Posts Tagged ‘1939 South Australian Grand Prix’

(D Gordon)

Ron Uffindell on his way to FTD at Adelaide‚Äôs Glen Ewin Hillclimb in 1948, MG K3, chassis ‘K3030’. He is applying a bit of opposite lock as he negotiates an early kink in the steep section between the sheds at Glen Ewin shortly after the start line at the bottom of the hill…

MG enthusiast Doug Gordon recalls of Ron that ‘he was an exceptional fellow and built up the Austin 7 Special himself (photo below), it wasn’t the quickest racing car, but was incredibly reliable…he was often the limit man on handicap sometimes starting 20 to 30 minutes behind the scratch-men and would simply grind out the laps till the job was done.’

‘Uffindel was also the custodian of the ex-Bira MG K3 for a while’, he looked after and raced the car when it was owned by the family of Russell Bowes, an Australian RAF and RAAF pilot killed in action in Burma during the war.

‘He was the one who lowered the radiator and bodywork a few inches- a configuration that has endured to this day.’ He also lightened the car and removed the twin fuel filler caps and mounted only one in the top of the tank.’

‘Here is “Uffy” in the K3 taking out FTD at the Glen Ewin Hillclimb just out of Houghton, in the Adelaide Hills in November 1948.’

‘The track was the steep driveway down to the workshops and warehouses at the old Glen Ewin jam factory, owned and operated by the McEwin family since 1844.’

‘Cars raced up to the Lower Hermitage Road and finished on the main (North East) road to Adelaide, which was not closed to general traffic in the early days- an observer at the top would signal down to the starter with a flag that the road was clear for a run!’

‘In later years the road was closed for the hillclimb events run by the Vintage Sports Car Club of South Australia, but the venue closed in December 1951 when car racing on public roads in South Australia was banned by an Act of Parliament- hillclimbing moved to the new venue at Collingrove from 1952.’

‘This very Act had to be revoked to establish the Formula 1 track through the streets of Adelaide!’ in time for the first F1 AGP in 1985.

One the good citizens of Adelaide’s East Terrace, 8.30am Sunday early morning watering being interrupted by an Elfin MR8 Chev driven by Vern Schuppan gathering film footage of the proposed street circuit for discussions with BC Ecclestone & Co. 1983, the move to overturn the ban on racing on South Australia’s roads was underway (CAMS)

Doug’s final quip ‘Note Ron’s bald head- no helmet- bare hands- no gloves. From all reports Glen Ewin was very friendly, more casual, “clubby” type of social event, even though the competition could be quite fierce!’

‘Greg McEwin, son of the old, very conservative owner and patriarch, set up the venue. He owned an HRG and was an early member of the VSCCSA- he was more interested in sportscars and racing than he was in making wine and jam!’

‘His father DID, at one stage. decide to make wine, but later decided that it was a “demon drink” and took to all the barrels with a sledge-hammer and pick-axe and the wine flowed down the gully never to return again! After that it was butter, jam and sauces!’

Bob Williamson’s Australian Motor Racing photos FB page continues to give and give, a whole swag of photos posted by Doug Gordon and Dean Donovan together with the badinage with Australian racer/historian/author John Medley is providing some significant snippets of Australian Motor Racing History- I have simply lifted them from FB to primo to make sure we capture it before it disappears into the FB ether.

Ron Uffindell was a legendary racer and tuner, his exploits during the 1938 Australian Grand Prix weekend involved driving his little special to Mount Panorama and back- and finishing in eighth place behind Peter Whitehead’s victorious ERA R10B Voiturette.

(H Cullen)

The photo above shows Ron racing to victory at Lobethal in 1939.

He won the handicap South Australian GP, one of the support events over the 1939 AGP weekend, that race won in amazing fashion by Alan Tomlinson’s MG TA Spl s/c- a story for another time very soon.

Uffindell assisted many with their racing, not least Derek Jolly with his 7 Special- this association led to Jolly’s visits to the UK, ultimately, acquisition of a Lotus 15 and Colin Chapman exploiting Ron’s Austin 7 tuning and preparation secrets in his early days. This story is told in this article about Derek here;

https://primotipo.com/2017/11/09/dereks-deccas-and-lotus-15s/

Credits…

Doug Gordon, John Medley, Hedley Cullen

Finito…