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May 24th, 2016
Thoroughbred Sports Car Club's Cultra Hillclimb
The 2016 MG MMM Tour will culminate with their attendance at the Thoroughbred Sports Car Club's Cultra Hillclimb on Saturday 11th June. Alongside participants from the four home countries there will be cars from Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. However, one of the three cars coming from Australia has famous motor racing royalty history and it will compete in the Ards and North Down Borough Council supported Cultra Hillclimb Competition, having enjoyed the previous four days of The Tour.
The 1934 K3 Magnette of John Gillett was raced during 1935 and 1936 by Prince Birabongse Bhanudej of Thailand, better known to motorsport enthusiasts as simply, Prince Bira. Bira had been sent to England to complete his education at Eton and was supposed to go up to Cambridge University, but the latter never happened. He lived with a cousin, Prince Chula Chakrabhongse, who managed a fledgling racing team and decided to try his hand at racing, driving in his cousin's team cars of which this K3 now owned by Gillett was one.
At the end of the 1936 season the car was bought by a John Snow in Australia, where it has remained ever since. It would go on to compete in half a dozen Australian Grand Prix, in the hands of successive owners, up until 1955 whilst winning the 1949 Australian Hillclimb Championship along the way. In 1988 the car was invited to Thailand, by its then King, to compete in races to celebrate the achievements of Prince Bira. From 1950 to 1955 the Prince had contested 19 F1 Grand Prix for Connaught, Gordini and Maserati as well as the LeMans 24 Hours in 1939 and 1954.
John Gillett hillclimbs and races this very original car in his native Australia and contests vintage rallies and trials with his wife Helen alongside. Helen's parents emigrated to Australia in 1922 from Ballinderry, near Lisburn, and she is planning to look in to her family history while they have an extended holiday here, as well as taking in the Tour and the Hillclimb.
Chris Cadman in his 1931 746 c.c. supercharged C Type. This car was a factory development car and was Goldie Gardner's reserve car for the 1931 TT. It didn't actually take part in the race but we believe it was used by Victor Ferguson at Craigantlet that year. Victor was Harry Ferguson's brother and the proprietor of Victor Ltd. who were the main M.G. agents at that time.