A day at the races
Doug Voss recalls 1947’s opening meeting, held on 1st February, as “rather dull”, however he vividly remembers the trip to the circuit in his friend Ian Trengove’s home built car. It’s a story worth relating. “In 1943 my brother Fred, four years my senior, was in his final year at the University of Adelaide studying mechanical engineering. Fred was frustrated with the fact that neither of our cars (dad’s 1938 Vauxhall Wyvern, or Fred’s 1928 Morris Minor) were able to get over the Napoleon hat-shaped Clapham railway bridge in top gear. So he decied to build a Special in the Shelsey Walsh tradition – a large motorcycle engine (1100cc side-valve v-twin JAP), a light chassis from a 1928 Morris Minor, and an Austin 7 gearbox. Weight was kept at a minimum by dispensing with a body. “The Special was a great success; it cleared the Clapham Bridge (which no longer exists) in top gear, with ease. Then for about six months, it was a Camelot period for us, we forgot about the war. We had the Special and my old AJS and the Windy Point Hill at our back door. The crackle of the old JAP and the raw energy of the car was exhilaration. Then 1944 came, Fred graduated from university with honours – and joined the A.I.F. I turned 18 years, and joined the Air Force. Sadly within six months Fred had died as the result of an accident – there would be no more Camelots. “After the war, with friends Ian Trengove and Brian Fuss, we got the Special going again and raced around the hills roads south of Adelaide. In 1947 Ian and I took the Special to the races at Springbank, where it created a lot of interest. In 1948 I bought a 1000cc OHV v-twin JAP (ex-Camden speedway). I fitted the new motor and made a few cosmetic alterations. The change was emphatic! Now we could not only cross the Clapham railway bridge in top gear, but got airborne at the crest! “Some years later, I wheeled the Special out again, joined the Sporting Car Club and had some modest success in the up to 150cc racing class at the Collingrove Hill Climb. The Special now rests quietly in my garage – the source of many memories both happy and sad.”
The Special draws plenty of interested onlookers in the pits at Springbank in February 1947.
Ian Trengove giving the Special a workout at Hawthorndene.