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1936 RACQ Reliability Trials and 1935 Speed record attempts at Woody Point.

Updated: Dec 13, 2022



Telegraph Tuesday 28 July 1936, page 24:

"SPEED RELIABILITY TRIAL. Where Contest Will Be Held. The R.A.C.Q. Speed Reliability trial will take place on Saturday afternoon next at Woody Point. The total distance to be covered will be just over 70 miles and will consist of 27 laps of a 2.65 mile course. The contest is timed to start at 2 p.m. and motorists desiring to witness the event should make a point of arriving as early as possible, it is pointed out that the contest is not a race but a high speed reliability contest. The competing cars will be set varying speeds so that they should be well spread out over the course and should be the passing the official stand every few

seconds. As this is the first contest of this nature ever held in Queensland it has aroused a considerable amount of Interest and should prove attractive both from a competitor's and spectator's view alike.

THE COMPETITORS Following is the list of competitors:

Pike, J. E. Austin 7. Thallon, K. F. Morris Minor. Edmunds, C. W. Morris Minor, Mcllwain, N. E. M.G. Midget. Furey. R. J. Morris 8/40 Howes, B. J. Riley. Gillespie, A. B. Riley 9 h.p. Whatmore, C. W. Riley. Dean. V. P. Ford "C" 10 h.p. Lee, G. F. G. Wolseley "Hornet." Trevethan, T. F. 1926 Bugatti "Brescia." Wedmaier. R. Morris 12 h.p. Parker, E. W. Morris 12/4 h.p. Kyne, Mrs. H. Morris 12/4 h.p. Love, J. P. Alvis.Parkinson, C. S. W. Vauxhall 14 h.p., Taylor, A. P. Delage Sports. Russell, G. Willys 77. Butters S. Willys 77 Mackay, N. Willys 77 Goren,


R. C. Willys 77 Anderson, W. P. Dodge D.A. Stewart, M. Chevrolet Gottstein, J. W. Vauxhall V.X. Larsen,

Perc. Chevrolet Master. ' Coward, C. Chrysler Richmond. Brodribb, C. Studebaker Dictator. Barron, C. Vauxhall 30/98 Wensum. Adam, J. P. Vauxhall 30/98. Winders. R. V. Chandler Big 6."


Theo F. Trevethan raced a 1926 Bugatti Brescia roadster:

(Theo later raced in the famous 1949 Australian Grand Prix at Leyburn in a Ford V8 Special)

"SPECIAL TEAM PRIZE

A special prize Is to be awarded to the team obtaining the highest aggregate points. The following five teams have been entered:— C. W. Whatmore, A. B. Gillespie and J. E. Pike; G. F. G. Lee, T. F. Trevethan and J. P. Love;

Mrs. H. Kyne, R. Wedmaier. and E. W. Parker; A. P. Taylor, R. C. Coren and R. V. Winders: and G. Russel, S. Butters and N. Mackay.

Each competitor Is allowed two attendants in his pit and a further prize is provided for the winner's pit attendants."

1936 race start and finish outside the Filmers Palace Hotel at Woody Point.

(The photo below is from the 1950s:)

  • Sunday Mail Sun 2 Aug 1936 Page 16

"NOVEL FEATURES

The event, which was started by the Mayor of Redcliffe (Alderman A. H. Langdon), had novel features, after the fall of the starting flag, each competitor had to change a sparking plug before leaving, and during the trial every driver had to take his car Into the pits and change a wheel, without assistance. Some drivers changed wheels with surprising speed, T. P. Trevethan taking only 25sec.

There were many thrills as the cars shot around sharp corners at high speeds, and C. Barren dispersed the onlookers when he skidded off the road near the Palace Hotel.

B. J. Howes, who drove a Riley, figured in a sensational accident. His car turned completely over, and his passenger. C. V. Perrott, suffered a broken collarbone. A broken front axle compelled J. W. Gottstein to retire, and a broken front wheel put C. Coward out of the event. This driver fitted a new wheel, but as he had no chance of success he was flagged off by the officials."


"S. Butters who came second, sends up clouds of dust as he corners sharply in the RACQ high speed reliability contest at Woody Point on Saturday"

"Mr G.F.G. Lee in his Wolseley Hornet, picks up speed after rounding a corner in the RACQ High Speed Reliability trials at Woody Point."

1930 Wolseley Hornet:


The Telegraph Sat 1 Aug 1936 Page 8

"Youth Injured In Speed Car Spill At Woody Point.

A serious accident in the R.A.C.Q. speed tests was narrowly averted to-day when a competing car left the track near the corner of Duffield Road and the Main Coast Road at Woody Point, skidded 20 feet in loose gravel, rose four or .five feet into the air and landed. upside -down, .'It then rolled over twice. and finished on its side. The driver, Bernard John Howse, 21 kept his seat, . but his companion, Cecil Victor Perrott, 19, was flung out on to the roadway and fractured his left collar bone; .Ambulance men took, him to a private hospital."


  • Queensland Country Life Thu 13 Aug 1936 Page 5 :

"Butters lost several seconds through sliding completely round on a loose corner in his opening lap, and a crash seemed imminent when about six cars came into the corner on his tail, but when the dust cleared only the skid marks were left to show how narrowly disaster had been averted. C. Brodribb, in his Studebaker, slid across the road until contact with the gutter helped to straighten up his big, red single seater, and R. Wedmaier's Morris 12-4 tourer almost struck an electric light pole. A passenger in Howe's Riley received a broken collar-bone as the result of a double capsize on one of the corners. The car was only slightly damaged, and Howes Riley returned to the pits. C. Coward tore his Chrysler's near-side front wheel shaft when, failing to negotiate a rather stony turn and hit the gutter. Barron caused a sensation on his second last lap when, in endeavoring to pick up time, he broadsided on the corner near the pits, and his car charged the spectators. Only skilful handling saved the crowd."


"Howes's car being righted after it had overturned in the R.A.C.Q. high-speed reliability trial at Woody Point on Saturday. The passenger was injured."


"C. Coward's Chrysler"



"Competitors rounding a bend in the RACQ High Speed Reliability Trials at Woody Point.

At this stage Charlie W. Whatmore (Riley) is leading G.F.G. Lee (Wolsley Hornet), C. Coward (Chrysler) , A.P. Taylor (Deluge Sports) and V.P. Dear (Ford 10hp)"

Charlie Whatmore racing in a Riley in this event, went on to race in many events and competed in the 1949 Australian Grand Prix at Leyburn racing a Studebaker Special.

1931 Alvis:


Courier-Mail Monday 3 August 1936:

"LOVE WINS IN ALVIS.

High-speed Reliability Trial

Successful R.A.C.Q. Event.

Though compelled to average speeds as high as 42 m.p.h. in a 7 1/2-mile journey over a circuit of 2.65 miles, several of the competitors in the high-speed reliability trial held by the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland at Woody Point on Saturday afternoon, emerged from the ordeal with flying colours. There were 26 competitors, 15 of whom finished. The trial attracted a large gathering of spectators, and was generally voted the most sporting event yet conducted by the R.A.C.Q. The winner, J. P. Love, who drove an Alvis four-cylinder car, recorded a remarkable performance, failing to average his set speed, 39 m.p.h., by only three seconds. The speeds that had to be averaged Class C (2000 c.c. and over), 42 m.p.h.; class B (up to and including 2000 c.c), 39 m.p.h.; class A (up to and including 1000 c.c), 35 m.p.h.

As there were eight corners on the short course, doubts were expressed concerning the ability of the drivers to average the speeds set, but the critics were confounded, and several competitors actually were compelled to slow down over the concluding laps in order to avoid losing points."



C. Barron drove a Vauxhall 30/98 Wensum:


Campbell John Brodribb drove a 1935 Studebaker 1B Commander Eight Australian Boat Tail Sports Roadster in the RACQ trials and the car has been restored and is available to view at this link




Morris 12/4:

"R.V. Winder (Chandler) sends up a dust screen on a soft patch during the RACQ speed reliability trials at Woody Point."

1925 Chandler Six:


J.P. Love drove an 4 cylinder Alvis Tourer to win the event, obtaining 997 points out of 1000.

(He went on to serve as a Lt. Colonial in WW2 and he was also a long time committee member of the Queensland Aero Club)

MG Midget 1930:




A Bugatti in full flight:

(Photo not of the Woody Point event - Theo Trevethan managed to keep all 4 wheels on his car)

1933 Riley:


"BILL FOR THE R.A.C.Q.

Aldermen complained that the R.A C Q. speed reliability trial at Woody Point had damaged roads and obstructed traffic. The Mayor (Alderman Langdon) said he had given permission, and the fixture had attracted a large section of the motoring public to Redcliffe. He did not know It was to be a road race when he gave permission. The damage to roads had been trifling. The council decided by 4 votes to 3 to forward an account tor £3/15/- to the R.A.C.Q., being the cost of the damage to roads. Appreciation was expressed of the generous publicity given to Redcliffe by The Courier-Mail on the occasion of the visit of Federal Ministers to Redcliffe."


A page from the Pictorial History Of Redcliffe Book 1824-1949:


The 1936 Speed trials followed an earlier RACQ Speed event held at Woody Point on the 'under construction' Hornibrook Bridge on September 7th 1935: (The bridge was opened 4 weeks later on the 4th October 1935)


"QUEENSLAND SPEED RECORDS TO BE ATTEMPTED. R.A.C.Q. To Conduct Tests at Woody Point.

Flying and Standing Quarter Mile.

On Saturday afternoon, September 7, the R.A.C.Q. will hold a series of speed tests on the new road at the Woody Point end of the Hornibrook Highway.

These competitions will be held over a distance of a quarter, of a mile and will include both standing and flying start.

Through the Royal Automobile Club in Great Britain, Australia has now joined tho International Association of Recognised Automobile Clubs, which is the international authority governing automobile competitions. Tho Australian Automobile Association, of which the. R.A.C.Q. is a constituent member, is now in solo control of the Hport of automoblism throughout the Commonwealth. This means, therefore, that any records established in connection with the forthcoming events will receive official recognition.

The events to be held at Woody Point will be the first championship events to be held in Queensland under the new National Competition rules and records for the State will be established.

The competing cars will be divided into six classes in accordance with the piston displacement as provided in the international rules. Record certificates will be issued to the

winners of the various classes by the competitions committee of, the Australian Automobile Association in Sydney.

In addition to these record certificates and medallions will be awarded, and there will also be special trophies for the fastest times of the day in both the flying and standing start events. A special trophy will also be awarded to the private owner-driver or son of an owner who has never before competed in a speed event, and who gets the fastest time irrespective of class.

It Is hoped that this will help to encourage many drivers to enter for their maiden competition. There will also be two handicap events, so that every driver entering, will have an equal chance of winning.

The competitions are open events—that is, open to all motorists, whether members of the R.A.C.Q. or not, but all entrants and drivers must have A;A.A. competitors, and drivers' licences. An intending competitor, who has not already obtained his licence, should apply to the secretary of the R.A.C.Q. as early as possible. Full particulars and conditions governing the contests may be had on application to the secretary, R.A.C.Q., headquarters, Brisbane.

Queensland Country Life Thu 12 Sep 1935 Page 5 : "First State Car Records SPEED TESTS AT CLONTARF Adverse Weather A series of motor speed events staged by the R.A.C.Q. at Woody Point on September 7 mark a definite step in the motoring history of Queensland, especially as regards speed records. The fastest times in each class now become recognised as State records, whereas previous competitions did not carry this honour. The championship tests were, for the first time, open to all drivers, only the handicap events being reserved for Club members. Mr. W. Northam at the wheel of a Hudson roadster secured the laurels for both the flying and standing start runs over the quarter-mile with speeds of 80 and 46 1/2 miles per hours respectively."

"The venue was the Woody Point section of the Hornibrook Highway, which is practically completed, and which connects Sandgate and Woody Point by spanning the Pine River and Hayes Inlet. The road was made available through the courtesy of the Constructors of the Highway, M. R. Hornibrook Pty. Ltd., Hornibrook Highway Ltd. and the Redcliffe Council. The course bordered the water's edge for its entire length, and although the roadway was of solid construction the top surface was loose, being covered with screenings, apparently to protect it from the speeding tyres.

A Bitter Day. Despite the distance from the metropolis—about 30 miles—and the dull, cheerless afternoon, the attendance was a record. The course was lined by spectators in the early stages, but, as the day waned, they gradually dispersed—perhaps the chill wind that blew across the water may have had something to do with this. The loose surface and the head wind, which became very strong in the final trials, prevented sensational times being registered. The tests were run one way and the competitions were divided into five classes, according to engine capacities, as follows:

—Class C. over 3000 c.c. and up to 5000 c.c.; class D. 2000 to 3000 c.c.; class F. 1100 to 1500 c.c.; 3.5 seconds gave him the handicap trophy in class G. J. E. Pike was the only entrant in class H. but his 1927 Austin 7 special roadster averaged a shade over 56 m.p.h. R. Bulcock at the wheel of his M.G. Midget secured fastest time in class G. with a speed of 60 m.p.h."

1927 Austin 7 Ulster roadster:

"The Acceleration Test. The standing start section provided many thrills, as the car wheels spun on the loose surface. J. Mackiehan and A. B. Gillespie, both of whom were driving stripped chassis, caused many a gasp as their lightened vehicles capered about the road until they were well under way. On his second run Mackiehan had a bag of sand, for ballast, tied on to the back crossmember and he improved his wheelgrip to such an extent that he bettered his time by 1.33 seconds, and thus secured first place on handicap. W. Northam's Hudson was again on scratch, and in this event he came second, being beaten by 0.39 seconds. In his last run he also experienced back wheel sildes as he crammed on all his power in an endeavour to come out on top. He was the last to run, and knew that he had to clip 0.59 seconds off his time to win the handicap, but owing to slides, the strong headwind, and the failing light he only reduced it by 0.19 seconds. Crowd Breaks Tape. The standard Chevrolet sedan driven by L. Drapes did well in attaining about 69 m.p.h. in the flying quarter and doing the standing start in 21.28 seconds. This driver had an unlucky afternoon. On his first run in the flying event his time was missed ."

"J. Harris (Plymouth roadster) about to break the tape in the acceleration test. He won the flying handicap:"

A 1930 Plymouth vintage racecar:


"J. Harris (Plymouth roadster) about to break the tape in the acceleration test. He won the flying handicap. class 6. 750 to 1100 c.c.; class H. under 750 c.c. The drivers were allowed one run in, the flying quarter-mile, and two in the standing start test, which was really an acceleration test. Of the entry of 32 four were non starters, and only one failed to complete a timed run. The Flying Start.

J. Harris, with a Plymouth roadster minus guards, won the first event, the flying start. His actual time was 11.61 seconds, approximately 78 m.p.h., and a handicap of 0.4 seconds gave him first place. W. Northam in his eight cylinder Hudson carved the distance out in 11.27 seconds, the fastest time, but as he was on the scratch mark he had to be content with third place on handicap, because C. W. Barron with his 1927 Wensum Vauxhall had an allowance of 1.0 second, which, with his time of 12.16 seconds (74 m.p.h.) placed him second. A feature of the event, was the close handicapping, the first eight contestants securing net times of under 12 seconds, and.being separated by only 0.7 seconds. The first seven placed men were in class C. The eighth was J, Mactiehan, who drove a stripped chassis Willys 77 in class D.; the next three were in class C. Life In The Old Jobs. That the old cars had good stuff in them was evidenced by the performance of several entrants who were driving eight and nine year old models. A. J. Laverack and his 1926 Crossley tourer—a four cylinder—was placed sixth, his actual time being 12.77 seconds (70 m.p.h.). T. F. Trevethan's 1926 four cylinder Bugatti did just over 60 m.p.h. (14.96 seconds) the best time in class F. A 1927 model Salmson, driven by G. B. Hopper covered the timed stretch in 16.4 seconds, which, less an allowance of then his second in the other test was also missed—the crowd walking over the road repeatedly broke the tape, whilst a competitor was in the course of his run and he, of course, had to return and start all over again. Drapes was particularly unfortunate in the fact that his second run seemed a lot faster than his first. Then, when he eventually had his third attempt, he struck trouble just after he had engaged top gear and so did not com plete two timed runs in the second event. The drivers were allowed a run of about a quarter-mile in the flying start event and they were soon through the measured distance amidst a cloud of dust which caused the audience to cross to the windward side. It was not necessary for cars to be standard models, but alterations and additions had to be specified. No practice runs were permitted to be made on the course, and as a result every driver had the same chance."


Theo F. Trevethan raced a 1926 Bugatti Brescia roadster:

(Theo later raced in the famous 1949 Australian Grand Prix at Leyburn in a Ford V8 Special)

A video of a 90 yr old Bugatti T35 at the Festival of Speed can be viewed at this link

The 1926 Bugatti Brescia roadster car raced by Theo F. Trevethan in 1935/36 was Chassis #2784, and has been restored:


Cold Affects Engines. Several competitors disliked the cold wind as it affected the temperature of their engines and many an assistant stood coatless whilst his garment covered the radiator of a car. One driver remarked that he wished he could get his engine to boil as he though he would be able to improve his time if he could manage to do so, and as "Queensland Country Life's" representative left him, his foot was still hard down on the throttle as he awaited his turn. The R.A.C.Q. is to be congratulated on the organisation of the events, and for the manner in which the public were advised of the competitors' time. Perhaps some method may be adopted best time that will ensue that heedless "Jay walkers" do not break the tape and spoil competitors' attempts."

"Roy Bulcock in his 1933 MG Midget with which he established fastest time in class G:"

Roy Bulcock in his J2 MG registered Q178.887:

Roy also had won the Mytletown Sprints in 1934 and owned the car until the start of WW2.

He enlisted in the RAAF and became a Flight Lieutenant, before being captured by the Japanese in Java while repairing a Spitfire. He was lucky to survive internment and wrote a book: "Of Death But Once"

The 1930 MG Midget raced by Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Basil Gillespie at this event is on display at Carrolls Transport Depot in Coolum Beach and can be viewed at the following link

Photo by Tony Slattery:


"G.B. Hopper in his Samson Roadster,, in which he won both flying and standard start handicaps:"

Geoff B.Hopper was a motorcycle racer and distributor and along with his brother Eric, were the Hopper Brothers business based in Queen St Brisbane.



"FIRST CAR OVER Hornibrook Highway Crossed

The Hornibrook Highway, on which the R.A.C.Q. speed events were held, is to be officially opened by the Governor (Sir Leslie Wilson) on Friday, October 4, at 3 p.m The last spike has been driven into the decking, and the work of laying the bitumen has been commenced. On September 14, whilst competitors were speeding along the roadway, men were placing the last planks into position. The work was completed at dusk. A motor truck occupied by these workmen, was driven across the causeway, followed by Mr. M. R. Hornibrook. The Mayor of Redcliffe (Alderman A. H. Langdon), in a brief ceremony at Woody Point, congratulated the firm on the completion of the bridge, which, he said, was one of the largest toll bridges constructed by private enterprise in Queensland. For a motor car carrying not more than six persons the toll will be 3/ each way."

A video of the construction and opening of the Hornbrook Bridge can be viewed and the following link






A framed 16x20 poster featuring many of the historical cars in chronological order with illustrations of iconic cars produced each year, from 1915 to 1968.Available to view in our Cominos Arcade shop or view and purchase online at: https://www.redcliffebook.com/product-page/framed-20x16-goodyear-car-poster-featuring-cars-from-1915-68


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