The Bay to Birdwood has become an icon in both the South Australian motoring calendar and the SA Major Events List. With the cancellation of the 2021 event it is time to “flashback” and have a quick look at the Sprite Club’s association with the Bay to Birdwood.
The original 1980 Bay to Birdwood was developed to replicate the London to Brighton Run in England. Within a few years the B2B became one of the largest motoring events in the world. Initially for veteran and vintage cars up to 1945, half of the challenge was getting to the start at Glenelg, let alone the journey to the National Motor Museum at Birdwood.
The Bay to Birdwood was then run every two years for a number of years for the Veteran and Vintage Cars. In 1997 there was enough interest to run an event for Classic cars. This provided an ideal opportunity for a number of Sprite Club members to join the field of nearly 1200 vehicles. The Start was at Wigley Reserve, Glenelg and members met at Anzac Highway so we could be together at the start.
To add to the spectacle, the Adelaide Crows had won their first grand Final the day before, so many cars were displaying the states tri-colour, and many of the spectators were still partying from the win, which added to the whole event.
From the success of this event, the Classic was held every second year, as an alternate to the traditional B2B run. Due to the number of cars the starting venue was moved to Barrett Reserve, West Beach. This venue has since been the starting site for all B2B events.
The route taken has changed, but generally heads via Anzac Highway, Greenhill Road, Dequettiville Terrace, and North East Road before heading through the hills. For some years these hills roads were closed to oncoming traffic, and was made a two lane road to Birdwood, great piece of road to drive on the wrong side of the road!
At the Birdwood Mill there were Concours, rock’n’roll dancing, food, wine plus a great display of cars, fashions and activities.
For 2020, the traditional and Classic events were combined, allowing for a vast range of motor vehicles of all ages, and a differing spectacle for the many spectators that line the route from the Bay to Birdwood.
Hopefully the event will return when things get back to normal, post-COVID, so both entrants and spectators can enjoy this special event.