Sandown Park and Light Car Club of Australia…

Posted: July 11, 2021 in Obscurities, Who,What,Where & When...?
(VSCC Vic Collection)

Sandown, 25km from Melbourne, in the south eastern suburb of Springvale was first used for horse racing in the late nineteenth century, but closed in the 1930s.

Resuscitation commenced post World War 2 when the Victorian Amateur Turf Club planned and built a facility for horse racing, the donkeys galloped for the first time in the modern era in 1965. The dish-lickers (greyhounds) were catered for within the complex too, happy days. You have not lived until yerv’ had a night at the doggies, once will do mind you.

Fortunately the VATC allowed the Light Car Club of Australia to build a race track as well. The feature race of the first open meeting was the Sandown International Cup in March 1962; fittingly, Jack Brabham won in his Cooper T55 Climax.

With the Sword of Damocles hovering near, if not over a track so dear to many of us, it makes me a bit misty eyed to see this early shot of two-thirds of the circuit, and the design schematic below.

It’s undated, but let’s guess 1960 as an approximation.

(VSCC Vic Collection)

The original circuit map below – upside down deliberately, I’ve not imbibed any more giggle-juice than usual – allows an easy view of the differences between the draft above, and the track as used in the first phase of its long life until 1984; these are fundamentally a left-right kink on the way to Dandy Road, and the high speed right-left blast across the Causeway and under Dunlop Bridge.

At the height of the Tasman Cup there was an important bit of commerce to be conducted every year; the assemblage of a great field of cars and the fees to be paid to them by the seven or eight car clubs which owned or leased the tracks upon which the aces raced.

(VSCC Vic Collection)

The negotiations were led by Geoff Sykes (Warwick Farm) and Motor Sport New Zealand’s Ron Frost, on behalf of the Kiwi circuits.

This July 1967 letter (above) from Frost to his buddies in Australia, in this case to the LCCA, is an update on how things were looking. Hopefully you can read his progress on BRM, Ferrari, Lotus and the rest.

Ultimately BRM brought a team comprising the new Len Terry designed and built V12 P126, and old favourite, the V8 engined P261. Drivers were Bruce McLaren (NZ only), Pedro Rodriguez and Richard Attwood. Jim Clark triumphed in a 2.5-litre Cosworth DFW engined Lotus 49.

(VSCC Vic Collection)

Winding back the clock four decades, checkout the table-card for the ‘Smoke Social’ to hand out the prizes for the 1929 200 Mile Road Race (aka the 1929 AGP) held at Phillip Island – which the Victorian Light Car Club organised and promoted – that March.

VLCC committee man, Arthur Terdich won the race aboard a Bugatti Type 37A, and is the subject of the caricature. A significant part of the VSCC Collection is the Terdich Archive, this is Arthur’s own card from a very special night.

(VSCC Vic Collection)
(VSCC Vic Collection)

The Poms have their London-Brighton veteran car run each November, the LCCA had their own Melbourne to Brighton event in the 1930s. I wonder when it ceased to be held, or if once was enough?

(VSCC Vic Collection)

Credits…

Vintage Sports Car Club (Victoria) Collection

Tailpieces…

I’ve occasionally wondered what a Competition Licence looked like in ye olden days. Here is that of Forbes Tough for the 1939 calendar year.

(VSCC Vic Collection)
(VSCC Vic Collection)

Finito…

Comments
  1. Michael Anderson says:

    My eyesight (along with everything else!) may be failing, but it appears that the signatory to the “Melbourne to Brighton” Veteran Car Run Certificate may be A.C.Tye – possibly “Great Uncle Allen” Tye of Anderson Street South Yarra (now MCEGGS). There is much fruitful territory to be traversed in exploring relationships between members of the Tye family and fine automobiles through the first half of 20thC. Happy to chat. Cheers!

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