MG Car Club member Ross Kelly hits the road in his 1933 MG J3 Midget.
MG Car Club member Ross Kelly hits the road in his 1933 MG J3 Midget. Chris Calcino

Steamed up for sporting challenge

THE horsepower of a steam engine will be pitted against that of a smaller machine this Queen's Birthday weekend.

Woolf Bonato's race against Le Train Bleu from Cannes to Calais was a legendary challenge and the inspiration behind the Gold Coast MG Car Club's event to race the Downs Dasher to Goondiwindi.

More than 45 pre-war MGs and a number of younger MGs will face a 200km challenge against the Southern Downs Steam Railway's finest engine.

The two teams will go head-to-head in a trip from Warwick to Goondiwindi on the June long weekend.

Organiser Murray Arundell concedes that racing a train along public roads in the 21st Century, because it seems like fun, is not something the authorities look too kindly on.

"We won't be sprinting along the highway trying to outrun the loco," he said.

"Instead we've set out a route which will intersect with that of the train and our cars will be handicapped to give the train a fighting chance. The MGs' route will be around Warwick, then via Wheatvale to Leyburn, before returning south for lunch at Inglewood, and then it's on to Goondiwindi via the River Road."

Mr Arundell said there were a number of options for participation, including racing MGs against the train to Goondiwindi, riding the train out and back while lending encouragement to those on the road, or a combination of both.

The event is open to all MGs, no matter what model or age, but it is hoped that many older cars will take part, as these cars have more in common with the steam age.

According to Mr Arundell, "they'll be leading the challenge against the mighty loco".

Participants have registered for the event from as far afield as Maryborough and Newcastle.

 

The challenge

  • Old and new MGs are set to battle against a mighty steam train.
  • 200km journey from Warwick to Goondiwindi.
  • For more information visit southerndownssteamrailway.com.au


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