Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline May 2017

New Directions
Monthly Column of Driving Events

It is time to change the ending slogan of my monthly column from ‘thinking of driving’ to just ‘driving’ as the 2017 Driving Events are under way already. We talked about the May events last month and you’ll find the information about starting times locations in this issue as well. 

June is also packed with Driving Events. On Sunday the 4th we’ll have the Land’s End Rally. Why are we so excited about this event? Well, Cecil Kimber, the managing director of Morris Garages in Oxford, England built a special car to compete in the 1925 Land’s End Trial. The company was already in business for two years (although there is some debate about the ‘official’ birth year of MG) but it was Cecil Kimber’s win of that 1925 event that established its reputation as a very successful sports car manufacturer. The rest is history: the 1928 introduction of the M-type (the first of the Triple M cars) and the 1929 move to Abingdon, where the production of the T-Series, the MGA, MGB, and MGC, and the post-war Midgets ended in 1980. The winning 1925 car still exist today and is known as Old Number One.

I don’t think that we know trial events here in the US. A trial was a sort of rally, but instead of questions and check points the route consisted of visits to—usually very muddy and steep—special sections. These special sections were called trials and the cars were timed and were penalized for getting stuck in the mud or stall on the slope of a hill. Trials were day-long affairs, some even extending in to two days. Of course, reliability, driving skills, horse power, and traction (for the mud) were very important. Drivers were assisted by a co-driver not only to navigate from one trial section to the next or to keep track of timing. The co-driver was also there to add weight to maximize traction of the rear-wheel driven cars when the course was muddy, loose gravel, uphill, or all three at the same time. And if everything failed, there were usually enough spectators to lend a hand as can be seen in this photo. (there are still some historic trials in England)


Our version, not nearly as difficult, is the longest running rally in the CMGC (except for a few skipped years here and there). Our Land End’s Rally is not a day-long drive and there are no muddy hills. But traditionally it was a little bit more of a driving rally than the other events on our calendar with a little bit more miles and sometimes a little bit more remote roads with a little bit higher average speeds. However, todays traffic and ever expanding housing and business development areas have made it very difficult to continue these traditions. We’re very lucky that Dean & Kerry Hickenlooper have picked up the baton and have selected a route in the Southern area of Chicagoland. You’ll find the details in this issue and I really hope that you put this on your calendar to support Dean and Kerry’s fantastic initiative and to enjoy the memory of the Cecil Kimber, Old Number One, and the Land’s End Trial victory which started the thing that we now call MG and is a hobby for so many of us.

  The next is the Secrets of Jo Daviess County Tour from June 9-11. Tour masters <>Ray & Sue Hansen together with Tim & Jamie Schafer have dedicated this year’s edition to its founder Dan Herman who sadly passed away in 2015. Those of you who remember will agree that nobody can even come close to Dan’s enthusiasm when presenting his early summer tour with sound, video, and lots of funny jokes at our the club meetings. Therefore, I’ll just suggest that you read some of the reports in the archived Drivelines on the CMGC website. You’ll find the details in the invitation in this issue. And if you are still on the fence just ask anybody who was on one of Dan’s Jo Daviess County Tours and I am sure you’ll get a thumbs-up recommendation.

That same Sunday is also the Austin Healey Autocross. If you have never done an Autocross before, this might be the one to give it a try. It is a very low-key event and it offers the perfect opportunity to see if a low-speed timed driving skill and car handling test is something for you and your MG. Jim Compton our Autocross coordinator, will be happy to help you with information and tips.

On Saturday, June 17,James Brennan & Jane Kasper invite us to the Highland Games an annual festival of Scottish Heritage, which includes a car show. James and Jane are adding a few extra activities to make it a MG Clubs of Chicago driving event.

And, the end of June is also the time for the national conventions if the NAMGAR and NAMGBR, both in California.

July starts out with a new event. Scott Fohrman has been a member of the VMGCC and CMGC for many years and we’ve talked about having an afternoon at his house in Evanston for most of those years. Unfortunately something always stood in between; Scott’s vintage racing schedule, remodeling activities on his house, road-construction on his enormous slot car track, or scheduling conflicts with other club activities. But this year it is going to happen. A perfect start of an extra long Independence Day weekend is planned for the afternoon of Saturday, July 1st.

(Continued on page #6)

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