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Having spent one or two occasions saying what the M.G. Car Club does not do, this time let' say what we do do and do well. Whenever any of the classic car magazines have a feature on M.G.s they often finish up with a paragraph or two on "The Clubs". Presumably in order to avoid treading on anyone's corns this completely fails to sort out the strengths and weakness of any of us and, therefore, quite misses the key points in our favour. We have at least two which make us the best.
First, we run a motor sports programme. Well, M.G.s are sports cars and, if you have an M.G., presumably you are interested in motor sports even though you may not be an active participant. This is what started us back in 1930 and it has been our main reason for existence ever since. None of our friendly rivals can begin to match us here. The M.G.O.C. are not RACMSA-recognised so they do not even figure on this topic. Indeed Roche Bentley has indicated to me on several occasions that he is not interested in rivalling us here. On the other hand, the Octagon C.C. have RACMSA recognition and, customarily, have had a modest sporting programme in their calendar. Alas there have been years when none of their planned events have taken place, apparently because volunteers to run them have not stepped forward and I can find no events down to them in the 1996 RACMSA Club Fixture List. So all those hundreds of you who have helped in any way to put a sporting event on the road by marshalling, being an official, entering or anything else like baby or dog-sitting for someone who is involved, walk tall. You have helped me to make the M.G. Car Club what it is, the only M.G. club to acknowledge that M.G.s are sports cars.
Second, we are the only club which has attempted to compile the details of M.G. history. We are the only club to have arranged a system of specialised groups dealing with one model or a related series of models. We call them Registers. Each, in its own way, has attempted to list those cars which have survived and to trace the history of a least the more famous of "their" cars. This is not an easy task, the historian's path is strewn with misleading clues. However, with Club publications going back to 1933 and a large quantity of early chassis files and build books in our possession, we are the only club in a position to even attempt this task, let alone make a success of it. Our leading members have written books which have become the accepted standard works of M.G. history. "Maintaining the Breed" by John Thornley (Secretary, Chairman and President), "The Story of the M.G. Sports Car" (later abbreviated to "M.G.") by F. Wilson McComb (Editor of Safety Fast! and General Secretary), "Early M.G." by Phil Jennings (Secretary of the Vintage Register and setting an example of specialist authorship but now a member of the M.G.C.C.), "The Magic of M.G. Trials Cars" by Roger Thomas (Editor Triple-M Register Yearbook) and many more. Some of our publications, the triple-M Register itself, have become standard works of reference, used by the trade and by the other clubs.
So, in these two important areas of club activity we have a monopoly. Not because we claim it but because we are the only club to seriously attempt to make a success of them. Both require energy and dedication. Running a sporting programme, whether it is done at Centre or Main Club level, is time-consuming and exhausting. But we manage it. Races, sprints, speed hill climbs, trials, autotests, gymkhanas, scatter rallies and concours, we do them all. Well done everybody. Now we need to go and do that little bit extra. Make sure that these events are reported in the pages of Safety Fast! M.G. Enthusiast, Autosport, Motoring Weekly, the classic car magazines (all of them!) and your local papers. We are doing well, let people know it. Switch the lights on.
The picture is from Monica Brown who took it at this year's Coy's Festival at Silverstone. The car is one of the three NA Magnettes which Belleview Garages prepared for trials in 1935 with lightweight bodies etc. and were driven by the Evans family. They were also used in rallies and speed events but not, I think, for racing. The young gentleman who is in the car is Wilkie Wilkinson who, as Belleview's mechanic at the time, would have had a major hand in building them. The car is Philip Walker's but it looks as if Ann Templeton has been giving him a ride.
Finally, although his magazine should drop through at least the UK letterboxes well before Christmas, I wish you and your families and friends a Happy Christmas and a good New Year.
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