally, owing to not having much cash with us, as we had to wait for the Rural & Industries bank to open. Three days later a new radiator turned up after much telephoning through to Perth.
Radiator fitted, which today is still in the car, we were on our way back home.”