Stories of interest
EARLY EMGEEING IN EN ZEDD
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David McNabb has continued his recent regular ritual of popping over the Tasman every couple of years to take part in New Zealand's biennial Pre-56 MG Rally. Alternating between NZ's South and North Islands, for 2017 the venue was Wanganui in the north.
This now iconic international event, held over six days late Feb, was notable for being the 21st Rally. Yes, these octagonal gatherings have been going for over four decades, with the first being held in 1977 in Christchurch (Adelaide's Sister City) where TD McNabb was chairman of the organising committee.
As such, David was kindly acknowledged by the 2017 organisers along with kiwi demi-god Peter Croft (known as the Godfather) who was also on the initial 1977 committee. This pair – Croft in his MGJ2 and McNabb in an MGTD were the sole survivors from the entry list that started the whole show, although for this year's Rally there were two MGs taking part that had actually been there in 1977. Now with new custodians, these were an MGTA and 1931 F1 Magna, both driven a considerable distance from the South Island to arrive at Wanganui.
I heard you asking how the author of this report was competing in a TD. It's rather expensive freighting MG's over the Tasman, so David was able to arrange the loan of a good friend's brilliantly restored TD based in Hamilton, and he imported wife Kerry (as navigator / riding mechanic), so the scene was set for a MaGic Octa-week.
A brief mention of the MG Rally prelude: In the couple of days preceding the Pre-56 Rally many of the MG folk went to Napier for that city's annual Art Deco weekend – a fabulous experience with most folk dressing the part – plus an amazing classic car parade of over 80 vehicles – where the pre war MGs joined in. Only snag was that for nearly three days it poured non stop. Luckily the weather improved a lot after that.
Alongside entrants from Australia, Netherlands, UK, USA, Canada and obviously host nation NZ, we were privileged to meet Paul Plummer's replacement as MG Overseas Director Peter Cook – a top bloke – owns an MGB V8 and co-drove a TF1500 in the motorkhana. McNabb took delight in being able to Meet & Greet Pete prior to our Easter Natmeet in Adelaide!
Other Aussie entrants included team Slattery, Robertson, Dunsterville, Godwin, Redhead, meaning Australia had around 14 official attendees, mostly in borrowed pre war MGs courtesy of the kiwi Mega Guru Gary Wall who often loans out his vast collection of pre war cars.
Rally HQ was set at the Cecil Kimber Room on Victoria Ave, Wanganui where most of the enjoyable functions took place.
To briefly summarise this well organised event of events, the Concours went as planned where entries included over 20 MGAs, 5 ZB Magnettes, 15 TFs, 8 TDs, a YA, 9 TA/TC, 18 Pre wars, the premier category – nearly 80 cars in total. [Breakdown of Pre wars: VA x 4, J2, WA x 2, SA x 2, M, NA, K1, F1, L, TA Tickford]. Overall Concours winners were a lovely 1933 L-type (although discussion continued about the car's all white colour scheme), and a freshly restored white MGA Deluxe. The McNabb MGTD won that section's class in the concours, with Kerry & David finishing fifth equal in the Trial.
The Observation Trial was run by the Baxter family in memory of iconic Bill Baxter who died last year. Other notable events were the grass motorkhana where a major player was a Twin Cam MGA (with power steering). Christchurch's Ollie Reid in an ex Aust MGTD won the overall Lady Driver's Award. The following day's speed event morphed into a complex bent sprint / combo Giant Gymkhana course on seal which proved quite confusing to a large percentage of the entrants.
Heaps of socialising, as only MG folk can do so well, prevailed throughout this Pre 56 Rally, culminating in the all-important presentation dinner with an Art Deco dress theme.
The next big NZ Pre 56 MG Rally is in Cromwell 2019, not far from Queenstown. Enquire now to TD McNabb, or submit an excuse as to why you shouldn't miss out on just so much MG fun!
Two post-Rally observations: Don't moan about the price of fuel here in Australia. Over in NZ they're being reamed for at least $2 litre (that hurts!). And best advice is don't try falling headfirst down a 20 step staircase in the dark – that also hurts and you can break bones (as McNabb found to his chagrin and dismay a few days after the MG Rally finished).
After a very enjoyable sea voyage on the MS Astor from Outer Harbour near Port Adelaide Jan & I headed to Fremantle (Read Freo!) on a delightful 6 day cruise ( Read Food/ Wine Fest!) and arrived in Western Australia on a delightful autumn morning in March, still in Australian waters all the way.
I had previously sent an email to Mike Sherrell letting him know that we were heading over his way.
We only had a few days in Freo but managed to do a bit of sightseeing, out to the Car Museum in York and this trip included catching up again with Mike.
We called on him mid-morning to find his home is also his office and workshop and living on a corner block in South Perth means that he can have dual accesses.
We were lucky enough to see Mike as he had just taken delivery of the first batch of his new publication, which is a continuation of his very famous book ” TC's Forever”.
Mike very kindly posed for the photo showing both copies and the photo was taken in his workshop, in the background you can see his own amazingly original and very reliable black TC, one he has owned since he was 16 years old and he has driven this car over 600,000 Miles.
His other MG is a wonderfully distinctive silver and green blown road and track machine and he is at present building up a similar car for another TC aficionado but this time in black with red from a donor TC from SA.
If anyone wants to obtain a copy of this new edition please contact Mike direct via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Greenwood – Strathalbyn - March 2017.