History Page 2


Part IV – The evolution of the "Maclean Bridge Gathering" and "Marque".Once upon a time in a land far away known as "Lakeside Raceway", a motley crew of sportscar drivers met often to watch the races, jammed against the fence just outside the Dunlop Bridge with their cars lined up on the slopes below (Beechey, the Geoghans, young Colin Bond, young Brocky, Dick in a Holden – God, it takes me back.........).

This group mostly comprised rejects from the Austin-Healey Owners Club (AHOC) because they did not own big Healeys, and some kosher AHOC members. The rejects included yours truly (A-H Sprite Mk I and Mark III) and, more importantly for the sake of this story, John Barram in a Lotus Super 7 Clubman (Also referred to in History Of The Club – Part 1).

Now JB was a great competitor but he once said "we always meet to compete against each other or watch motorsport – why not just have a picnic one day?" Eleven of us met that first time, and agreed that this was such a novel idea that we should go back to our respective clubs and invite the rest of our members next time – the following year we had 101 participants!

And so, boys and girls, what eventually became the biggest sports car gathering in the Southern Hemisphere was born. The Annual Maclean Bridge Meet now boasts 500 sports cars every Mothers Day, plus who bothers to count the classic cars, as well as the collectibles across the road in the carpark. (Even the year we called it off because the grounds were waterlogged we had 100 attendees – Super Kmart at Calamvale has since become the usual wet-weather alternative venue).

From that first picnic and a subsequent meeting at Carl Stecher's house, also came the idea to form a loose association of the various Clubs to facilitate more combined social and competitive events called, not surprisingly, the COMBINED SPORTS CAR CLUBS ASSOCIATION (CSCCA) – it once had another name of the same initials but we do want to make this any more complicated than it is about to become! The first CSCCA Meeting was at the home of Mal Young from the Jaguar Club. Our own Barry Darley was also there, probably with an enduring interest in both Big Healeys and Jags.

By holding combined events, the individual Clubs overcame the perennial problem of going to a great deal of effort to stage events to which only a relatively few number of their members turned up, i.e. just 5 entrants from each of 8-10 Clubs = fields of up to 50 cars.

Most of the individual Clubs, including ourselves, were in fact affiliated with the CONFEDERATION OF AUSTRALIAN MOTOR SPORT (CAMS) at that time but another problem was the high fees relative to their total number of members. Dropping out of CAMS was not very attractive either as holding CAMS sanctioned events gave the Clubs (and therefore individual members like you and me) insurance protection against litigation if something went horribly wrong, e.g. a bystander who had no right being in the wrong spot receiving injuries at a Club event!

The major problem with the CAMS fees was that each individual Club paid a substantial fee to be a CAMS affiliated club, plus paid capitation fees on every Member, man, woman or child (OK – I made the last part up!), whether or not they competed in competition events (this was particularly unfair to couples where one partner was generally passive).

SOLUTION – form one only "phantom" Club, open to the competition members of all the individual Clubs comprising the CSCCA! The "phantom" Club never held meetings as such – its sole purpose for existence was to:

1. "belong" to CAMS

2. Provide membership together with club basic competition licences to only members (of the individual Clubs) who wished to compete Obtain CAMS permits for competition events.

The "phantom" Club was subsequently named the MARQUE SPORTS CAR CLUB OF QUEENSLAND. Many years later the "Combined Sports Car Clubs Association" name was dropped, and these days the term "MARQUE" refers to both the loose association of all the sports car clubs and also to the specific club entity that belongs to CAMS.

SO WHAT'S IN IT FOR US? Read on: -

"MARQUE" enables the Sprite Car Club of Queensland to:

1. obtain basic club licences for competitive members

2. Obtain CAMS permits for competition events (which technically includes day runs, ie. "touring assemblies"), thereby providing insurance cover against injury claims

3. Gain access to an enormous number of events that some poor b*gger from the Sprite Club does not have to organize

4. Gain access to a captive audience of participants from other Clubs to ensure that any events that we do stage will be well attended if desired

5. Obtain affordable public liability insurance for the Sprite Club at a cost of $30 pa affiliation with Marque plus $4 for every member and partner, although at the time of writing the validity of this insurance is not fully resolved I have mentioned that most Clubs at the inception of the CSCCA were affiliated with CAMS, and we fought for the privilege of organizing the next motorkhana, economy run, sprint etc. The exception were the Triumph Sports Owners Association (TSOA) – their "punishment" for being a "social club" was to "host" the non-competitive Annual Maclean Bridge Gathering on behalf of CSCCA. Little did we know what a boon we were providing them with! The original charter was that any profits from any CSCCA events were to be turned over to the CSCCA consolidated revenue fund, and similarly any losses from events would be met from the fund. In the circa thirty years since the inception of Maclean Bridge, I do not remember any profits being disbursed by TSOA, and indeed its derivatives in CSCCA/Marque seem to be quietly forgotten.

Nonetheless, it is still an outstanding opportunity to showcase our cars, inspect some awesome machinery, meet up with old friends, source new members, and chin wag in a relaxed atmosphere with our chicken and champers (or frequent the hamburger stand).

Look forward to seeing you all at the Annual Maclean Bridge Gathering, Mt Lindsay Highway, North Maclean on Sunday 9 May 2004 from say 9.00am to 2.30pm. Peter Trump will no doubt advise the time and place for a convoy to the event.*
Michael OVENS
*(Ed – now "Maclean Bridge @ Lakeside – Sunday 15

Related pages

History Page 2
Sprite Car Club of QLD
PO Box 252
Salisbury QLD 4107
Phone 0411 053 861
Email president@spritecarclub.com
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