All posts by Robin Dunk

All British Day 2024

Goodness, we haven’t gotten to the end of 2023 and the club is talking about ABD for 2024?

Well, entries are open (>click here<) and they CLOSE on 3 November, unless sold out before. Yes, that’s only about 2 weeks away. So, if you are heading out on the Climb to the Eagle and you haven’t entered, you had better do so when you get home!

In all seriousness, they are expecting to sell out quickly. The feature marque is MG celebrating 100 years and they will be a prominent feature on the day. I am in discussions with the MGCCSA who are coordinating the MG display so we are trying to be co-located on the main field so our MGs will also be ‘part of the day’, as are several other clubs with significant numbers of MGs in their ranks

If you are keen to go don’t miss out – click the link (here again) and get your entry in.

I’m entered (and so is my dad with his Ariel motorbike, another featured brand on the day!). Hope to see you all there!

A Word from the Webmaster

Hi all

I’ve had a few comments about not receiving emails so I’m just doing a check as to who is getting their emails! I know, I know, the Webguru has lost the plot and sending out an email to see if you are getting an email …. if you are reading this on the Website or the Facebook site and you didn’t get an email from the club with this information on it, can you please email me (don’t say it…!) at or or text me a message (0431 247 746) with your name and email address and I’ll recheck that you are in the system.

Please go into your Spam Mail history and look for emails from the club. If you need any help, please let me know and I can talk you through it.

I’d hate for people to be missing out on events like Display Day because an email has not been received.

Cheers! Robin.

MG Car Club of SA Annual Kimber Run

A quick note for all those of the Morris Garages persuasion in our club!

The annual MG Car Club of South Australia ‘Kimber Run’ will be held again on Sunday the 12th of November.

If you own and MG, this is one of the largest annual MG-only runs in the world and the only run outside of the UK that has the official ‘Kimber Run’ title, celebrating the founder of MG, Cecil Kimber. This year its doubly important as this year marks 100 years of the MG brand.

The run is always held up though the hills with the route a lightly guarded secret until you sign on for the day. Suffice to say, there is always a well organised morning tea stop and, for the first 300 people to sign up for the lunch, a two course lunch at a great location at the end of the run. Think of it like one of Russell and Judy’s runs, just with 100+ MGs!

It really is a great day out and highly recommended! If you are not in an MG its still a great procession to follow along in your Sprite or other classic.

Run details can be found >here< or I’ve uploaded the entry form below.

Display Day 2023

Yes, its nearly that time! Display Day 2023. So get out you polishing cloths and start getting ready!

When – 5 November 23, from 0900

Where – Wigley Reserve, Glenelg

All members are encouraged to bring their Sprite, Midget or Associate Car(s) along for the day to show off your pride and joy and promote the Club! If you have more than one car and you can manage it, please bring more than one car down to really add to the diversity of cars and marques on the day.

Invitations to display are extended to all members of the Austin Healey Owners Club of South Australia and the Rover Car Club of South Australia, and of course the members of ClubbiesSA … we realise its the ‘First Sunday of the Month’ for you so we’ve arranged for a coffee van to be onsite for your coffee fix!

If you are reading this and you are not a member of the Sprite Club or one of the other mentioned clubs but you own a Sprite or Midget, Big Healey or a Classic Rover, you are also invited to come down and display your car! We would also love to see an Austin A40 Farina or two (they are basically a Sprite with a roof!) and MG1100s/Riley Elfs. If you are wondering, please drop us a line at or call on 0431 247 746.

Visitors from interstate Sprite and Austin Healey Clubs are of course welcome too!

Prizes will be awarded to the best Sprite/Midget and the best ‘Associate’ car on the day, and the Club’s Sprite of the Year will be awarded!

For Club members, we are still seeking some volunteers to help with setting up for the day. We are also looking for some specialised skills such as Fire Warden and additional First Aiders. If you can help please let myself, Don or Gordon know.

For those bringing their steeds on trailers there will be an area set aside for parking tow cars and trailers.

Hope to see you all there for what promises to be a great day!

What a Grand Day Out

Four Sprites and a Midget burbling up though the Adelaide Hills and the Barossa Valley enroute to Collingrove on a beautiful crisp clear Spring morning on the club’s ‘Picnic Run’. What a fabulous sight and sound!

Setting out from The Gully Hotel for a straight run up through Birdwood and then on to Collingrove, of course someone (the President … err, me) was late to the starting point but luckily Don was patient and waited with new Sprite owner, Don Cameron (he hasn’t yet decided on joining a club but he and his lovely Mk3 are welcome to join our runs when ever he wishes!). Eventually we got there (only 20 minutes late … despite having no traffic on North East Road I still managed to get every red light!) and the three of us headed up to Birdwood where the Lows and Dean were waiting and then the run out to Collingrove. It really is nice when the 80kph limit ends and we can run up to 100 (or there abouts)! 5x 1275 A Series, all in good song!

Despite my car really not having a decent run in nearly five months it seemed in fine fettle for the run out with a muted rasp and a crackle and pop on the overrun coming down the hills. Most thought I was slightly crazy wearing a polo shirt and shorts (and Margy in a short sleeve linen top) on a 5 degree morning but as usual the heater was in fine form heating our feet and the escaping warmth keeping our ears and noses from freezing as we headed through the hills with the roof down and picnic hamper strapped firmly in place. A perfect way to start the month of October!

And what was it all about? The Sunday of the Labour Day long weekend sees the running of the Sporting Car Club of South Australia’s annual Barossa Vintage Collingrove Hillclimb and, thanks to the efforts of Sprite Club and Sporting Car Club Member Gary Dodd, we had pole position inside the pit paddock for the day, including a run up the course for those who desired to partake!

The Sutherlands joined us with their lovely Mk2 Midget (its still for sale … David … I know you’re reading this … caravan, Sprite, caravan, Sprite …) and, including Peter Stanley’s hill climb Sprite, we had seven Sprites and Midgets, as well as Pat and Gerard Miller with the Plymouth and the likes of Miles and others in more ‘normal’ cars. A great turn out really, consider it was the middle of the Long Weekend after all. Thank you to everyone who made the effort!

And what a fabulous day it was, with an amazing collection of historic South Australian and interstate cars and bikes taking on the twists and incline of the Collingrove climb. From cars built for the Australian GP in the 1950s (and in one case, driven by the 15 year old Great Grandson of the cars creator), to a hauntingly beautiful SS100, classic Speedway Sprint Cars and all manner and marques of cars and bikes in-between, there was something for everyone!

Thank you to the SCC-SA for the opportunity and thank you to all the owners and drivers of these fabulous cars who were only too happy to stop and talk and recount the history of their vehicles.

All in all, it really was a Grand Day Out! Hope to see you all soon on the road!

(photo credits to David Low and Margy Donaldson or as marked)

And now for a quick word from Management

Its been a while since I’ve penned a President’s update and as we lead into a busier part of the year with runs and Display Days … and the AGM, I thought it was about time!

I have to apologise as I’ve been somewhat distracted of late, but the good news is the grass is now down at ‘Sherburn’ (yes, the house has a name on the façade, one of those things people did in the early 1900s!) but I’m not sure if its firm enough to get the Midget out from its hiding spot. I have mesh to lay over the grass like a WW2 temporary runway so perhaps it will get up to Collingrove this Sunday. Anyway, its proved to be a good backdrop for the latest Club purchase as a result of the State Government grant funding we received earlier this year – new signboards to advertise the Club at displays and other events. Not sure how they are going actually fit into a Spridget but where there is a will, there is always a way! Other equipment include a battery operated Public Address system, fire extinguishers and first aid kits. All a very welcome addition for a small club like ours!

Annual Dinner. I really have to apologise for not penning a report about the Annual Dinner as it was a fabulous evening, thanks largely to the hard work of Michael and Pat. The food, which was amazing, just kept coming and I don’t think anyone went home hungry!

Michael and Pat where somewhat surprised when they where awarded the Tony Benetto trophy for all of their hard work behind the scenes making the club the club that it is, but anyone who has attended any of the Annual Dinners or Ice-Cream Runs or Cheese and Wine nights would agree its long over due and recognition for their efforts! Congratulations!

I’ve only been involved with selecting and awarding trophies for this year and I hope that every year is as easy to select the winners as it was this year. When I asked the Committee for their thoughts and nominations the winners where unanimous! The award winners where (drumroll please….)

Club Person of the Year – Elaine Cardone!

Associate Car of the Year – it dawned on the Committee that there wasn’t an ‘Associate Car of the Year’ award which we all felt needed to be rectified. With several cars in contention for this category, one we felt was an absolute standout, that car being Paul and Ruth Doube’s MG TC. We don’t yet have the annual trophy but we were able to have the small keep-sake made up in time. Unfortunately, Paul continues to battle his health but the Club will organise an evening to take the trophy to them.

Sprite of the Year – well, about that. The winner wasn’t there so we have decided to hold that award over the Display Day. The winner does not know if her or his car has won. Hopefully it has been put back together and it makes Display Day! Come along then and find out who it is!

Congratulations to all the award winners on the night!

You should have just read my last email about Collingrove so no need to talk about that here, but there are a slew of runs and displays coming up in the next few weeks. Events include the Bay to Birdwood and the Climb to the Eagle (3 Nov) with the main event for the club being the Sprite Club Display Day at Wigley Reserve on the 5th of November! All cars, Sprite and non Sprites, are welcome as are non-Sprite Club members. We will be asking for volunteers to help run the day as we can’t do it without your help! There will be invites going out to our sister clubs in the very near future to come down and join in the day so get your polishing rags out and start polishing!

Finally, a quick note about the Annual General Meeting. More will information about nominations will come out in the next couple of days, but if you are interested to help the club as a member of the Committee please consider putting your hand up. Yes, it is the day after Display Day but we need you to put a mark into your diary to come along. All Committee positions will be available and anyone can nominate to help out as a committee member. We have a wonderful and hard working Committee who, I think, have put on some great events over the past 12 months but many have been on the Committee for quite a while and they may want a break! Have a think, talk to a current Committee Member. Its an undertaking and yes, it is a little bit of work but honestly, its enjoyable and hugely rewarding when you see an event or a run go off smoothly. We can only function as a club if we have a Committee to run it!

That’s enough rambling on from me. Don’t forget, there is no meeting this Monday due to the Long Weekend, with the next General Meeting held over until the following Monday (9 October).

Happy Sprite-ing

Run to the Vintage Collingrove Hillclimb

An informal ‘run to Collingrove’ will take place on Sunday 1 Oct for Sprite Club members. The run will be relaxed and very informal, with the goal to be at Collingrove by 0900(ish).

Departure point will be the carpark of ‘The Gully’ hotel (near the Thirsty Camel Bottle Shop, with a 0810 departure. From there its roughly a 60km, 60 minute run up through the hills. Look for my blue Midget or red Alfa on the day … hopefully I wake up in time!

For those who are taking a different route and perhaps want to meet us along the way, we will depart the Birdwood Mill around about 0840.

Non-Sprite Club members are most welcome to tag along, particularly if you are in a Sprite or a Midget!

Just in case its needed, my number is 0431 247 746

Don’t forget, the Sporting Car Club has generously given us free entry for the event so pack your club membership card as, although Gary Dodd assures me me knows everyone and everyone’s cars, it might pay to take your member card … just in case he doesn’t really know everyone! If you are not in a Spridget on the day then please take your membership card.

There will be catering available on the day, but pack a coffee or hot water for tea just in case.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Parts Wanted – Rear Brake Adjusters

Rick Williams is looking for a rear brake adjuster for his Midget Mk 2.

He is chasing like a genuine second hand one after buying two new ‘reproduction’ ones (pictured); however, the threads bind and cannot screw in from the front. He’s seeking one to complete his brake overhaul.

Can anyone assist?

Upcoming Events!

Three weeks, four great club events!

As the days warm up so does the club event calendar. Be sure to mark the following up on the fridge so you don’t forget!

16 September – Club Annual Dinner at Hut n Soul. From 1830 for a 1900 start, it promises to be a great night for only $40 a head. Let us know if you are coming!

20 September – Mid Week Run. Arrive at Tilley Reserve at 0930 for a 1000 departure towards the north for another mystery adventure courtesy of Russell and Judy! All I can say we are heading north and there’s a great lunch destination arranged! Oh, and as always, pack morning tea! Total distance out and back is about 150km … about 100 out and 50 home! Contact Russell or Judy to let them know you are coming so they can book.

30 September – MSCA SuperSprint Round 4 . The action returns to The Bend (East Circuit) and the club is on flagging duty so if you can spare the day as a volunteer please let Pat know.

1 October – Club picnic run to the Vintage Collingwood Hillclimb. If racing at The Bend wasn’t enough the day before, 1 October sees the return of Sporting Car Club’s annual Vintage Collingwood Hillclimb for 2023.

A perfect opportunity to dust the Sprite and Midgets off, pack a picnic hamper and go and watch the likes of Gerard and club Secretary Peter take on the hill climb circuit!

Thanks to Gary Dodd, the Sporting Car Club have kindly offered Sprite Club Members free entry if they show their membership card and our Sprites and Midgets can be parked as part of the cars on display for the day, with, if time permits, a run up the course behind the pace car. Sounds like a great day out to me!! Entry is $15 for non club members with tickets purchased on line >here<.

And the events don’t just stop there. The Bay to Birdwood on soon (let the club know if you are participating, followed soon after by the annual Climb to the Eagle (click here for entry) and our annual Display Day at Wigley Reserve in Glenelg. Stay tuned for more information on Display Day as we will need some help to make this a great day!

Are you coming along to the Sprite Club Annual Dinner?

16 September, 1830 for a 1900 start.

$40 per head for a 7 course meal, its hard value to beat!

Did I mention a drink on arrival and door prizes? And have I mentioned its only $40 a head to catch up with old friends and make new ones?

Come along and see who wins the Sprite of the Year and who is recognised as the Clubperson of the year for 2023. And who will win the inaugural ‘Associate Car of the Year’?

We have the whole restaurant to ourselves for the night and the chefs can cater for all dietary needs. RSVP myself or Michael McLaren, including any dietary requirements, so we can let the venue know how may to cater for. Direct Debit payment to the club before hand is preferred.

Upcoming Events Reminder

Tonight (26 Aug)Pea and Pie Night at the Fullarton Centre Club Rooms. Hosted by Don and Elaine, this promises to be a night featuring a South Australian culinary icon, the Pie Floater. If you haven’t told the Cardones you are coming, it might not be too late! BYO and members to provide a share plates of savoury and sweet dishes!

4 September – General Meeting at the club rooms

16 SeptemberAnnual Dinner. If you haven’t RSVP’d myself or Michael, please do so as soon as possible so we can confirm numbers with the venue. The club is subsidising the meal cost and will be providing a complimentary drink on arrival too. At $40 per head for a lovely 5 or 6 course meal its hard value to beat and will be a great night. We can cater for nearly all dietary needs, be it gluten free, vegetarian or vegan as well as various allergies. Please don’t not come as you are worried we can’t cater for you! Come along and see who wins the ‘Clubman of the Year’ or the ‘Best Sprite’ (which might not be a Sprite!) or the Tony Bennetto award.

20 September – hard on the heels of the Annual Dinner is the next instalment of Russell and Judy’s mid week magical mystery meanders. Goodness only knows what they have cooked up for us this time, other than to say its off in a north by north west direction. Sounds like the name of a Hitchcock thriller!

1 October – Picnic Run to the Collingrove Hillclimb. A run not to be missed and more details to follow, suffice to say that the Sporting Car Club is recognising the Sprite Club on the day with free entry and our cars on display with the historic hill climb cars. Definitely one to put into your calendars!

More information on each event can be found on the website in the Spritely News or of course in the latest edition of the Burble

Sprite and Midget National Challenge 2024

National Challenge Update from the AHSDC organising team.

A huge welcome back or welcome aboard and after such a long hiatus what a great event we have planned for you all.

Firstly, in this Bulletin No 2 you will notice a few changes. Due to popular demand we have extended the Challenge to four nights and moved Venues for a better package deal. All the accommodation has been upgraded and evening meals will be next door so as no transport needed and you can walk to and from.

Also the Post Rally Tour has been bought forward to a Pre Rally Tour so as not to collide with the Easter rush going home and will be based at Yackandandah.

We have endeavoured to keep prices at a minimum but still offering great value as we have always tried to do. There is some very exciting events planned for you which are by Invitation and or Appointment only and I believe you will find totally fabulous but we are going to keep them a surprise until you get here. So if you wish to attend the 2024 National Challenge in Wodonga please get on board and Register and pay your deposit.

We have now included a QR code on the Bulletin which will take you directly  to our AHSDC Website for all information or details.

Please find attached Bulletin No 2 which has cost details and further information. If you could distribute amongst your Club and keep the momentum going as well.

The attached Registration Form MUST be completed along with your payment details to ensure your placement and returned to me please.

For those interested in joining the PRE Rally Tour, I have attached details and information pertaining to this and you will need to contact/liaise with John Fowler directly as per his details on the attached.

Please stay tuned for further Bulletins and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact myself or Greg Corbin.

An Evening with Terry Clark

For a bit of a change, we have a guest speaker at the next Monthly General Meeting (7 August), Mr Terry Clark.

Organised by Barry Edson, Terry has offered to come in to talk about his experiences as a motorsport photographer. For a little more information about Terry please refer to the extract from the State Library below.

I’m sure it will be an interesting chat and I highly recommend members and guests to come along and listen! As usual, tea and coffee will be available.

From the State Library of South Australia:

At age 15 Terry joined the Royal Air Force as an apprentice in the trade of airborne wireless and radar fitter. With a good camera club in the RAF and some spare time, Terry’s photographic experience blossomed. The camera club had a really good quality 2 ¼ sq inch single lens reflex camera and full facilities for developing, printing, enlarging and processing the emerging technology of colour slide film.

Terry was posted to Australia to work on guided missiles in 1959. It was many miles of travel and many photographs and 8mm movie shoots before he returned for a brief spell in 1965 to the United Kingdom. Finishing his term in the RAF he migrated back to Australia to work on Jindivik a radio controlled target aircraft. On arrival in Woomera in 1967 Terry saw the opportunity to start a photographic service for the population and the local newspaper and he established Woomera Photo Services. In more than eight years as a Woomera resident he took many thousands of photographs, which unlike his wartime efforts did come out. The range of photographic assignments was extremely varied with weddings, social functions, many sporting events, local promotional postcards, ANZAC Day and 4th July celebrations, and covering visiting entertainers and sporting personalities.

Soapbox Derby, Woomera.
Photo from the Terry Clark Collection, SLSA

Terry left Woomera after nearly nine years to live and work in Adelaide as a Prudential Insurance Company Agent. As technology progressed Terry took advantage of the growth of computer-controlled multi image slide presentations and developed a business presenting slide shows at sales conferences around the world. This led to work for CAMS at Formula 1 events and fifteen years presenting slide shows at The FIA (Federation Internationale De L’Automobile) World Rally Championship in Perth. He was also fortunate to meet many international celebrities of which the highlight was having morning tea with and photographing Nelson Mandela when he was the President of South Africa.

Terry has never been a full time professional photographer but his work has taken him around the world with presentations in nine different countries as well as every state of Australia. Terry donated all the negatives of his Woomera work to the Woomera Museum and many of his prints and 8mm movies to The State Library of South Australia.

Your Club Needs You … to come Slot Car racing!

You club needs you!

Our numbers have dwindled, our position now parlous.

Some have succumbed to the winter malaise and others distracted by offers of food, wine, song and free accommodation.

We stand besieged by those from the Rovers, some may be Topless and others of the Clubbie kind. And we know not what of the warriors of the MGCC or if indeed those of AHOC Clan upon the hallowed track may appear.

We need you to step forth like never before so we can stand as one, united in a single cause, bonded by a marque.

I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves able to defend our club honour and set a standard of slot car team racing that will be the stories of legend.

We need you. Your club needs you…

… to come and have a Day at the Races tomorrow at Scalex World in Ridgehaven as the Sprite Club brings back an old winter favourite – slot car racing!

As advertised, the main event is a ‘Le Mans’ style teams race but that doesn’t mean you don’t come if you don’t have a team or just want to have a day reliving the joy of slot cars.

So come one, come all and see the Sprites fly around the track!

Track will open at 0900 and practice will start at 1000. The ‘race’ will kick off at 1100 and the number of rounds will depend entirely on how many teams we get on the day. We are already down a couple of people in the ‘teams’ due to a mix of the flu (and one who decided a bed and breakfast in a vineyard was better than slot car racing – seriously?) so we have some teams who may be looking for a fourth member and we have racing room for another team or two if you can find three mates or just see who is there tomorrow and join in with the fun.

And, for those who love a good coffee, head out to the Rezz for a coffee or breakfast with the Clubbies crew at 0900 before we head across to Scalex World for 10am!

$20 per head gets you track hire, a car and a controller!

Upcoming Events

Don’t forget these dates!

16 Jul – Le Mans Slot Car Challenge. We have a few teams on the books already but we can always use a few more!! And if you just want to have fun, come along anyway! We will be meeting at The Rezz at 9 for those who want a coffee first before heading over to Scalex World at 10. Come along for some mid-winter racing fun!

26 Aug – Pie and Peas Night. Nothing like a good pie floater to warm you up on a cold winters night. Please RSVP to Don or Elaine with numbers and if you can bring a Sweet or a Savoury

16 Sep – 51st Annual Dinner – details to follow!

20 Sep – Mid Week Mystery Meander – its a run to the North but I’m not sure if that’s going to be Cary Grant-esque North by North West adventure or more John Wayne North to Alaska. You’d better come along to find out!

1 Oct – Picnic Run to Collingrove Historic Hillclimb where our Sprites and Midgets will be on display thanks to the Sporting Car Club!

Please note also the club is on Flagging Duty on the 30th of Sep at The Bend so volunteers are requested to let Pat know. Perhaps if you are not planning on coming up to Collingrove on Sunday you might be able to help out on Saturday (or both!)?

The Workshop Rat

As many of you will know, Paul Doube, club member and ex President of the Sprite Club ,and stalwart of the ClubbiesSA movement is having a running battle with his health at the moment. A few weeks ago, to help me piece together some of my father’s recollections of his trips to Mallala, I asked Paul if he’d mind writing down some memories from his youth, a time when you could find him happily sweeping the floors at Garrie Cooper’s workshop, just soaking in the early days of Elfin Cars. Within the hour the following came bouncing back. Enjoy!


The Workshop Rat, by Paul Doube

… I did indeed ‘haunt’ the Elfin factory on Conmurra Avenue, Edwardstown when I was a kid. I had developed a bit of an interest in racing and race cars, as my older brother used to bring home magazines about cars and racing, though these were usually English magazines, such as Auto Sport. In one of the Australian magazines, was an advertisement for Elfin Sports Cars, and I realised that the workshop/factory was not far away from my home at Clarence Gardens.

Garrie Cooper’s Austin 7 Special (photo Gordon Boyce)

After school one afternoon, I hopped on my trusty treadley, and cycled down to Conmurra Avenue, where I found an unlikely looking Besserblock workshop set back a little from the street, and which was next to a firm called Cooper Motor Bodies, run by Cliff Cooper (Garrie’s father), and where Garry and Elfin Sports Cars started out. I won’t detail the history of Elfin as that is easily available elsewhere.

In any case, I saw the sliding door at the front of the workshop was slightly open, and so I peered in, trying all the while to remain out of sight of the occupants of the workshop in case I was seen to be doing something wrong. It was an amazing sight to see a couple of racing cars under construction as well as one or two being either repaired, serviced or prepared for racing, and though it was a fantastic sight, I was desperate to find a way to get inside and have a really good look.

I can’t recall for sure but this must have happened a few times over the ensuing weeks, and on a few occasions I was sure I had been sprung, but there was a big bush growing in the carpark next to the office door and workshop entrance, and I figured if anybody saw me, I could hide in the bush. I only had to do that once when a car pulled in to the carpark area (not really a carpark, just an entrance way to the premises), and as the car parked, I hid in the bush to avoid having to fess up. I have often wondered what that person must have thought, as they clearly saw me peering around the workshop door, but that I had disappeared by the time they got out of their ute.

Elfin FJ, at Mallala. Driver – Steven Cooper, son of Garrie. Photo G. Nowak, via Flickr

Not long after that incident, it was school holidays, and of course, I had again cycled down to Conmurra Avenue, probably secretly hoping I would be invited in for a tour. All of sudden the garage door slid back, and this older bloke grabbed me by the front of my jumper, making me think I was going to be in trouble and have the police called (a real fear as my father was a policeman). It turned out it was Cliff Cooper, and he had a broom in his hand, again making me think I was about to get a hiding.

His words still ring clear to me when he said “instead of looking in, you might as well make yourself useful, and come in and sweep up“!

That was my ‘in’ to Elfin Sports Cars, and from that day on, I used to go down as often as I could, and simply walk in and grab a broom, and pretend to sweep up, in reality never doing much sweeping at all, and as much as possible, hanging around close to those working on the cars or talking about what they were doing. It was probably just as well, as many of the basic layouts of chassis were simply drawn in chalk on the workshop floor, and if I had swept those chalk lines up, I’m sure I would have been given a hiding.

It was a case of almost being in a live ‘Boys Own’ comic, as while many school mates were interested in racing cars, I was actually getting inside the factory, and talking to the people who designed and built them. Garry was a quieter bloke but very interesting to listen to, while Cliff was louder and I thought at the time, a bit of an ogre, but nothing could be further from the truth. Others were John Webb, the genius alloy body builder, Dale Koennecke who looked after the engines and built engines, and a smaller Italian guy named Ernest Littera, who seemed to me to be able to do absolutely anything, as well as Cliff and Garry, A younger guy was there at the time doing his apprenticeship as a fabricator, named Gregg Mobbs, and it was Greg who owned and raced an Elfin Clubman, and later designed and built the first seven of the seventeen Kestrel Clubmans, plus others who came in to do things, such a Bruce Wendt, a PMG Technician by day, but who also wired every Elfin to leave the factory. 

As an aside, there are a few later connections from that period, Bruce also wired my Kestrel Clubman and of course Greg welded up the basic chassis for my Kestrel (No 7) before I took over the build with great assistance from Tim Rees, and I later used Dale Koennecke as an expert witness in a case I was appearing as counsel in. When I had  Dale in chambers to proof him as a witness, he kept saying he thought I was familiar, to which I detailed my time going to the Elfin factory as a child. On hearing that, Dale roared laughing and said  “of course, the workshop rat”! Apparently that was how I was explained to people who came to the Elfin factory on a legitimate basis.

Graham Wright’s Elfin Mallala, at Mallala. Photo G. Nowak, via Flickr

I continued to do this for a couple of years, but schooling at St. Ignatius at Norwood got in the way, as I was never home early enough to get down to Conmurra Avenue, though I did drop in on a few occasions when I was on school holidays. From memory this would probably have been in about 1963, as I recall being about ten years of age at the time, and that would fit in with getting a bike for Christmas just before my tenth birthday. I recall that I probably did this for two years or perhaps slightly longer, as that would also fit with my going to St. Ignatius, so probably between 1963 and 1966. This would also fit with the cars I recall seeing, which were the Catalina/Formula Junior, Elfin Mono open wheelers, the first of the Elfin Formula vee cars, and Elfin Mallala sports car.


… I’m sure many of us would give anything to experience first hand the sights, sounds and smell of 1960s motorsport, even just for five minutes. Paul, after being caught hiding in the bushes, got to spend his holidays and weekends in his formative years being small part of Australian motorsport history. We are all glad he didn’t sweep the floors too well!

Pea n Pie Night

Nothing says South Australia more than a hot meat pie surrounded by peas and once again the Sprite Club is bringing this culinary delicacy back with its annual Pea n Pie night!

Known to most as a ‘Pie Floater’ I can see the quizzical look on some readers faces as you read this but don’t knock it until you actually try it! Known universally as a Pie Floater, its literally a meat pie (traditionally a Pork Pie but any quality pie is good) submerged (originally upside) down in a bowl of hot pea soup! Believed to have been created in Port Pirie in the 1890s it became a late night staple of Pie Carts across Adelaide and Australia after a long night or just a great mid winter warmer tummy.

Sadly all of the original Adelaide Pie Carts have disappeared but the tradition still carries on and, thanks to the efforts of Don and Elaine, the Sprite Club will be putting on its own take on the ubiquitous Pea and Pie combination.

Where – Fullarton Park Clubrooms

When – 26 August (time TBC)

Cost -TBC but somewhere around $10 per member

BYO Drinks and a plate of nibbles or dessert

RSVP to Don and Elaine Cardone (0411 876 067) so they can gauge the numbers for ordering please. Please also advise if you intend to bring a savoury or sweet plate so we don’t end up with too much one thing!

Visitors are most welcome, just please let us know prior so we can cater for the right numbers!

Midweek Meander Update

A friendly reminder that there will be a Midweek Meander this week (Wed 21st), lead by Pat Miller.

Gather at Windy Point Upper Car Park at 0930 for a 1000 departure.

Route will be a scenic roll through the Adelaide’s southern hills, via Clarendon and Kangarilla enroute to Collectable and Classics at Strathalbyn for a late morning tea and to look at the cars on display and for sale there. From there its a run up the picturesque Strath Road to Echunga for lunch at the Hagen Arms.

Pat and Nan have checked the route and despite the miserable weather it was a great drive! Lets hope for nice weather on Wednesday!

Look out for Pat’s Falcon Ute at Windy Point.

If you haven’t already, please let him know you are coming on 0421 289 706.

Dry July in memory of Don

Earlier this year we lost one of our club stalwarts, Don Williams, to the effects of cancer and we have other club members who are or have been engaged with their own battles with this insidious disease.

This July Don’s nephew and fellow club member, Dale Halling, will be raising a non-alcoholic glass to Don and through the Dry July initiative to a better life for all people affected by cancer.

By taking part in Dry July, Dale, an many others like him, will be going alcohol-free and raising funds to help make a difficult time a little easier for cancer patients, their families and carers. If you are able he would be very appreciative if you could make a small donation to this most worthy of causes.

Your donation will help fund services such as a lift to a life-saving appointment, guidance from a specialist nurse, connection to an informative voice, access to therapy programs or a bed close to treatment.

To donate please head to The size of the donation does not matter, its the thought that counts and every small thought contributes to the cause.

Thunderbirds are GO!

Otherwise known as … the Mid Week Run for next week is ON!

Thanks to Pat offering to run the day, the June ‘Winter Solstice‘ mid-week run is go!

Date – 21 June 23

Time – 0930 for a 1000 off

Starting Point – Windy Point Car Park (uphill car park)

Route – Pat is planning an easy run through the southern hills to Strathalbyn where we will stop for a late morning cup of tea or coffee and a wander through Ben Finnis’s Collectable and Classic Cars. Ben has asked for a $2 per person donation that will go to his Charity of the Month. BYO coffee/tea or support one of the local coffee shops!

Lunch – following Collectable and Classics tables have been reserved at the Hagen Arms in Echunga for 1230, just a quick trip up the road from Strath.

Please let Pat or Robin know if you are going so we can adjust the table numbers for the Hagen Arms (currently booked for 16).

Fingers crossed for reasonable weather!

Calendar Updates

Greetings all. Just a quick update on planned and unplanned activities that are coming up in the next couple of weeks!

17 June – Army Vehicles Open Day. Looking for something different to do this Saturday? Ever wanted to get up close to the latest in Army trucks? The Royal Australian Corps of Transport is holding an open day at Keswick Barracks from 1100 until 1400. Come and see some of the oldest and latest Army vehicles and listen to the Army Band play from 1200. Numbers are limited to 500 and bookings are essential via Eventbrite for this free event.

Book here:

21 Jun – Winter Solstice Lunch Run. We’ve combined several run themes into one and created a mid-week Winter Lunch Run to celebrate the shortest day of the year (a day or so early) with a run out to Strath and Echunga but I need a ‘Run Captain’ to run the day, record attendance, marshal troops, give directions and generally keep law and order. Should be easy right? Unfortunately Russell and Judy are indisposed and most of the Committee are tied up so I’m calling on a volunteer … and an idea of numbers so I can book an appropriate venue for lunch! Please let me know at or call/text me on 0431 247 746 if you can help out!

Run details to follow once we know we can run the run (so to speak!)

Finally ….

25 June – Breakfast Run to Murray Bridge with the MG Car Club. Departing Veale Gardens at 0900 for a run out along the ‘old road’ to Murray Bridge. Details can be found here, here and here! All welcome to tag along!

Oh – and don’t forget to get your Slot Car teams together for the event of the year at Scalex World on the 16th of July. Should be a great day and we can’t let the first winners not be the Sprite Club!

Calling All Cars, Calling All (slot) Cars

Save the date – Sunday, 16 July 2023. A day that may go down in the annuals of motor sport history as the day the Sprite Car Club (SA) Slot Car Cup burst onto the racing calendar. Yes, that’s right, its the world famous SCCSCC. I’m not sure its really world famous and to be honest, I’m not 100% sure we will have a Cup to award to the winning team, but it will be a great day of fun competition at Clive Spreadbury’s Scalex World slot car complex!

The race. The main event is a ‘Le Mans’ style race with six teams of four drivers per team. Each driver will get to race for a set time and its a simple formula … the team with the most laps at the end of the race time wins!

And the cars? You will be racing identical Austin Healey Sprites of course! No traction or aerodynamic aids, just pure hand-eye-throttle coordination to keep your car on the circuit! These are no ordinary slot cars. You wont find these in a shop as they have been custom built by Clive using the best steel chassis and motors covered by hand built bodies.

Now you can’t have a competition without having challengers so we will be issuing a challenge, laying down an electronic gauntlet if you like, to some like minded car groups in Adelaide to stir up some competition and possibly create an annual event. Who will we challenge and who will have the courage to attempt to become the inaugural winners of the SCCSCC? You will have to come along on the day to find out! And of course if you are from an interstate Sprite/Midget club and visiting Adelaide we’d love to see you on the day too!

All three tracks will be running on the day with the the main event hosted on the competition track. The other two tracks will open to those looking to practice their skill or just relive your youth and have a go at racing a slot car! Dust off your old Slot Cars (1:24th and 1:32nd scale) or hire a car on the day and relive your childhood. A warning though … its highly highly addictive!

For those teams chasing Cup glory bonus points will be awarded for each ‘marque representative’ slot car you bring along. I know one member of the Sprite Club has two in build already so best get cracking!

When – Sunday 16 July.

Where Scalex World (3 Paul St, Ridgehaven).

Cost – $20 per person which includes a car, track hire and a controller.

Practice from 1000 with racing starting at 1100 until 1300

Getting there. Every third Sunday of the month the ladies and gents of ClubbiesSA meet at the Rezz for breakfast. Sean assures me we are all welcome to join them so to really make a day of it, head to the Rezz for a coffee and from there its just a hop, step and a jump over to Scalex World!

Afterwards. If the weather is kind it’s a BBQ lunch in the park across the road afterwards so pack a BBQ picnic, otherwise we will head to a local pub!

And if you are really keen, Clive is also a Scalextric retailer so if (or when) the slot car bug(eye) bites he can satisfy your competition adrenaline rush with all the equipment you might need!

Support to a very good cause

Daryl, our Regalia Officer brought to my attention what I think is a really good cause that the Sprite Car Club might want to support.

His wife (and Sprite Club member) Ruth is on the Board of the Cancer Care Centre and is seeking to raise further funds to support people living with cancer. They have partnered with the Capri Cinema (Goodwood Road, Goodwood) and together are hosting a charity screening of the new Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

When and where: Capri Cinema in Goodwood, Sunday 9 July at 2.30pm. The movie will screen from 3.30 with all monies raised going to the Cancer Care Centre.

This is an exceptionally worthy charity. Sadly 1 in 2 people are affected by cancer at some point in their lives, be it directly or as a family member. The Cancer Care Centre is there to support not only those suffering but their affected families.

To book tickets for this event, please click the link >here< and follow the prompts.

In the words of Daryl and Ruth, please bring your Spritely selves and support a very worthy cause!

Minutes – May General Meeting

Please find the Minutes of the May General Meeting below for your review.

Please note, the proposed 28 May Winery Lunch as been postponed and will be combined with a run to Pub in late June (details to follow). In its stead will be the opportunity to join in the MCGG(SA) Breakfast Run. Refer to Spritely News for more information. Please let Robin know if you are attending and he will advise the MGCC of potential numbers.

Calendar Changes and a Breakfast Run with the MGCC(SA)

For the eagle eyed amongst us you will note a Midweek Run and a proposed Winery Run this month. I have to admit, I haven’t had a spare moment to organise them (sorry) and that’s pretty much the same for all of the Committee BUT, in their stead, we’ve been invited to join in the next MG Car Club (South Australia) Breakfast Run on Sunday the 28th of May.

Not a lunch surrounded by a vineyard (again … sorry!!), but a nice run up through One Tree Hill and back down to Carisbrooke Park for a BYO brunch picnic and a natter with like minded car enthusiasts and then off home to start the rest of the day!

General details can be found on the MGCC(SA) website (click here for the link) with the specifics for the day found here, including directions and a route map. The overview of the morning is as follows:

Sunday, 28 May, arrive Veale Gardens (South Terrace) for a 0900 departure

This month’s route is up North East Road to Golden Grove Road, thence on to One Tree Hill, prior to looping back onto Black Top Road for the run back into the city and on to Carisbrooke Park (just past the Old Spot).

Pack a thermos of hot coffee or tea and bring some morning tea and meet some like minded car enthusiasts.

Here’s hoping for a dry day – I can handle the cold as the heater in the Midget works but I’d prefer not driving in the rain as the windscreen leaks!

End of an era – and the start of a new one

Words and Photo by Sean Power, borrowed from ClubbiesSA with Sean’s permission

A sad but happy event happened the other day. Paul and Ruth Doube, stalwarts of both the Sprite Club of South Australia and ClubbieSA, asked me to drive their Kestrel Clubbie to the transport company at Wingfield so it could be sent to Perth for their son Michael to use. Paul can no longer drive it so this was the best option. I was proud to do this.

Paul and Ruth were at the first ClubbiesSA lunch meeting start up of the group in 2000 at Skillogalee Winery. Paul drove my Kestrel home that day and wanted one and then built Kestrel 117 and raced and drove it everywhere – about 115,00kms so far. It still goes well. We all had a tear once we signed off the paperwork, just check the photos. End of an era but with the car staying in the family, its the start of a new one … or maybe its just an extension of the same story as I’m sure we will see the Kestrel, with Doube at the wheel again soon!

Peter Hall Memorial Six Hour Wrap Up

(words by Sean Power. Photos from Pat and myself)

Sunday’s 6 Hour event at Mallala was quite a day. The weather Gods did smile on us in some ways – it did not rain and although the morning was freezing, there was bright sun for the main part of the day. It was cold if you did not prepare well, and I was grateful for lots of walking around and winter woollies underneath the jeans.

What a day – 2 composite teams entered for the first time in 10 or 12 years for a team of 5 (Red Heiffer) and 4 (We’re in it for the Beer) cars respectively. Red Heiffer originally had 6 cars but we gave Rob van Wageningen in his Nissan 370Z to a Victorian Sprite Car ClubTeam to help bring them over for the event. This kind act would rebound on us later!

Red Heiffer Driver Gerard Miller had problems from the start of the day with his beautiful old Buick race car. Usually faultless, it play up from the start and ended with a cannibalised battery from Dean King’s car and another devious electrical capacitor to keep it running, but only for short times. Eventual withdrawal in the final moments of the day. The rest of Red Heiffer just kept circulating. Dean’s car would be further cannibalised to keep on of the Victorian Spridgets racing. Hopefully he can piece it all back together again!

Most of the drama was with the “Beer” team. One of Dave Tye’s Lotus was not entered, blown engine from the Historics a few weeks ago. This left a starting pool of 4 cars. Things started well, then late in the day, Pat Mullins in the Tye’s Lotus Cortina, lost 2nd gear and had to retire. The gear is yet to be found! Shortly after, the Clubbie of John Coker lost a fan belt somewhere out on the track and he had to retire. Bugger! Rod Hammond (Puma) and Davin Umlauf, Kestrel Twin Charge), were left to continue and finish off the day. Lots of laps and close calls for this small team but we made it in the end.

I wish to thank the great volunteer group from both Clubbies and Sprite clubs, their partners and their friends and some other people I had press-ganged into helping on the day. It was a huge, long, tiring day but we managed to complete the day safely. On behalf of all the drivers, I thank all those who helped make the day such a success. Our club members really stepped in and ran the teams so well, from the Hill, timing, to managing the pit wall and form-up. With two teams entered, there is a lot of work managing the day. Next year, I will buy more two way radios, as the lack of comms equipment this year really showed.

Now to Rob! The Victorian Sprite team (Team Goblin) he was given to had, with him included, 4 cars in total. Rob had replaced both discs and front brake pads of the 370Z two weeks before yesterday. A warmup up stint and then an extended drive and he was back in the pits having had a total loss of brakes. Examination revealed complete wear of pads but no serious damage to rotors. Car withdrawn.

Today, a call to Rob found that his Victorian Sprite team (Team Goblin) had come third and he had been given a trophy. He was so proud. That hurt. In all the 20 years we have entered, our teams have never won anything, in fact we have always figured down towards the bottom end of each table. Even when we had entered 4 teams many years ago, we got nowhere. We have had fun with most drivers content with having fun and not always sticking to their stated times.

Sprite Club of SA Constitution Update

In my role as the President of the Sprite Club, I announced last night a Special Meeting to discuss and ratify an update to the Club Constitution, to be held following the General Meeting, 3 Jul 23.

A draft of the update has been emailed to all surviving Founding, Life and current Financial Members of the Sprite Club of South Australia. If you have not received an email and believe you should have or are aware of a Founding or Life member who we have not emailed, please contact me in my role as the Webmaster and I’ll endeavour to get the draft out. I’d also ask you to check your ‘spam’ or ‘junk’ email folders.

Bugeye Burble – May 2023

Please find below the Sprite Club Bugeye Burble where you will find the latest club information.

Please note the call for volunteers to support the Clubs two teams entered into the Peter Hall Memorial Six Hour at Mallala on the 7th. Many hands make light work of the day so if you can help out, even just for a few hours, Sean and Pat would be very grateful!

I’ve put in two ‘place holder’ events listed in June. A Midweek Run on the 17th of May, and a Sunday Lunch run on the 28 May. If you have a great idea for these events please contact the Committee and we will see if we can pull one or all of these events off, otherwise we will slide the Midweek run into perhaps Jul.

I will be calling some Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale pubs for the Winter Solstice Run to make a booking this week. If you have ‘must visit pub’ please let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

Finally, please note the ‘Special Meeting’ called on 3 Jul 2023 to discuss and (hopefully) ratify an update to the Club Constitution. The amendments are necessary to bring it in line with the current Conditional Registration requirements and the opportunity is being taken to help the club survive and thrive over the next 10+ years. There will be more information emailed out to all current members later this week; however, in accordance with the Constitution the Committee needs to provide two clear months notice of a Special Meeting. That was provided last night at the monthly General meeting. We need at least 20 members present on the night to vote on any change to Constitution.

Racing Midgets

Don’t forget the Monthly General Meeting tonight at the Fullarton Community Centre! Hope to see you there. To help you while away the time between now and 8pm tonight I found this article in the MG Car Club of SA magazine. I can’t vouch for its accuracy but it made for an interesting read…

A Brief History of a Brief Competition History

The original M-Type Midget helped bring motor racing to the masses and its competition history in the hands of both factory and privateer racers is well documented with tales of daring do from Brooklands to Lands’ End Speed Trials and even Le Mans. Yet try and research the competition history of the later Midget, you largely draw a blank. Type into Google something obvious like ‘BMC Motorsport History MG Midget’ and you get pages of hits about Minis conquering Monte Carlo or Bathurst, and Healeys (big and small), MGAs, MGBs and MGCs at Le Mans, Sebring, Targa Florio and rallies everywhere, yet you almost must hire a private detective, or at least scroll to the 6th or 7th page of Google search results to discover anything about the Midget! You could easily conclude that Works backed ‘Spridget’ racing was the sole domain of the Austin Healey Sprite but dig a little deeper and a rich and colourful competition history of Midget begins to emerge.

In terms of factory backed cars, the likes of the Big Healeys, the Sprite, MGA/B/C and of course the Minis feature heavily in the results sheets of many of the ‘big’ road and rally events across Europe and America. Drivers that were, or about to become, household names often filled their seats, including the likes of Stirling and Pat Moss, Paddy Hopkirk and movie star Steve McQueen. Formula One and Le Mans starts such as Innes Ireland, Pedro Rodriquez, Graham Hill and Bruce McLaren also all raced a Sprite or Midget at different stages of their careers.

Ever mindful of the advertising and publicity that success on Sunday brought, in 1961 the (then) new Midget was thrust into the rally program with three factory backed Midgets competing in 1961 and 62, before being withdrawn from rally events (but not before one was rebadged a Sprite and continued to compete in the hands of Works and privateer drivers for several years as both a Sprite or a Midget). The symbiotic relationship between Sprites and Midgets is something that rears its head again and again in the racing career of the Midget.

As a Works backed rally car, the Midget might not have lasted all that long; however, as a road racing car, the pages of its history were only beginning to be written. Inspired by the outline of the Aston Martin DB4, Dick Jacobs (of Jacobs Racing Team fame) took a racing coupe concept to Albingdon where it came to the attention of Syd Enver and, after some modifications, it became the ‘Jacobs Midget’. The new body was more aerodynamic (a huge advantage when you consider the output of the humble A Series engine) and when completed tipped the scales some 150 kg lighter than the production car. Again, a huge advantage given the powerplant. Three coupes were produced, two of which were raced by Jacobs Racing who found class success in events such as the Nurburgring 500 and 1000 and one to a privateer racer.

Such was the success of the Jacobs team with their two humble Midgets, the cars were returned to the Albingdon where the Works team took over their running (under Dick Jacob’s guidance) for a number of events in 1965 including Sebring and the Targa Florio, with Paddy Hopkirk returning to steer the Midget at that event. All three exist to this day and, like its sibling, the ‘Sebring Sprite’ has spawned a number of replicas.

Two production Midgets then were taken racing in 1965 for the ‘World Championship of Makes’, held in Bridgehampton in the US. Lightened with some aluminium panels and mildly tuned 1293cc engines one went on to place third in class before being used by MG USA in 1966 to promote the launch of the Mk3 Midget and its ‘new’ 1275cc engine. These cars then passed into private hands to race on in events throughout the US for a number of years. One car has disappeared but one survives to this day, the only one of the five ‘works Midgets’ (not counting the Jacobs cars) believed to survive to this day (the other three being the Mk1 Midget rally cars, all of which have been lost to history).

When you talk to a Spridget aficionado about racing, the Sebring and Le Mans Sprites are never far from their lips. And nor they should be. Donald Healey’s team won or placed in their category at Sebring on a number of occasions and the Le Mans Sprite was ultimately developed into a car capable of 150mph on the Mulsane Straight for hour after gruelling hour (albeit using a highly modified MGB gearbox!). A far cry from the humble showroom car! Healey, always mindful that sales were always a must to justify the racing program, particularly in the US, a far more standard Midget would be entered in the Production categories at Sebring, although with no lesser drivers than those steering the Sprites (Graham Hill for example). The irony (ignominy perhaps?) was that these MG Midgets were all, in fact, re-badged Sprites and after the events were returned to being a Sprite and subsequently sold on! The Midget does get almost the last laugh though … the final of the Healey built ‘Works Sprites’, was completed in 1969 for the Targa Florio just as BMC withdrew its backing from Healey Racing. Sold off to a privateer it was raced extensively in the US, including Sebring, often recorded in the record books as …. a Midget!  

No article about racing Midgets would be complete without a doff of the hat towards John Spritzel, the BMC tuning wizard and his entry into the somewhat controversial 1968 London to Sydney Marathon (won by Andrew Cowan in a Hillman Hunter). Not only did he help organise the event, but he entered it in an MG Midget and was holding well into the Top 10 cars until the Australian outback beat the Midget’s suspension, ending his race!

As the basis of many a race car in marque sports car events, Midgets continue to grace tracks across the country. Easy to work on and still relatively cheap, add the mandatory safety equipment even to a standard car and you have bags of competition fun and they are simple enough that any mug spanner turner can easily find 25-50% more power and handling with little effort or outlay before you really get silly!

Peter Hall Memorial 6 Hour – Can You Help?

Sue Stephenson, our great MSCA 6 Hour event organiser & Sprite Club member, has an urgent appeal for help.

One of the two Vic Sprite teams has a member who has had to pull out and they are reduced to only three cars.


Is someone willing to effectively pull on the Big V, become an honorary Victorian for six hours and help get two Vic Sprite teams across the border and to the start line?

Sue has asked Sean’s Red Heiffers, as they have six cars entered, if one of them can switch sides for the day, and they will, but Sean has offered the spot to another Sprite Club member if they might like to go racing for the day. You just have to become a Victorian (for a few hours) … and that’s ok as its for a good cause!

And no, if they are well placed you can’t speed up or slow down to put them off the podium!

If you have your license (don’t quote me, but I think ‘all’ you need is a Speed Licence … Sue will quickly correct this I’m sure!!) and your car needs to be appropriately equipped for the day, then please contact Sue Stephenson ( as soon as possible. If you’d prefer to talk to her in person and you don’t have her number, contact me (Robin) or another club member and we will pass you the number.

First in, best dressed.

Austin Healeys at the Sporting Car Club

Hot on the heels of our own Stars and their Cars evening, the Sporting Car Club of South Australia invited us and the Austin Healey Owners Club to their Classic & Modern section evening to celebrate all things Austin Healey night, where Don’s stunning Sprite was one of the feature attractions!

Three amazing cars featured on stage, a genuine 100S with an incredibly well documented history and pedigree, a beautiful 3000 MkIII (BJ8) and, of course, Don’s 1960 MkI Sprite.

If I a dollar for each time I heard ‘I had one of these’ from people pouring over the Sprite! I genuinely think people were stunned at the lengths Don had to go to to restore the Sprite. The effort required to just restore the bonnet I think left many amazed, a story made even more interesting as he’d sourced the bonnet from another ex Sprite owner and Sporting Car Club member (Doug Gordon) who was present on the night …. I don’t think even he realised how much work had to go into just the bonnet!

For those who don’t know, to straighten the Sprite’s bonnet it was completely unstitched (unwelded), each panel was individually straightened and re-shaped, before it was all rewelded, lead wiped and repainted in Carnation Red as we all know it today!

A big thank you must go to Sprite Club member (and outgoing SCCSA Classic & Modern section president) Gary Dodd who’s brainchild it was to bring together the Sporting Car Club, the AHOC and the Sprite Club. A great night with some fabulous stories about the history of some amazing cars!

Thank you to also to Gordon for the photos from the event!

Rain? What Rain??

Oh, that rain……

If there was a direct route from Balhannah to Hindmarsh Island, that was most definitely the route not travelled today. Rather, today we first headed east then south west along some of the some of lovely driving roads that wind their ways through the Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsular regions until we reached the mystery lunch destination of the Island Café on Hindmarsh Island.

Only the weather tried to throw a spanner in the works with intermittent rain up until the morning tea stop at the Callington Oval. Perhaps it was the rain that kept the final numbers down but we still had eight cars out for some exercise. My excuse for not driving the Little Blue Car is that it can’t get out of its garage due to a rather large (and growing) mount of soil in front of the garage doors and not the rain, but the intermittent showers still didn’t stop several of the Spridgets going sans roof, with Judy and Russell keeping the faith in their Midget, as did the Schubert’s in their Bugeye!

A great run it was, along some great winding backroads, a lovely lunch and, with the sun quite finally ensconced in the sky by lunch, a fabulous vista … from inside the restaurant!

Can’t wait until Russell and Judy dream up their next run!

Thank you Judy for the photos!

Nancy the Morris Minor

I saw this post on Facebook last night and thought it worthy of reposting here for those who don’t have Facebook. Her name is Steph, she lives in the UK and she has a Facebook page called @idriveaclassic which for those with social media is well worth a read.

I think her post encapsulates what Classic Car ownership is all about. It doesn’t have to be the biggest, the fastest or rarest to win your heart. Nor does a perceived lack of technical skill need to stop you from participating. They have a way of teaching you how to care for them.

I read all to often negative comments towards people who have recently bought a classic car and ask what some might consider ‘basic’ question and are then questioned if they really should own a classic car. It only takes one or two comments like that to turn a new owner away from the movement when all they need is some guidance as to where to find information and some advice on some simple techniques.


Today I picked up my Morris Minor, Nancy. My favourite car, the reason I love classics and the car I will *never* sell.

When I was 25 I purchased this car for £500 with my first two weeks wages after uni burning a hole in my pocket 😂

The car hadn’t been on the road since the very early 1990s and it was 2012. Quite frankly, it was a bloody reckless thing to do for somebody with zero mechanical knowledge.

She passed MOT first time with zero work and I just started driving her. She was more than a bit scruffy with drainpipe bumpers and painted in boat paint and I regularly got laughed at. However, she never let me down (well, once in France, which I still get teased about) and I loved her so much.

I said right from the get go she’d get restored and nobody believed me because I had zero mechanical knowledge and no decent capital behind me. I mean if I’m honest, I didn’t know how I’d do it but I’d got quite far on blind ignorance so far, so just thought I’d crack on.

Anyway, took her off the road in 2015 and today, after extensive work by a talented restorer, she comes home.

I’ve got a video coming but first I need to get her MOT’d! It’s booked for Tuesday 🍀

If you’re interested in seeing her, she’ll be on display at the Practical Classics Resto Show in Hall 5 this coming weekend and if you can’t make it, don’t miss the upcoming video!

Ps. Some advice: If you’re balls deep in a resto with no forward plan, if your project car is on hold due to finances or if you’re just winging it in a scruffy car until you can afford the respray, it’s all good. You WILL get there.

Pps. I bought E5, I know somebody will ask this 😂

Twilight Sports Car Cruise

A beautiful autumnal evening was laid on for the first of the Sprite Club ‘Sports Car Cruises’ for 2023. A slightly smaller gathering than recent events, but a great bunch of classis cars and their owners non the less wended their way up Old Belair Road, round past the Belair National Park and then across the hills via Upper Sturt Road and then up and over Mount Lofty before a sunset run down Greenhill Road back into Adelaide.

With road lit up by the magic of Lucas lighting and the procession greeted with colours of a spectacular sunset over the Gulf, a more picture perfect backdrop could not have been asked.

Our motley crew of Sprites, Midgets, MGTC, MGBs, MGFs and other classics, including Don’s achingly beautiful Alfa Spider (a car that appears on everyone’s list of the 10 most beautiful cars), Zane’s now award winning Datsun 260Z and Frank’s amazingly original HQ Kingswood (that brought back many a memory of long trips and bench seats), we seemed to attract the attention of many a walker as we rolled through the foothills! Even Chris put in an appearance with his delightful VW Beetle which did its best to test his mechanical ability on the run! The hills were certainly alive to the sound of music, or at least the burble of a couple of Bugeyes and friends!

And only on a Sprite Car run would you find a TC needing to stop so its driver could switch over his oxygen bottles! Paul’s health may not be what it was, but his mind and ability as sharp as ever so it was lovely to have him and Ruth along with their MGTC for the run. So much so we broke a ‘club rule’ and awarded him the prize for the Best Patina for the second run in a row! Now they have matching coffee mugs so they don’t have to fight over who gets to use the trophy for their morning brew!! The TC is always so well turned out and the effort they go to to enjoy a run is worthy of more than just a coffee mug as a prize!

If you are reading this from another club and wondering if you are welcome to join us for a run, or indeed any of our events, then the answer is yes! We welcome members from other clubs with other classic cars! If you are a past member, don’t be shy and just join in too! We regularly have members from other car clubs from across Adelaide and indeed the State.

Upcoming events

Members (and friends), don’t forget the next two upcoming social events:

29 March – Russell and Judy’s Mid Week Meander “A Southern Sojourn“.  Meet at the Balhannah Oval Tennis Club Carpark at 0930 for a briefing before we get under way at 1000 and saunter off in a generally southerly direction. If you’d like to join us for lunch you NEED to talk contact Russell or Judy (or me) as numbers at the lunch venue are limited; however, if you are not inclined or can’t stay for lunch, come along (just ensure you’ve got petrol for about 160km in the tank!!)

3 AprilStars and their Cars. The next monthly meeting is at the Sporting Car Club where we will celebrate the classic car journeys of four of our members and take a closer look at some of their cars! Other clubs are most welcome to join us. Its free for Sprite Club members and only $5 per head for non members.

For those fans of motor racing, the next couple of weeks are action packed also, with the Adelaide Motorsport Festival this coming weekend and the hill climb season officially kicking off on the weekend of 1/2 April at Collingrove.

Basically, there is something for everyone over the next couple of weeks!!

Happy Spridgetting!

Photo Credits to Kathie Leane and Margy Donaldson

Collingrove Hillclimb 2023

Did someone say ‘hill climb’?

For all those of the hill climbing persuasion or just those curious to understand the attraction of racing up a steep and twisty track, circle the weekend of 1/2 April!

Why I hear you ask?

Well, because the Sporting Car Club is hosting its first of two ‘Come and Try’ days at the Collingrove Hill Climb track on Saturday the 1st of April (and that’s not April Fools day joke) and then the first full competition event on Sunday the 2nd with Round 1 of the Collingrove Challenge Trophy.

Paddy Hopkirk going uphill very quickly in a Midget
Targa Florio 1965

I’ll admit it, I am ‘hill climb curious’ but I also have a very good understanding of my driving ability, (or lack there of) and a morbid fear of failure, but I may venture out there, even just to watch and ponder what if??!

National Challenge Meet Flashback

If you are getting my emails (some aren’t!!) you might have seen the Sprite Clubs are garnering interest around bringing back the National Challenge for 2024. If you are like me and new to the world of National Challenges or just reminiscing about events past, Gordon sent the following Flashback from 2001!

What is a National Challenge?

The National Challenge started as an interstate motorkhana between the NSW, ACT (this club closed soon after) and Victorian Sprite Clubs. This was at Wagga Wagga in April 1970. The venue was moved between Sydney and Wagga Wagga over the next few years, and in 1973 it was held during August. Some of the SA Sprite Club members ventured over for a look.

In 1974 the venue moved to Hay, as it was more central for the SA members. SA won the event outright, thanks to the driving skills of Founder Member, Joe Walker!! During 1975 Queensland had some representation and SA had 36 members present. 1976 was the final motorkhana at Hay, with discussion held towards making the weekend a “National Challenge”.

1977 saw Hume Weir race track the venue for the Sprint event, with standing and flying laps, a motorkhana on the banks of the Murray River, Ladies Teams and a winery visit on the way home. This event was held on the ANZAC Day long weekend with over 70 competitors from NSW, SA
and VIC. It also marked the first wheel turn, on what is now Don Taylor’s “Super Sprite”, which took fastest time of the day in the sprints, beating John Moore (VIC) in his 327 Chevy powered panel van.

For 1978 the event moved to the longer Easter Weekend, but doubts over the Hume Weir circuit caused the event to move to Winton (VIC) for 1979. This proved popular with the inclusion of driver training, private practice and concours d’elegance, for 170 participated with 90 competing, with 9 from Queensland.

1980 was also held at Winton, and then in 1981 it moved to Oran Park near Sydney. By now the format of Good Friday – Private Practice and Driver Training at the circuit, Easter Saturday – Sprints (later becoming Super Sprints), Sunday – Concours (am) and Motorkhana (pm). During the evenings there would be many Social Activities including dinners, dances, trivia quiz’s, Sprite Olympics, theatre sports, spark plug changing competitions and the famous “Fluffy Bunnies” (see how many marshmallows you can stuff in your mouth and still say “Fluffy Bunny”).

Over the next 10 years the National Challenge moved between VIC and NSW using many race circuits. 1982 was back at Winton, 1983 Catalina Park (NSW), 1984 Winton, 1985 Oran Park, 1986 Winton, 1987 Oran Park, 1988 Winton, 1989 Oran Park, with 1990 being a highlight at Phillip Island (VIC). This was one fantastic, but quick racetrack.

Cost of running the event and having a central venue for most Clubs led to Winton hosting the National Challenge for 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994. Members wanted a change of venue, so it moved to the newly opened club track at Wakefield Park near Goulburn (NSW) for 1995. The
Sprites returned to Winton for 1996, and headed north to Wakefield Park for 1997, 1998 and 1999.

The 30th National Challenge was held at Winton during 2000, with a revised format (due to track bookings) of Friday practice and sprints at Winton, Saturday motorkhana at the Driver Education Centre at Shepparton and a concours and navigation run on Sunday.

Two things were included over the past 10 years, a regularity event on the Friday for those Sprite drivers who cherished their cars more than abused them and more social events, including a theme party on Saturday Night (so you did not compete or drive home with a sore head!!), social drives to surrounding points of interest (wineries!!!), so members could make the Challenge a holiday as well.

As you will notice SA has yet to host a Challenge (although interstate members have been asking for over 20 years to have one here!!) The committee has been busy over the past 18 months fundraising, investigating accommodation and motorkhana venues and planning this event.

I think you will agree it has been well worth the wait.

A Sprite Odyssey National Meeting, Gordon B, 2001

Upcoming Events

Upcoming events to keep in your diaries!

12 MarchMSCA SuperSprint (Round 1, including the MSCA Come and Try Day)

18 March Sports Car Cruise. Departing Claremont Avenue (Netherby) at 1845 for a 50km evening run through the hills and back into Adelaide – all invited so bring a friend from another club along with her/his classic!

29 MarchMidweek Meander #1. Meet at the Balhannah Oval Tennis Club Carpark at 0930 for a briefing before we get under way at 1000 and saunter off in a generally southerly direction on one of Russell and Judy’s magical mystery tours! Hopefully it doesn’t rain!! You’ll need petrol for at least 160km of driving!!!

1/2 April – Collingrove Hill Climb Come & Try (Sat) then Round 1 of the Collingrove Challenge Trophy (Sun)

3 AprilSTARS & THEIR CARS at the Sporting Car Club – not to be missed and it already comes with a twist … every good plan needs a back up right? Come along and find out what I’m talking about!!!

14 April – Sporting Car Club Healey Night. Come and listen to Don discuss his car along with some other equally delicious Big Healeys. Our quota is nearly full so if you want to come along contact Robin or Peter ASAP

23 April – McLaren Vale Vintage and Classic. The Sprite Car Club is being hosted for the lunch at Bec Hardy Wines this year, along with our friends at the Sporting Car Club of South Australia, so I’m sure our Spridgets will be in good company this year!! Entry details here

7 May – Peter Hall Memorial 6 Hour Regularity Relay

7 May – British Classics Tour (McLaren Vale to Victor Habour). Entry details here

Sunshine and Rain

I don’t think the last two Sprite Club of SA outings could have been more different. A warm barmy night, perfect for ice-cream and a summer evening cruise, followed by the overcast, wind and rains of All British Day!

Ice Cream Run

A perfect night for sampling the offerings from one of the newest ice creameries in town greeted the club. After a short interlude to reflect on the passing of Don and the passing out of Michael’s near cryptic clues for the route, it was ‘wagons ho’ for a scenic tour of the inner southern suburbs and the mandatory evening run through the city (although it was foiled by the road closures for the Fringe Festival).

One of us got a bit confused and had a bit of a detour on the way to the event but despite this, we had approximately 15 cars of all descriptions, including Gordon and his daughter Tiana who took the majority of the images of the run (thank you Tiana!).

With traffic lights and the road closures we were bound to have the group split up along the way yet we all managed to arrive safe and sound back in Unley to sample the offerings of 48 Flavours (some sooner than others – some people will do anything to be first in line for ice cream!).

I figure I’m one flavour down and only 47 left to sample now…! Just don’t tell Margy!

A huge thank you to all who organised the run with a special mention to Michael McLaren for pulling this together.

All British Day

The weather could not have been more different to the Ice Cream Run. Chance of light rains said the BoM. Phooey. Starting with a heavy-ish sprinkle of rain at 0800 as the cars came out of their sheds (and at least one un-named member considering pushing it back into the shed right then and there … two hours of washing and polishing the car too mind you!), the sun briefly came out in Echunga and, for an even briefer moment, it started to feel quite warm, until it didn’t. At times it bucketed down, followed by all to brief interludes of sunshine and then the wind would pick up as the next front moved through with yet another burst of rain.

Unlike Chris who said ‘rain, what rain?’ as he drove home in his Bugeye sans roof, most of us put up the top and tested out the weather sealing on the way home. For those interested, it rained just as heavily inside my Midget as it did outside so I’m not sure why I bothered to put the roof up at all!

With a few late withdraws, the Sprite Club had 14 cars on display in the club area and at least one member displaying his Sprite with another club as well as a few other Sprites and Midgets scattered through out, including Steve Kent’s mum and dad with their Sprite. Dean’s race car attracted a wealth of attention throughout the day (and decided it needed a jump start in the pouring rain), as did Clive’s Bugeye which is also currently for sale.

We also had a visit from a new member, Kelly Bannon (from Greenock) who came down with her partner Mark to finalise the paperwork for her BRG MkIII Sprite. From the lengthy discussions he was having with Dean and Chris, Kelly’s lovely Sprite might be on an upgrade path very soon if she doesn’t keep an eye on it! It was also fabulous to see Adrian and his partner up from Whyalla and Rick Williams and his son Sam out with Don’s car which now in their care.

Despite the forecast, a mouth watering display of cars congregated in Echunga, from the ubiquitous Morris Minor and the humble Austin A30, through Rileys, Jensens, Triumphs, Land Rovers and Aston Martins, not to mention more Jaguars that you could count! Nearly every British marque was on display, including an equally delectable range of motor bikes.

All in all a great day despite the rain, with lots of interest around our cars and we may end up with two more members which is never a bad thing!

The Sprite Club was well represented in the logistics of the day, with Chris, Michael, Gordon and Don all helping with the traffic control on the day and Darryl for bringing up all of the display gear. Thank you all for your efforts. For a small club we certainly hold our own on days like this.

Also, thank you to Gordon, Tiana and Gary Dodd for their photos! I’m always happy to receive photographic contributions!

Sprite Club Sports Car Cruise #1

Yes, its back on and this time with a twist (and not like you did last summer either)!

The launch pad for the first Sports Car Cruise of 2023 is a little different, starting off in Netherby, alongside the Waite Arboretum (northern side of the road).

Date: Saturday, 18th of March

When: 1815 for an 1845 departure

Location: Claremont Avenue (click the link for a map of where to head and look for Pat’s ute on arrival!)

Pat has planned a route just short of 50km and a scenic early autumn run, taking in Belair, Mount Lofty and back down Greenhill Road, before finishing in the K Mart carpark for a short presentation.

Expected run time of about an hour and there will be a stop/re-group and photo opportunity at the start of Mount Lofty Road. Departure has been timed so the run down Greenhill Road should be just after sunset to avoid the sun glare.

Route maps will be provided prior to departure and Pat recommends bringing a navigator!

Invite a friend with a Sports Car or Classic Car and lets make a night of it! If you classic isn’t on the road, bring your daily and just join in with the evening!

Everyone is reminded that they are responsible for their car’s roadworthiness – a timely reminder as some may be heading home in the fading light or the dark so be kind to your Lucas electrics!

Upcoming Runs and Events!

Just a short reminder of upcoming Sprite Club events and club runs.

This Saturday (18 Feb) – Sprite Club Ice Cream Run.

Who doesn’t like ice cream!

Depart Fullarton Community Centre at 1800 sharp!

5 March – All British Day.

We won’t be doing an official club run to the display but feel free to organise small groups and arrive in style. For those just visiting, we are on Oval 1 towards the centre, near the Shannon’s Tent, the Jensen. Morris Register and Austin 7 Clubs. Fingers crossed for great weather!

18th March – Sports Car Cruise. Details to be promulgated!

29th March – Mid Week Meander #1.

Yes, Russell and Judy are back and they will be messing with our minds and sense of direction as they take us on another mystery mid week run!

All I can say (in fact, all I know) is we will be meeting at Balhannah Oval Tennis Club Carpark at 0930 for a briefing before we get under way at 1000 and saunter off in a generally southerly direction. As always, its a BYO morning tea in a lovely locale, followed by a lunch at a location that is every bit equal to the SA Company Store.

What else do I know about the run … not much, other than, as always it will twice the distance out as it is back, all the roads are sealed (he promises!!) and we won’t be going over seas. If you can figure it out from there, you are doing better than me!

RSVPs are a must as there is limited capacity for lunch. Is that a hint?? Not sure!

3rd April – Stars and Their Cars

14th April – Sporting Car Club Healey Night. RSVP essential due limited numbers and $5 per head (payment to the Sprite Club please).

I Scream for Ice Cream!


When – Saturday 18th of Feb

Starting Point – Fullarton Park Community Centre (ie, the Club Rooms)

Time – Any time you like but we hit the road at 1800 (6pm)

What – Michaels Magical Mystery Tour around parts of Adelaide for about an hour before we descend on one of Adelaide’s newer ice creameries!

So tighten up your wheel nuts and work up an appetite by polishing the car! No dessert for a week so you can indulge on Saturday Night!

And remember …. “Its a food, not a fad”

A Spritely Start to the Year

With the year kicking off on the 1st Jan with a breaky run to Uraidla, the social runs have continued on apace with the annual Thong Throwing contest on Australia Day and this morning, another breakfast run out to Uraidla, this time from Blackwood (to say hello to our ClubbieSA friends but alas, no Clubbies … except the chap heading down Goodies Road whist we were on the way up!).

Annual Throwing on the Thong

20+ members and family gathered in the Chabrel’s front garden overlooking the picturesque Oakbank Racecourse for the annual contest against the aerodynamic vagaries of the humble Australian thong (that’s a flip-flop to any non-Australian readers). Getting into the spirit 6 club members came along in their Spridgets although it was noted by many that the newly anointed President drove up in an Alfa and he was late (he promptly blamed his beautiful partner but she would have none of that!)

After the first round it was clear people had been out in the backyard practicing, with two contestants immediately putting their thongs in the hallowed bucket, however, after repeated rounds to split the contestants to find a winner, all contestants once again tested the sneaky wind conditions (5-10 knots, blowing off the racecourse for those keen statisticians) with a variety of styles on display to lob the ceremonial thong, resplendent in the Australian Flag, into the prize winning bucket. After this second round 4 clear experts emerged, with several lobbing both thongs in for good measure, with Miles eventually putting on a masterful display with a double header to take the converted John and Judy Bowering Memorial Trophy for the year. For Miles this was especially humbling as he revealed in his acceptance speech that on his first Sprite Club outing he had a mechanical issue and John Bowering came to his aide and he was off and running again.

Thanks must be given to Des and Penny again for a lovely afternoon and amazing dessert. Penny took great delight in showing off the photos of her airborne adventure and I will be forever jealous!

First Sunday Breakfast Run

This month the breakfast run was from the Perfect Note in Blackwood, a short blast through the hills and onto Uraidla again for breakfast. Why Urailda – well, if you’ve had one of their breakfasts or coffee you’ll know why!

What a great morning for a blast through the hills with no less than eight Spridgets along for the run as well as beautifully original HQ Kingswood and Datsun 1600 to round out the run. Even Jez was there and we have a photo to prove it!

Sadly, the Clubbies were not to be seen; however, we took a photo at the Perfect Note to prove we really were there!

Next Month’s 1st Sunday run coincides with All British Day. It has been suggested it might be a great idea to meet and drive out there enmasse – any takers to organise??

1st Sunday Breakfast Run to Uraidla Bakery

For the early risers, there is an informal run planned this Sunday morning (5th Feb) across to the Uraidla Bakery.

Meet at the Perfect Note Cafe (168/170 Main Road, Blackwood), grab a coffee and say hello to the guys and girls of ClubbiesSA, before heading off around 0830 across to Uraidla, via Upper Sturt Road, Stirling and Carey Gully to Uraidla, arriving at approx 0900.

Stay and have coffee and a fabulous breakfast or just grab a great coffee and head off to start you Sunday. I’ll probably doing later as we have a market stall to run (if you need dog couture, you know who to ask!).

Bring your Spridget or another car and enjoy a short run through the hills. Hope to see you there!

Australia Day Picnic and Thong Throwing Competition

Its Summer, its hot, the flies are thick and there’s that constant faint hit of sausages cooking on a BBQ where ever you do. It can mean only one thing …. its the annual Australia Day Picnic and Thong Throwing Competition.

Where? Its back at its rightful home at the Chabrel’s, 2 Dorset Lane, Oakbank

When? Thursday, 26th of Jan, from 1200 onwards

What do I bring? Chairs, a picnic lunch and drink. The Penny and Des will provide dessert!

As always, the highly coveted John and Judy Bowering Memorial Trophy is up for grabs. Can Fay take it two years in a row? Will Jez wake up in time to sneak in and steal it out from under everyone with a masterful lob? Maybe the youthful eye and skill of Chris will steal it away (so long as he doesn’t sell it!). You wont know if you don’t come along!

What is the John and Judy Bowering Memorial Trophy and why is it so important? If you don’t know, shame on you! It is more hotly contested than the Ashes and more history than the America’s Cup. Have you ever wondered where Ben Lexan got the idea for the winged keel from? There’s no mistaking the similarity between the keel and the thong strap, which gives the Aussie Thong such unique aerodynamic qualities. I’m told John Bertrand, on hearing about our thong throwing activities tried to come over from Perth to head hunt club members for the crew of Australia II but, not being a member, was turned away unceremoniously at the door. Even the Spin King, the late great Shane Warne tried to come along to get some new wrist flick ideas of a killer curve ball, such is the skill required to win.

Hope to see you all there. As always, if you are feeling off for any reason, please consider staying home as there is yet another wave of blasted CVOID and a good dose of mid-summer flu doing the rounds.

Please RSVP to me or Peter and we will let Des and Penny know how many to expect! , or 0431 247 746,,

2022 in the Rear View Mirror

Ever wondered what happened in 2022? There’s already been a very comprehensive wrap up of the year by Gordon, posted only a few weeks ago so I won’t recap the recap! Instead, knowing how much people love numbers and statistics (secretly we all do), I thought a look at the year by numbers might pique some interest!

So, may I present, as best I can guess it, 2022…!


Always a good place to start. We are a car club, right? And we identify our cars by numbers – Mk1, Mk2. Mk3, 948, 1098, 1275, 1310, 1380 and so on and so forth! Here are some numbers you might be interested in!

82 – Historic Log Books on the books for the club in 2022 including:

37 – Sprites

14 – Midgets (come on Midget owners! We can do better!!)

Total Spridgets in the club for 2022? Somewhere between ‘not sure’ and ‘I don’t quite know’! I do know its more than 51 cars listed above! There are cars on normal registration, some are laid up being rebuilt, some are tucked away almost forgotten in the back of sheds and others are for racing.

More fascinating car numbers….

31 – the number of associate cars, including…

3 Minis plus a Moke

1 Mini Gem

4 Clubbies (and 4 different brands!)


1 MG Magnette

7 MG T series (yes, seven, so I’m told!)

3 Jags

1 Triumph

I’m sure the keen eyed amongst you will have added up the numbers and noticed numbers don’t quite balance! Clearly there needs to be a bit of an audit!

33 – Sprites and Midgets at the annual Display Day

Oh, and 24 – the number of cars sold by the club’s own Arthur Daily, otherwise known as the entrepreneurial Chris M this year (and 20 is the number of cars he still has – would you buy a used car from this man?)


Like any club, we live and die on money in and money out and there is no bigger source of our yearly revenues than our memberships. We had a pretty good year and nearly cracked 100 memberships for the year. A fantastic result! So consider the following numbers…..

50 – for $50. That’s…

$50 annual membership, and

$50 for the once off joining fee.

We have to have one of the best value membership schemes in the State don’t we?

96 – memberships. Lets crack the 100 for 2023!

13 – life members

151 – members and their partners. Did I mention the amazing value for SCSA membership?

Looking forward into 2023:

53 – members currently financial for 2023 (get your subs in – remember, if you are on historic registration and you are not financial, you are unregistered in the eyes of PC Plod!!)

Oh, and if you have a new log book for 2023, don’t do what I almost did, and record your first run in the old book!


As we all came to grips with COVId and the nation started up again, we also did our upmost to get back into the swing of social events. 2023 will hopefully build on what we did this last year and hopefully we will see more people out and about enjoying their cars, but I think we did pretty well all things considered when you consider the following:

25 – attendees at the 2022 Australia Day BBQ and Thong Throwing contest. That’s 25 on the 26th (don’t you love number sequences, I do!). Lets aim for at least 27 at this years event – more on that soon!

30+ – at the Pie and Peas night. Sadly I can’t report on the number of pies or peas consumed on the night but from my own experiences at Pie Carts around Australia I can only guess it was quite a few!

40 – members who attended Stars and their Cars

45 – members at the Spritely Adventure wine and cheese night

50 – The years the Sprite Club celebrated

(50 is also about the number of times Jez or Chris M slept in and missed a run!)

75 – at the 50th Anniversary dinner at the pub

80+ – cars attending the Sports Car Cruises

750-1000 – kilometres Russell and Judy (and co.) have meandered to and from the secret locations!


0.2% – the overall winning margin in the Ray Pank Hill Climb series between 1st and Peter Stanley (in 3rd  place – could it get any closer??!)

2 – the number of teams competing at the Peter Hall 6 Hour regularity event (can we field 3 in 2023?)

3 – members regularly contesting the Hill Climb events

10 – SCSA members active in the Super Sprint series (in 6 different makes of car!)

599 – laps completed of Mallala and The Bend by the afore mentioned 10 members racing!

So, there you go. The year in review by the numbers. I’m sure I’ve missed many vital statistics and gotten some horribly wrong, so feel free set me straight throughout the year!

Hope you all had a Happy and Safe Year and I look forward to catching up with you all throughout the year!

(Oh – and 1 – the number of hang overs I’m sure several have probably had for 2023 already (not me!!)!)

New Year’s Breakfast Run to Uraidla Bakery

For those who are not recovering from NYE celebrations, there is a very informal run up to the Uraidla Republic Cafe and Bakery for those keen.

Meet at the Sporting Car Club at 0745 for a photo and a 0800 head off.

The route is up the freeway, via Eagle on the Hill and then across from Crafers to Uraidla, arriving at around 0830 for a coffee, breakfast if you are hungry, and a natter.

Meet outside of the Sporting Car Club, join in anywhere along the drive or just turn up at the bakery around 0830.

I’ve booked a table (under Robin) but they said they didn’t expect to be busy that early! I’ve booked the table for 8 as I don’t expect too many to be up and about but I think we will be ok if a flash mob of Spridgets turns up!

Its going to be a warm start to 2023 (37C currently forecast) so off home by 0930(ish) to all be back before the heat of the day really kicks in.

(The run has been organised by the South Australian Sprite and Midget Owners Facebook group. Its a non-club based group for enthusiasts and owners of Spridgets and similar vehicle. If you have a FB account and are not a member, drop us a line and join. Its for SA owners (or regular interstate visitors) only and we have group members from a range of clubs , mostly Sprite Club, but also the MGCC(SA) and a few other non-Sprite related clubs. Even one from the Rolls Royce club!)

A Right Spritely Christmas

Humble apologies to Dr Seuss and Clement Clarke Moore (and the faintest of Christmas nods to Monty Python….)


’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the garage with care, in hopes that St Colin of Sprite Parts goodies might land there;

The Spridgets were nestled all snug on their sheds, while visions of demijohns of HPR30 danced in their heads.

And mamma in her nighty, and I in my cap, had just settled our brains for a mid-summers nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter!

Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters to the sight of a hell of a crash!

When, what to my weary eyes did appear, but a bloody great sleigh, and eight, slightly winded, flying reindeer.

And a bloke in a suit, covered in mud really quite thick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

Oh bugger, he muttered, the sleigh was bent right, out of shape and dented, with only tonight.

To deliver the presents to kids and dreaming car owners, now the night was all ruined, for a white Roo he had run over.

That doesn’t look good muttered I, then passed him a cold beer, his reindeer became startled and did up and disappear.

And the White Roo now joining the choir invisible, the remaining White Boomers to up and long bolted, their concern unequivocal,

Leaving little kids dreams fading , yet oh but so near.

A bent sleigh in the night, the steering all shot. The right ski was all bent, the left reigns in a knot.

“What the bloody hell now shall I do?” he said between swigs, tears running down his fat cheeks, as he thought of the kids.

Looks of disappointment of presents not there and losing their faith, in the jolly man with white hair

So I passed him my phone with “I know a bloke you might call. The Marquis d’ Restauration and there’s no job that’s too tall.”

“Really? Right now?”, the jolly gent spluttered, “but it’s so awfully late?”

“Can’t hurt” I replied, “those kids, they won’t wait!”

“Are you sure”, he replied, “do you think he might look?”

“Oh”, I said thoughtfully, “the sleigh might fit right in his book.”

So he dials the number and a bleary voice says “Tonight? Sorry, no way. Bring it round next week and we can try for March, or maybe for May.”

“There’s a list you know, of car owners’ naughty and nice. Don’t you have mechanic elves up North on the ice?”

Said Santa with a growl, lost deep in his funk, “They’re on their union stand down, now very likely quite drunk!”

“But hang on a jif”, the voice says with a hoot, “Lets call brother Pat and borrow his old Ute. With its cavernous boot, you can load up the sacks, then haul all the loot.”

“Yes”, I jump in, “but you’ll still need some help. That Falcon alone won’t manage the hand that’s been dealt.

With eight roaring Spridgets, you’ll never be late!” Call Gordon and Chris” I cry, “they’ve got several to offer, and if you plumb don’t ask, you never know what they can proffer”

“Then try Michael and Gary, Steve, Darrel, Garth or Nathan, but don’t bother Dean, he will tending his vines, dreaming of vintage and serving Shiraz to the nation”

“Russell and Judy will be out meandering along, and, oh, Chris M’s cars won’t be running, so you might want to call Don”

“Yes, I think these are you best bet, just don’t rely on Jez, he’ll most likely forget!”

More rapid than eagles his saviours all then came, and with a smile on his face, he whistled and called them by name:

“Now, Skinner! now, Union! Now, Dellorto and Weber!

On, Austin! on, Healey! on, Bug-eye and Midget!

To the top of the porch. To the top of the wall! Now race away! Race away! Race away all!

As valve rockers dance before the wild push rods that did fly, and with those A Series on cam, hill climb to the sky;

Up to the corkscrew, atop the Hills, they rapidly flew, with the cars full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

“Oh My”, muttered Santa, “this is now quite a Spritely Adventure!”

And then, in a twinkling, I heard back up on the roof

“Oh bugger and damnation, blasted Lucas electrics went poof.”

As I drew in my head, and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nic came back with a bound. Dressed in fur overalls, all stained head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with gearbox oil and Lucas smoke soot;

A bundle of toys he now flung off his back, he looked like beaten and downhearted, like a tramp with only his pack.

“That’s it, I’m buggered”, he moaned, “the Prince of Darkness has got me”

His eyes were down cast, “Just carrots and milk, dear God, where’s the damn Sherry??”

His droll little mouth, now drawn down like a bow, And his beard mixed with grease, no longer whiter than snow. A stumpy screwdriver he held tight in his teeth, and puff on a Cuban and smoke rings like a wreath;

He had such a broad face and a massive round belly, that shook when he sobbed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right grumpy old elf, thank goodness for the Ute, for slipping into a Spridget, he was really not svelte!

Then with a glint in his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know the kids of the world had but nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but consulted his phone, and called Sir Sean of the Clubbies, to more reliably light his way on, to continue his work and then fly all the way home.

Then he filled all the stockings, and if he didn’t give a faint little twerk,

And laying his finger on his rather large nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He lept into the Ute, with Sprites all on song, away they all flew, that burble heard long.

But I did heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all Spridgets a good night!”

Membership Reminder!!

Just a reminder that if you have not renewed your club membership and you have your car on Club Rego, and if your log book has not been signed off as you being financial, then you are not registered as of New Years Day! Contact one of us and renew now!!

And, if you are like me and its a new year and a new log book – don’t forget to sign your first drive for 2023 in the NEW book, not the old one!!

Don’t let 2023 be spoiled with a fine!

2022 Clubbie Nationals

With the ClubbiesSA members being such an integral part of the Sprite Club, I felt this report, unceremoniously lifted from the ClubbiesSA facebook pages (with Sean’s consent of course!) would be of interest to whole club.


Clubbie Nationals

(all words and images credit to Sean Power)

We’re all home (mostly) from the Nationals.

What a great trip 25 cars and 36 entrants completed to the 2022 Clubbie National in Jindabyne.

We planned for the worst, packing all sorts of snow gear, gloves and jackets and so on, and ended up using just some of it. We were sure it was going to be rainy.

Our first set of roads and accommodation was to Deniliquin on the first night – then that had to be cancelled due to flood evacuations introduced. Another route was considered, then that could not the achieved, so the third option, staying at Bernalla overnight, was selected.

The weather leaving The Bend was great for driving but as we progressed into Victoria and NSW, the roads turned challenging, particularly on some of the rural backroads heading directly to the waypoints we had chosen. At many points the procession of cars and trailers looked like a processions of V8 Supercars warming their tyres up at Victoria Park or The Bend. There were extensive periods of deep ruts, pot holes and washaways that you had to be constantly on the alert for. All of us got caught out at one time or another. Luckily for most of us, we got through unscathed. Barry, one of our Northern brethren had a moment of excitement when his trailer broke. Luckily Andrew Keen, in his always competent manner pulled a welder from his car, borrowed some electricity from a pub and temporally welded the frame so they could continue. He later did a major professional fix up at Jindabyne.

The continuous rain has left a legacy of billions of dollars of road work repairs that will take years to address at both local government and federal levels. The flip side, particularly coming from a traditionally dry state like SA, was the visual delight of seeing the amount of standing water at various roadside locations. Stunning sights of local small reservoirs, the enormous capacity of the Hume Lake storage, running water in creeks and rivers were some great memories. But the vast amount of greenery, grass, trees, crops and ripening fields of grain will stay in the memory for a long time. It was very much like New Zealand I thought, a comment backed up by NZ’ers, the Tyes and others. It is rare to see central parts of Australia so lush.

Jindabyne accommodation at The Station (remote from the centre of Jindy, but a great safe, place to stay) provided space to park cars and trailers comfortably and the huts are well set up, clean and spacious and economic.

The weather for the 4 days was perfect for lounging around in Clubbie Alley or for clubbie driving. Bright, clear and sunny, though you did need gloves and jacket when you were driving, as the altitude, mountains with snow still present and speed cooled a body down quickly. Coffee and wee stops were regular items.

About 80 cars and around 130 individuals attended the event. Interestingly, half the attendees were new to a Clubbie National. As usual, SA provided around 30% of the attendees. There were two runs able to be completed, one short of around 200km and the other near enough to 340kms with other opportunities to drive to places like Charlotte’s Pass, Cooma, Wild Brumby Distillery and so on. These runs were like some of the northern Sunday runs except magnified on a scale of 10. Big distances, great roads (potholes included), wide open spaces, brilliant clubbie weather, deserted and wide open roads and the ability to see for miles ahead mostly. There were few vehicles meandering to hinder a rather wholesome pace! There were a few breakdowns across the group (minor front guard issue for the Tyes, others outside SA group had troubles with electrics) but overall nothing hugely serious or dangerous or costly.

Catching up with friends and acquaintances from previous Nationals or recognising names and vehicles from those who participate regularly on the OzClubbies Forums could be easily done in Clubbie Alley, a regular feature of the Nationals. Many of the vehicles were spectacularly presented, but all had some feature or idea worth capturing.

The final dinner on the Wednesday night was memorable for several reasons. Firstly, three of the seven awards presented on the night went to South Australians. Firstly, Simon Gigney was fittingly awarded the Best in Show Peoples Choice award for his Honda powered Swift. Barry Schults got the Wank Factor Award for his implementation of his in-car phone system with remote activation (cleverly done). His table (his friends of course!) then jeeringly acknowledged him as a real wanker!

The last award was to Paul Doube (and in truth, Ruth as well), and this was the perpetual Kym Ninnes Award for the Longest Distance Travelled. Perhaps this time it was fittingly for the longest and hardest trip, as Paul is now and has been, permanently on oxygen. The elevation above sea level of our accommodation at Jindabyne was a further challenge he had to face during time at The Station, as the thinner air reduced available oxygen with bad effects. In accepting his award, Paul, a person never lost to words, one of the few there to have been to every Nationals and Not the Nationals, eloquently summed up what the Nationals meant to him, the friendships made and the supports given to him and Ruth by many people at the event. Paul was overwhelmed by the recognition and that the award meant so much to him at this time. Suffice to say, with the emotion in his voice and the challenges he faces, there were more than a few tears in people’s eyes at the end of his entreaty to make sure people come to the next Nationals.

I have included a photo of the only remaining people who have been to every National and Not the National events since they began. Simon, Barry, Paul & Ruth, all SA and Les & Brenda (Vic). Well done folks. And speaking of the next Nationals, Les Bone from Victoria was able to announce that Victoria will host the next Nationals in 2024, place and details to be confirmed at a later stage. I will keep you posted.

I have added a few photos of the event to this monologue, more of which may also be seen on the ClubbiesSA Facebook site:

A great thank you to all the people from SA who made the long journey – a round trip of some 4,500kms, and especially to Tim & Mark Jolly for their long, long trip in their own Clubbies. No trailers for them! They are tough and resourceful. The whole SA team of Clubbie enthusiasts were great and I was proud to be with them. Special thanks to people behind the scenes who helped herd us in the right direction (most of the time) and keep on top of bookings and other arrangements. These were Andrew Keen, Phil & Jenny Coates, Simon & Cheryl Gigney & Barry Edson.

Third Sunday 18th December, 2022 & Father Christmas

In 2 weeks it is the final Third Sunday for the year. Come along in your cars if the weather allows. Am talking to Fred about parking in the front of the Rezz on the grass this week to see if possible. As usual, I am Father Christmas Grinch, handing out little gifts to everyone. The Rezz is going to look at supporting us as usual with giveaways of wine, hats and small gifts. A bit of fun for everyone to end another big year.

Annual Donation to support ClubbiesSA – third Sunday 2022

As you should know, I run ClubbiesSA on a donation basis, with the first donation going towards paying for the keyring and then each year, any money raised goes to support costs such as website registrations & other costs, general thank you gifts and support if we have activities, the 6 Hour hire costs, Christmas give aways and so on.

So this year is the same – if you can afford it, $20 would be appreciated. Just grab me on the day.

The Diary of a Wimpy Navigator

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to read Grant’s article about the Legend of the Lake hill climb at Mount Gambier detailing the preparation and the thought processes of competing a 200hp Mk1 Escort (200hp – in an Escort…??!) up a temporary hill climb circuit so I thought I’d offer you a perspective from the other end – under prepared, under done and a complete novice! Remember those days? I do, like it was yesterday – oh, that’s right, it almost was!

Its fair to say I’m a nervous passenger at best. Doesn’t matter if its sitting in the passenger seat of my car whilst my beautiful partner is driving (and its fair to say she drives better than me), sitting in the back of an Air Force PC9 whilst one of the Roulettes was turning my stomach inside out or just sitting on the train, I just like to be in control of my own destiny, even if I know I can’t do it any better.

Which pretty much sums up my weekend at the 2022 Adelaide Rally. No control over my destiny! And that was before the front left-hand tried to escape the rest of the car (it didn’t like us and protested its displeasure in various ways all weekend) … don’t start me on trusting other people’s mechanical abilities! The only person who can do a job right is me (maybe I have control issues…)!

So, what on earth am I writing about? Well, an old Navy mate, whom I hadn’t seen for over 20 years, and I ran into each other on a job a few years ago and, like anyone ex-military person will know, you just pick up the conversation pretty much where it left off all those years ago. Then, out of the blue came an invite to be the navigator in the Rally Adelaide in a car he’d just bought. Trust me – its’ going to be fun! Now, John likes his toys. He used to race a Ducatti in one of the feeder production superbike classes until two accidents, the second very serious (for him and the bike) left him unable to race on two wheels. This lead him down an all too familiar path – pick up a track day car which leads to another – sound familiar at all? Anyway, his current track weapon (a highly modified current spec Nissan GTR) was a bit excessive for events like Rally Adelaide, so, he set out to buy a good tarmac rally prepared Porsche 944 to have some fun in and somehow ended up with this crazy track special Maserati Grand Sport. Gutted of all semblances of luxury, two racing seats bolted to the floor, a Ferrari derived 4.2l V8 complete with race spec engine management, an exhaust system that will wake the recently departed and a custom-built race suspension. Sounds crazy right? Nearly 500 brake horsepower all going through a standard Selespeed gearbox that smelled like it was constantly 30 seconds away from melting due to the crawling along at each starting special stage line up. Now you might start to understand my nervousness!

Day One was interesting for both of us in many ways. I’d never sat in the car for any more than 30 seconds (loose weight Robin, loose some weight) and John causally mentioned he had only really driven the car in earnest once, not including the trips to and from the suspension shop, the tyre fitter and the run to Parc Ferme at the Show Grounds. He did warn me that it was loud, but even after the first day, neither of us yet understood quite how loud a 4.2 litre Ferrari V8 with a full race exhaust system was on the rev limiter. Oh, and don’t kick that box right where you want to put your left foot – that’s one half of the ECU.

The first few stages were interesting to say the least. Officially there was an 80kph or 100 kph speed limit on all the stages as a risk mitigation strategy post the tragic accidents in Tasmania earlier this year, but it became obvious that not everyone was obeying the imposed limits, mostly legitimately by accident on the first day. I have in-car footage of some of the stages that, honestly, I’m too ashamed to show anyone as I was either (a) scared witless as John man-handled what is in reality a very heavy Grand Tourer through the hairpins and winding roads (“for god’s sake mate, slow down or we are going to be thrown out of the event…”) or (b) holding my breakfast down as we descended the Cork Screw like I’ve never done it before … (“nah mate, that was slow – you should come down it in the GTR one day with me”… err, no thanks John, but thanks for the offer!). I don’t think I’ve ever been up to Eagle on the Hill quite as quick until then either (“mate, that was only half throttle – wait until tomorrow…”). So you get the idea. Not exactly the place for a nervous passenger with control issues….!

So, anyway, back to Day One and somewhere around lunch I sensed something wasn’t quite right. Me and vibrations have a kind of symbiotic relationship and as I get to know a car/ship/helicopter, I kind of get in tune with it on a spiritual level and can sense changes before others do. A 10rpm change in the main diesel on my last ship would have me instantly awake wondering why we had sped up/slowed down. The car was grinding every time we had a slow, hard right turn with the body work and the front left rubbing (never thought I’d be taking to a Maserati with an Ozito grinder, but I did – lots of firsts for me last weekend!!), but I had a nagging sense of a vibration in the front. “Its fine mate – its steering fine” says John repeatedly. The thought of jacking it up to check the tyres was quickly quashed, simply because we, err, didn’t have a jack. So, on we pressed. Each stage a little bit faster, a few more revs, later and later on the brakes into corners and harder on the throttle out. As John’s confidence with the car built (and my confidence in his driving increased) I had this nagging feeling that something just was not quite right. Then to the final stage on day one, up Lower North East Road. Those who know this stretch of road know that, with the exception of one double apex left hander, it’s a series of fast flowing corners. Confidence high, John really started pushing it, closer to the rev limiter, and, after being told to shut up about speeding (!), I finally sat back to enjoy the rush (or at least tried to!). Through the finish, hard on the brakes to make the sharp left back onto North East road for the trip back to Gouger St (and beers) all heck broke loose. We had been listening to the grinding of tyre on body work all day, but this was different and the steering wheel was shaking like a leaf in a storm. And, of course, there was nowhere to pull off. When we finally could, without a jack of course we couldn’t see anything wrong either. A very sedate drive down into the city but by the time we got to Gillies Plains it was almost undrivable so, no Gouger St beers for me. I’m told it was a good night!!

I have to admit there was a small prayer offered to the Motor Sport gods to release me from this rolling nightmare with a catastrophic failure of some sort. As it was, the bolts securing the spacers to the hubs had come loose. Two were completely out and the other three were hanging in by about half a thread. “I knew they were a bit short” says John. Needless to say, once ‘Frank’ from RAA had it sorted enough to get home, my first job of the next morning was to take all the wheels off and check the torque on all of the spacer bolts. We might have missed the first stage as a result, but I had a little more confidence in the Italian engineering, and after a check (tear down) at Urailda, all I had to worry about was the noise (oh my goodness it was loud – louder than front row tickets to a Guns and Roses concert) and attempting to keep John under control with the speed.

The Urailda lunch stop was interesting. Intent to checking the wheel spacers for security, I set about finding timbers to stop the trolley jack from sinking into the wet grass and proceeded to remove the fronts. This was of considerable amusement to the assembled masses, many of whom observed my progress from under the shelter of a large gum tree (yes, it was raining) and offered advice, but only one person (other than John) actually came and helped! An interesting window into the minds of some of the participants in the event! Mind you, we also knew each other and I think up until then he thought my stories of being a walking talking vibration sensor where probably somewhat exaggerated.

By this time I’ve just given up. Mentally I’ve rechecked my will, chastised myself for not handing the signed executor form back to the lawyers (Margy will find it I’m sure I think). As John’s confidence in the car grew and the wet roads dried out, the deeper into corners we plunged and the harder the shove in the back on the exit became as the car literally roared down the quiet Adelaide Hills back roads. A short sharp hill climb stage, followed by a crazy (to me) descent down Eagle on the Hill and then a run up Belair Road like I’ve never experienced, ever. I don’t think the Midget will go as fast on a straight downhill road with the wind behind as we went up it. Never, have I ever, been up that road so quickly (I swear it was 80kph Officer…). We thought the rev limiter kicked in at 7500. We were about 500rpm early and when it kicks in it creates a staccato sound akin to an AK47.

My final hope to surviving is we will be removed from the event Sunday morning for repeated speed transgressions on Saturday. The Rally Safe Lite app kept going off (and off and off) and, well, I saw the speeds we hit on the final three stages so I was sure (prayed) we were going to be thrown out. Then we stopped for fuel at the OTR at the top of the Belair Road run (it drinks fuel at a rate not unlike I was drinking Scotch each evening to calm my nerves) and all the other drivers in our packet had manic grins on their faces. The cars in front of us, an Audi RS3, a WRX Station Wagon and a vintage 911 RS had all distanced us on the ascent and the follow car (a Yaris GR4) had been up our quadrophonic tailpipes all the way up the hill with the navigator laughing all the way at the mechanical din we were making – damn. Oh well, I guess we are all out tomorrow (I hoped)….

…Alas – no. Despite my desperate desire to make it stop, armed with a deep understanding of how military grade GPS tracking systems work I was now strangely ready to defend our honour against the Rally Safe app and the GPS capabilities of an iPhone, but it was not needed. There was stern warning about keeping the speed under control and we had a private audience with the Chief Steward for an alleged transgression (a burn out coming out of Uraidla which we vehemently denied – we honestly didn’t but I guess someone complained about the noise of the car – there was a Maserati guy watching us go so maybe we made a little too much noise as we left, but no burn out – the clutch couldn’t have coped for starters!).

As for Day Three itself, its amazing how different the roads are only a few km to the south. Gone where the tight switch backs to fast flowing roads … and the tour speed limits that were, in the most part, well obeyed. Still, if you have massive Brembo brakes and warm semi slick tyres you can plunge deeper into a corner than any sane person would and there was the homicidal roar of that glorious flat plane crank V8 as it provided enough kick to probably launch NASA’s next moon mission as you exited the bend. We might have been warned about driving quietly in the built up areas but not on the road, much to the amusement of the many young boys and girls who lined the roads.

So, what did all this prove? As a navigator I’m completely useless. Most of the time I had no idea where I was or honestly, which way we were going! And clearly I have trust issues but I think at least some of those were justified. It probably also proved that I have addiction issues as I’ve now been browsing the Sprite Parts and PME online shop sites with the thought of putting the Little Blue Car into the event next year. Pretty sure it’s quick enough for the Main Tour (and can be made to go a little quicker through the bends with some minor adjustments…), the question is, can the nut behind the steering wheel be taught how to drive quickly, instead of being a candidate for Miss Daisy’s driver? Stay tuned – oh, and don’t tell Margy what I’m thinking about…she says I’m too impulsive!

2022 Christmas BBQ and Meeting

The weather looks favourable for a pleasant summer’s evening to enjoy the Christmas Festivities with a BBQ in the park and the meeting to follow – hopefully I haven’t jinked the weather!

Hope to see you all there!

(PS – if its nice, bring you cars out for an evening run!)

What is a ‘Clubman’?

Now, I’m sure that our friends from Clubbies SA are thinking this is an odd question, but it was posed to me by my lovely sister when discussing the possibility of getting my father down as a guest speaker at the club one night. I’m keen to re-instate the tradition of a guest speaker talking about something topical, be it technical, history or just a good interesting yarn, all over a glass of wine and a cheese platter and to do that, I need to find people willing to come in and, as we would have said in the navy, spin a dit.

“Dad? What on earth would he talk about” she asked

“Anything he wants”, I replied.

“Like?” she queried?

“Anything! Tell a yarn. Talk about something topical from a point of history. Anything – you know how he likes to talk! Could be growing up on the River in the 1930s and the seeing last of commercial paddle steamers, the 1956 and 1974 floods, that’s certainly topical, or riding a motorbike with no clutch and no gearbox up to Birdwood. Even the countless trips to Mallala, Rowley Park or the local Speedway as a time keeper in the 1960s, anything really …  I’m sure the owners of the Clubbies in the club would be interested to hear his recollections of Garrie Cooper and his earliest cars. Anything really – he’s never short of a bloody good story!”

That lead to the obvious “what’s a clubbie” and then my attempting to explain what a Clubman Car was and it got me thinking; what, really, is a clubman?

That source of truth and accuracy (the internet) has as its #1 answer with the somewhat scandalous definition…’ A man who is a member of a gentleman’s club’. I’m not really sure that is the right answer in this case but was that the whole story? No, it seems. Like everything on the internet, its only very small part of the full story story and intimates somewhere the Bentley Boys might have gone post race!

Dive a bit deeper, and you’ll find a definition a bit closer to the mark ‘… an amateur enthusiast, someone willing to partake in their sport without necessarily being a winner, for the love of the sport.’ If the competition reports are to be believed, this is much closer to the mark, although I do get the sense of strong rivalry between drivers at time!!

Perhaps the best definition actually builds on the ‘gentleman’s club’ theme, which further defined these purported ‘gentleman’s clubs’ (which Google may leave you thinking were just private boys’ clubs and dens of iniquity and defined them as being formed after World War 1 and where sporting clubs where former soldiers could escape the daily nightmares of the horrors they witnessed. We hear every week on the news about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the suicide rate amongst ex-service people, police, nurses and paramedics and the current Royal Commission. With people suffering with all the benefits of modern medicine and phycological support, how returned servicemen and nurses from the horrors of WW1 coped is beyond me. My father talks of how his dad would rarely talk about his experiences and emersed himself in his farming but always looked forward to visiting his local RSL where he could be with his mates, no doubt exactly what the term Clubman actually refers to. Club level participation in something as a type of therapy and a way to escape the horrors of their recent past whilst having ‘jolly good fun’.

Many clubs today still award a Clubman Award. Its not to the best player/driver/scorer, but it’s the award for the person who turns up, gets involved, doesn’t moan. In many sporting clubs, the ‘Clubman Award’ was THE award to win as it meant you’d earned the respect of your peers.

‘The Clubman’ has, as we all know, spilled over into motorsport, not least the ‘Clubbies’ that form such an integral part of our club as we look towards 2023. Motorsport history of the 1940s and 50s is littered with ‘Clubman’ events on two wheels and four. Even the Isle of Man had a Junior and Senior Clubman TT category for production bikes that could be bought on the high-street one day and raced the next. I’m really not sure that is all that different to the daring-do racers at Brooklands or a local Hillclimb whom might have bought an MG Midget, Austin 7 or similar with sporting intent in the 1920s or 30s and gone racing without any notion of ever actually winning!

Is that all that different to most of the entrants in the Adelaide Rally that starts next week, or indeed the Peter Hall Memorial 6 Hour or any round of the MSCA or Collingrove Hillcimbs?

Then of course, there are the Clubbies. With their direct link to Colin Chapman’s game changing Lotus 7, when the motor racing technology advanced, people realised what the 7 offered amateur motor sport and an entire community developed around a class of car know affectionately as ‘a clubman’.

So, what, really, is a clubman? Whilst the term is a little outdated (clubperson maybe?), its someone who participates simply for the joy of participating and the bonds of friendship it brings. Today I took an hour out of my day to help young Chris get his Mini (yes, it’s a Clubman) running so he can, hopefully, come out and enjoy some of the events for next year. He tried to pay me and I’m not sure he understands why I politely refused (he can buy me a coffee one day), as hopefully he can tag along and start to understand what is meant to be a ‘clubman’.

Perhaps one day soon we might even get his actual Sprite or Midget up and running for club runs, but that might result in another story for here!

Wild Weather Event

The extraordinary weather event that cut a swathe through many parts of greater Adelaide on Saturday has left a lot of us without power, trees in driveways and in some unfortunate cases, through cars and houses. I hope everyone in the Sprite Club has fared ok and all are safe and well and, like me, the worst of it is just no power for 48 hours.

If anyone in the club is aware club-mate in need of assistance, be it clearing debris, running a chainsaw or just taking a thermos of coffee, then please say so we can try to coordinate some help and support. I’m sure we can rustle up equipment if needs be.

It might seem incongruous to be posting online when people maybe without power and internet but I hope the tribal drums have been beating and people have been checking in with each other. If you know of someone in need or distress, please say and let’s see who and how we can help!

Robin and Margy

(Hopefully this posts – we are still learning out way with posting notices etc here!)