FRIENDS OF MT COTTON
BENEFITS BEGIN TO FLOW:
With Friends of Mt Cotton Hillclimb established thanks to the initiative of Dino Mattea, albeit with a smaller membership than was hoped, the income from the memberships has been well spent.
Already, FOMC has provided a lap top computer to enable the timekeepers to fully utilize the Alge Timing System at Mt Cotton, as well as a 6Kva generator which will provide power for both the timing facility and the canteen.
Mt Cotton Hillclimb will be much easier to operate with these new additions, and more assets and projects are "In the pipeline."
Watch this space for more news of the achievements of FOMC, and consider joining so that you too may see Australia's premier hill climb continue to grow.
Friends of Mt Cotton
Many years ago, in the mists of time, the idea of the MGCC of Qld building a permanent hillclimb venue was raised. The hillclimb has proved enormously successful and its success grows stronger with every meeting and every development – a cyclical success story. However, more funds were needed to continue the improvements and thus the idea of “Friends of Mt Cotton” was born.
People with an association with the Hillclimb were invited to become a “Friend of Mt Cotton” by taking out either a Gold of Silver Membership. Gold membership is for five years duration and Silver membership for three. While routine maintenance of the Hillclimb continued to be funded from the MG Car Club budget, funds raised from membership were used for selected upgrade initiatives to continue with the improvement of the facility.
Patron of the “Friends of Mt Cotton” was long time competitor and the winner of multiple Queensland and Australian Hillclimb Championships, Ivan Tighe.
Members included a number of competitors from the very early days, people who have won FTD, a number of current competitors and some people who just wished to be “Mt Cotton Friendly”.
A brief history of Mt Cotton Hillclimb:
Forty years on ………. Yes, unbelievable it may seem, but it is over forty years since the idea of the MG Car Club providing the first permanent hillclimb venue in Queensland was first conceived. Club records show that as early as January 1962 the Club had started to look for a suitable site.
Admittedly, the first hillclimb was not held until six years later and much work and planning, both physical and financial, went on in those six years. Progress really began to happen in September 1964 when the land at Mt Cotton was ‘discovered’.
The Redland Shire Council advised that they had no objection to the land being used as a Motor Sporting Hillclimb and Brian Tebble and the MG Car Club (through three trustees) each purchased adjacent blocks of land.
1965 saw more progress with the Hillclimb site being surveyed and the certificates of title being finalised for the two purchases. A shed was built to house a tractor and it was reported that the cost of bitumising the track would be ₤1 per yard, a total cost of ₤1000!
Access to the hillclimb site became available for the first time from (the then unnamed) Gramzow Rd. Previous to this, access was via Fabian Rd which was reached via Wuduru Rd from the unsealed Mt Cotton Rd.
The latter part of the year saw the formation of a Committee of Management for the hillclimb and the Editor of the Octagon proudly announced on the front page that the MG Car Club members were “Builders of the first permanent hillclimb in Queensland.”
The big F word – FINANCE – reared its ugly head in 1966; the Club had come up with the final plan for the track and so knew what needed to be done but needed the money to do it. A plea for donations as well as help at working bees went out.
Interestingly and prophetically, the Secretary of the Club in the 1966 Annual Report said that “a couple of hard years work was needed” to complete the circuit which, at that point, had progressed to 10 yards from the first corner thanks to a series of working bees starting at 6 am!
Finances were still a problem – aren’t they always?? – and it was proposed that the Club form a company independent of the Club whilst at the same time under its control. It was reported that the Climb ‘must be finished by March 1967’ and a forward step was the track inspection which took place on 31 October, 1966. The company, known as Mt Cotton Hill Climb Ltd, was registered on 28 December, 1966, with eight club members as the Board of Directors.
A brief history of Mt Cotton Hillclimb (cont.)
The March 1967 deadline was unable to be met but two further dates were allocated for later in the year. However, no hillclimbs were held on either of those days as progress had been halted, this time by bad weather which delayed construction. Meanwhile pleas still went out for funds and it was announced in the June Octagon that over $600 had been donated or invested by Club members.
In July 1967 Ray Lovejoy previewed his prototype of the timing gear to be used at the hillclimb and it was announced that tenders had been called for the construction of the road. By December the track was surfaced, a dam had been built and held 5 feet of water and the Mt Cotton Hill Climb Co was doing a good job of raising finance for the jobs which members just couldn’t do themselves.
1968 was the year! The February Octagon featured an advertisement for the very first hillclimb to be held on Sunday 18th February! This was a closed hillclimb and FTD went to Ray Jorgensen who set the pace at 54.54secs in his RJ Repco Holden. It was noted in the Octagon report of the hillclimb that only 8 drivers beat the 60 sec barrier and one of them was the Ann Thomson Lotus 15 driven by Brian Tebble who won the 1101-1500 cc Sports Car Group A class.
Dates for eight hillclimbs appear to have been set for that year and there is proof that seven of them took place; these included 4 closed and 3 open hillclimbs including the Qld Championships on June 2nd at which Peter Holinger achieved FTD with 47.4 secs.
Three people who competed in 1968 are still competing and each has won FTD at some time. They are Peter Rayment (11 FTDs in his Cooper Ford between 1973 and 1981), Vern Hamilton (4 FTDs in his Centaur Clubman in 1968-69) and David Miles (FTD in his Centaur in 1972).
Other interesting early ‘snippets’ include the information that –
the 50 sec barrier was first broken by Glynn Scott
there were over 2000 spectators at the first Qld championships (2 Jun 1968)
practice days were set aside at Mt Cotton as part of the Club schedule of events
the first person to break the 40 sec barrier at Mt Cotton was Kym Rohrlach at the Australian Hillclimb Championship held on 31st May 1987.
eight people have now gone under the 40 second barrier with others very close to increasing this number quite soon.
The ‘coming of age’ of the hillclimb could be said to have occurred on 14 June, 1970, when the first round of the Australian championship was held at the hill. It was won by Paul England in a time of 45.6 secs. Other rounds of the Championship were held in 1974 and 1975.
In later years, the Championship was decided at a single event and Queensland hosted this event in the years 1979, 1983, 1991 (won by Ivan Tighe), 1995 (won by John Davies) and 2001.
In 2000, the Management Committee requested submissions in writing from members to provide directions for the development of the Hillclimb site. The resulting improvements to the track, its surrounds, the return road, the pits, the spectator area etc can be seen when you visit the hillclimb.
However, there is still a lot to be done, so, as with many things, everything old becomes new again and the Club is once again – or still – seeking funds to further the progress of the improvement of the facility … thus the Club has initiated the “Friends of Mt Cotton”.
BACK TO THE PAST
When news came through that Hillclimb designer and early Club member, Jon McCarthy, was making a flying visit to Brisbane, a quick phone-around was made to get a few people together at the hillclimb to show him its development. A group of 15 managed to make it there and enjoyed ‘chewing the fat’ on times past. Jon was delighted with the presentation of the hillclimb and the sight of the gumtrees and the sound of the kookaburras surely would have had his Aussie blood stirring again as would his tourist trip around the track with John Campbell. It was good to meet up with John again and see his obvious pleasure in being back ‘home’ at the hill.
Heading off for a half lap.
Kerry, Jon, Ann and David
The Class of the '60s.
Jon finds John humorous while John and Peter look on.
For Sale now in Classifieds