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Toowoomba race events - Middle Ridge Circuit - Carnival of Flowers


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#1 cooper997

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 00:21

Bob Williamson's facebook page has been unearthing some interesting photos and has found many names from around here posting there. So maybe TNF needs to have a presence on Facebook to generate some new blood or even hang on to those already here.

 

Not a lot has been said about Toowoomba's Middle Ridge circuit, there was a piece on the shortlived circuit in Australian Muscle Car mag issue 63 about 5 1/2 years ago, but these have popped up on Bob's site. Posted by Quentin Miles, with his dad snapping them all those years ago.

 

As far as I'm aware there was only 2 meetings, both run in September of 1960 & 61 as part of Toowoomba's Carnival of Flowers Festival

 

This is the first Falcon ever to race in Australia by the local Ford dealer, Edsel Falconer.

https://www.facebook...3&theater&ifg=1

28515287_350070718841284_781233970956754

 

 

https://www.facebook...3&theater&ifg=1

28619662_350341235480899_195938294575813

Looks like Arnold Glass Cooper Maserati hunting down Glyn Scott's Cooper, with Chas Whatmore Lotus, Tony Basile Porsche, maybe even the Erbs Prefect special that was subject here some time ago amongst this little group.

 

If the above photo can be proven to be the September 1960 meeting like the Falcon photo , then that would possibly make this the debut of the ex Gilby Cooper-Maserati in Arnold's hands. If it's 1961 then it's when Arnold and Denis Geary struck a deal for the later to take over that car, with the former having moved (and already wrecked)  the BRM.

 

Stephen


Edited by cooper997, 08 March 2018 - 00:23.


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#2 MarkBisset

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 08:12

Stephen,
Unbelievable shots- I've never heard of the Toowoomba Middle Ridge circuit, clearly I need to get out more.
There is some stunning stuff appearing on FB lately- Bob Williamson's site and the Historid Racing Car Club of Tas to name two.
I use FB to drive some traffic to my masterpiece.

It's interesting the way social media evolves- it seems to me FB is as much old fokkers these days as sprogs, my 22-27 y old sons abandoned it for Instagram and Snapchat yonks ago, so our kinda folks are on it far more than a decade ago.

The beauty of TNF is the standard of serious research and debate you have here- stunning over a sustained15 year period or so. The comments, with some exceptions on FB are more of the ooh-aah end of things, which does not advance yer knowledge base much.

There is a place for both of course. Long may TNF rule- the next time we have a beer I'll get you to show me how to upload shots- that is MUCH easier on FB- and they don't disappear into the ether either!

M

#3 Lola5000

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 08:36

Stephen,
Unbelievable shots- I've never heard of the Toowoomba Middle Ridge circuit, clearly I need to get out more.
There is some stunning stuff appearing on FB lately- Bob Williamson's site and the Historid Racing Car Club of Tas to name two.
I use FB to drive some traffic to my masterpiece.

It's interesting the way social media evolves- it seems to me FB is as much old fokkers these days as sprogs, my 22-27 y old sons abandoned it for Instagram and Snapchat yonks ago, so our kinda folks are on it far more than a decade ago.

The beauty of TNF is the standard of serious research and debate you have here- stunning over a sustained15 year period or so. The comments, with some exceptions on FB are more of the ooh-aah end of things, which does not advance yer knowledge base much.

There is a place for both of course. Long may TNF rule- the next time we have a beer I'll get you to show me how to upload shots- that is MUCH easier on FB- and they don't disappear into the ether either!

M

Some wonderful photos over the last week on FB.



#4 GeoffR

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 10:10

Not a lot has been said about Toowoomba's Middle Ridge circuit, there was a piece on the shortlived circuit in Australian Muscle Car mag issue 63 about 5 1/2 years ago, but these have popped up on Bob's site. 

Stephen

 

Our daughter lives in Toowoomba and I found a map of the old Middle Ridge circuit and drove the actual circuit used a few years ago. All houses now!!



#5 Lola5000

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 10:18

Our daughter lives in Toowoomba and I found a map of the old Middle Ridge circuit and drove the actual circuit used a few years ago. All houses now!!

Local boy Les Agnew would have raced at that track.



#6 Terry Walker

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 03:35

I colour-corrected those two Middle Ridge photos. Not perfect, but better. Also resized a tad.

 

Middleridge1.jpg

 

Middleridge2.jpg



#7 ed holly

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 08:38

Local boy Les Agnew would have raced at that track.

Agree ... and in fact the blue Lotus with the white nose and stripe I believe is either Les or George Jamieson being the Lotus Eleven now in my care after being with John Partridge for 30 odd years. George had the car imported directly from the UK with the help of Charlie Whatmore. Bob's Facebook page has turned up some incredible photos of non-front running cars which were usually ignored by the mainstream ... Sure will add this and the venue to the car's history file ...

 

Edit ....

 

The stripe didn't appear till Bevan Flemming's time with the car which according to photos I have - dates it between June and November 61 and of course means it is not Les or George, but Bevan .... which dates it to the 1961 meeting.


Edited by ed holly, 09 March 2018 - 08:52.


#8 cooper997

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 01:59

Handy when a few enthusiasts throw together a piece or two each regarding Middle Ridge.

 

Further to my own waffle when the Middle Ridge photos were first placed here, I can add to Ed's post that the group of racing cars photo is indeed the 1961 CoFF event. Since posting the photos the other day, I've found that Arnold Glass was at the 1960 CoFF event with the 250F.

 

For the record the 1961 running of Middle Ridge was Sat, September 23. then on the Sunday they headed to Prince Henry's Drive for the Australian Hillclimb Championship. Also part of the Carnival of Flowers Festival.. So Ed, you can add that to your records, because Bevan ran the Lotus there too.

 

It would be great if GeoffR can organise some modern photos of the circuit. Then it would almost justify the Mods, Tim or Richard splitting these Middle Ridge posts into a thread of their own.

 

Stephen



#9 ed holly

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 06:53

Thanks Stephen - there is quite a write up in RCN November 1961 about the Toowoomba Races ... 



#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 08:45

Originally posted by cooper997
.....It would be great if GeoffR can organise some modern photos of the circuit. Then it would almost justify the Mods, Tim or Richard splitting these Middle Ridge posts into a thread of their own.


Seeing as I'm in Toowoomba most weeks I could do that.

#11 cooper997

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 08:53

Ed, Unfortunately an issue I can't access..

 

Stephen



#12 cooper997

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 09:06

Ray, if you're a regular to the area then that sounds like a plan.

 

You probably already know but this map was posted after the Middle Ridge photo on Bob's Facebook

 

28782763_10214129946336650_1569644232768

 

Stephen


Edited by cooper997, 10 March 2018 - 09:07.


#13 Lola5000

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 09:30

Agree ... and in fact the blue Lotus with the white nose and stripe I believe is either Les or George Jamieson being the Lotus Eleven now in my care after being with John Partridge for 30 odd years. George had the car imported directly from the UK with the help of Charlie Whatmore. Bob's Facebook page has turned up some incredible photos of non-front running cars which were usually ignored by the mainstream ... Sure will add this and the venue to the car's history file ...

 

Edit ....

 

The stripe didn't appear till Bevan Flemming's time with the car which according to photos I have - dates it between June and November 61 and of course means it is not Les or George, but Bevan .... which dates it to the 1961 meeting.

Small world, Les Agnew was a great friend of my fathers ,he also raced the MG-Holden Ian Tate now has ,owned a hardware store in Toowoomba ,also came 6th in the 1959 TT?


Edited by Lola5000, 10 March 2018 - 09:30.


#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 21:35

Originally posted by cooper997
Ray, if you're a regular to the area then that sounds like a plan.
 
You probably already know but this map was posted after the Middle Ridge photo on Bob's Facebook


Well, I didn't...

I only sent that photo of the page in Terry's book to eldougo on Thursday.

As soon as I get up to Toowoomba again, some time this week, I'll get pics. I tried to get a Google earth shot of the corner into which those cars are going but the tree in the roundabout gets in the way. The curve into which they're turning is no longer driveable. The circuit is around the outer edges of this Google Earth screenshot:

0318middleridge.jpg

You can see that curve in the bottom left corner, the downhill braking area I mentioned is in the bottom right corner.

#15 ed holly

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 23:55

Here is the RCN report on the September 1961 event.

 

Toowoomba1.jpg

 

Toowoomba2.jpg


Edited by ed holly, 29 April 2018 - 21:54.


#16 cooper997

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 04:22

Thanks Ray for the google map, Ed for the very rare RCN report and Tim/Richard for moving all the relevant posts.

 

Since all this Middle Ridge interest started I've found another date that could very well be a Middle Ridge meeting.on September 19, 1959.

 

Stephen



#17 john aston

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 07:20

Caught my eye- my late mum went to school in Towoomba . When did racing start there ? 



#18 GeoffR

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 07:25

this map was posted after the Middle Ridge photo on Bob's Facebook
 
28782763_10214129946336650_1569644232768
 
Stephen

 
This is the map we used to find and drive around the circuit, but sorry, didn't think to take photos at the time. Maybe next time we visit Toowoomba.

#19 cooper997

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 09:06

Caught my eye- my late mum went to school in Towoomba . When did racing start there ? 

 

That makes you an honorary Aussie then, John. No doubt drinking XXXX when you go to the local pub.

 

As far as currently known, Middle Ridge appears to be 3 annual meetings in 1959 to 1961. However, the Darling Downs region that Toowoomba and surrounds is known, goes back to events at Lowood and Leyburn immediate post war - with Australian GP's held at each. There's also Prince Henry's Drive for hillclimbs. You drive a matter of a few kilometres from the main Toowoomba shopping centre and there's houses on one side and a shear drop on the other - that's Prince Henry's Drive where the 1955 and 1961 Australian Hillclimb championships were held. .

 

Stephen



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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 13:41

That's not the total story, Stephen, as I'm sure you've guessed...

Leyburn was run by Brisbane's QMSC in 1949, but the Toowoomba Auto Club conducted meetings there from 1951. The Queensland Road Racing Championship headed the bill that year, the Darling Downs Championship headed he bill in 1952. Later the TAC started running meetings at Lowood and then came Middle Ridge.

After that a small circuit was built at Echo Valley, with hillclimbs as well as circuit racing, the latter being club racing only. And hillclimbs (including the Australian Championship twice) were held on Prince Henry Drive.

I'm not sure, but I imagine that the Murphy's Creek hillclimbs were a part of the Toowoomba Auto Club's activiy too.

#21 Kenzclass

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 06:48

Wish I’d looked at the Middle Ridge photos yesterday (Sunday) as I was up, down and along all those circuit streets yesterday.
From the topography in the background, it looks like the Falcon is eastbound up Alderley St, not far from Mackenzie St, which runs along East Creek. From memory, Alderley St rises pretty evenly east up to Rowbotham, and Stenner falls pretty consistent down to the now-defunct right-hander in the other photo.
Looks like the house behind the Falcon is gone - the whole area and further south of the circuit has been pretty much saturated with new low-set brick estate housing in the last few years.

Edited by Kenzclass, 12 March 2018 - 07:15.


#22 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 08:07

I think it's in Rowbotham...

I'll get pics this week.




.

Edited by Ray Bell, 12 March 2018 - 22:50.


#23 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 12:33

You are right, Kenz, about the street...

Certainly closer to Mackenzie than Rowbotham, but not much so, it's No 110 Alderley Street:

0318middleridge110alderley.jpg

That's right, the original weatherboard house is still there and identifiable...

0318middleridgefalcon.jpg

Not only that, but the white house in the distance is still there too, it's No 124. Both have had a bit of a polish up since the sixties, alterations and extensions, but both are identifiable.

I was in a bit of a hurry today so I only established this, tomorrow I should have time to do a photo-lap of the circuit as it is today.

#24 Kenzclass

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 12:38

Good stuff, Ray! And thanks for the specific street numbers.

I'm due to work up there again on Friday week, and will be finished early enough to drive the track in daylight and view those houses.

A couple of exploratory laps, then I'll go for a time  :cool:  - might be a bit rough through Gordon Motors Bend these days, though.

Ken.


Edited by Kenzclass, 13 March 2018 - 12:41.


#25 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 12:54

Certainly would be...

I tried it on Google Earth last night, maybe you can practise it there first?




.

Edited by Ray Bell, 13 March 2018 - 12:55.


#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 13:45

Kenz, maybe you should let me know when you're in Toowoomba and I'll see if I can arrange to meet up with you...

Generally I'm here Tuesday through Thursday morning, sometimes Monday as well.

What I must try to do is get to see Fred Burge, he will have stuff about all these meetings. And he'll be able to confirm whether or not Toowoomba Auto Club ran Murphy's Creek hillclimbs.

He would remember them, even though he was in Warwick for some time during the fifties.

#27 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 12:15

Looking down Stenner Street towards the West...

This is the opposite view to that in the shot of the group starting the race, with the former peel-off to the right in the distance:

0318middleridgestenner.jpg

Once around that curve, which now serves as a parking lot for a school or church, Mackenzie Street drops away and then climbs again, this view being right at the point where the old curve emerged:

0318middleridgemackenziefromtop.jpg

Further down Mackenzie there's now a roundabout, the rate of climb of the road from here can be seen in the distance in the pic of the Falcon in Alderley Street, but this is how it looks in Mackenzie as one ascends:

0318middleridgemackenziecrest.jpg

It's probably the climbing and dropping away that made the circuit more interesting to drive. Here, after cresting the Mackenzie Street hill with 1.1kms of flat out running after coming from the now-defunct curve, it's necessary to brake for a sharpish downhill run into the right-angle turn into Alderley Street:

0318middleridgemackenzieentryalderley.jp

The descent continues for a short time in Alderley, then a steady climb of another 1.1kms...

0318middleridgeAlderleyfromMack.jpg

Past No 124, visible in the distance in the Falcon shot:

0318middleridge124alderley.jpg

Rowbotham Street arrives with a level braking area...

0318middlerridgealderleytorowbotham.jpg

...and more acceleration is called for to ascend to the distant crest:

0318middlerridgeexitalderleyrowbotham.jp

Now we're heading for what must have been the trickiest part of the circuit... over that crest...

0318middlerridgerowbothomcrest.jpg

...and pull it up on this sharp drop to the tightest corner on the circuit:

0318middleridgerowbothambraking.jpg

It's the tightest because the hill drops away sharply and the road has to double back a little to stay at the right level, this creates what looks like a 'bus stop' with a tweak in and a tweak out to the otherwise straight Stenner Street...

0318middleridgestennertweak1.jpg

0318middlerridgestennertweak2.jpg

And so we're back to the start/finish straight in Stenner Street. I need to mention that the descent down Stenner has its ups and downs, they can be seen in that race-start photo, but here is a slightly different angle to show how the grid area was flat and the downhill run was irregular:

0318middleridgegridlookingback.jpg

Note that this is looking back, in the same direction as the photo of the start was taken.

I was able to measure the circuit and it was 4.3kms/2.67kms.

#28 cooper997

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 18:06

Thanks for going to the trouble of recording the circuit in modern times, Ray. Most in the area would be unaware that anything of the like ever took place in their streets.

 

Certainly looks lmore a challenge, than the map would have you think.

 

As suburban Toowoomba, I assume this area is still called Middle Ridge?

 

Here's Keith Thallon's piece from December 1960 SCW relating to the Saturday, September 17, 1960 meeting (aka the Falcon photo meeting). Many enthusiasts around the globe may know his son, Don for his racing at various Historic meetings.

 

1960_Middle_Ridge_SCW_report_01.jpg

1960_Middle_Ridge_SCW_report_02.jpg

 

Stephen


Edited by cooper997, 19 April 2018 - 11:23.


#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 23:13

With the Falcon's Australian release only taking place in that same month, Stephen, I would have thought the Alderley Street photo would have been much more likely to have been the 1961 meeting.

As for the challenge, I first drove around this circuit perhaps 20 years ago and I immediately saw the difficulty of the braking area at the end of Rowbotham Street.

I would imagine quite a number of early Holdens would have got skittish in the rear end at both that one and the one in Mackenzie!

#30 cooper997

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 00:57

Ray, the Falcon being raced just days after release is pretty much the whole premise of the Australian Muscle Car Middle Ridge feature, Pre-dating the Armstrong 500 Falcon entries by 2 months. Story by Luke West, but research credited to John Evans. If iI'm not barking up the wrong tree and it's the same John Evans I'm thinking, then he helped run the Victorian Super Mini Series in the mid to late 80s, but also had a major interest in speedway. They obviously found a programme from somewhere because there's a page showing Event 3 Sports Car Handicap and Event 4 Saloon Car Handicap with the #30 Falcon entry. And yes, Ed's Lotus and the Whatmore car are both listed. 

 

If someone has any Middle Ridge programmes in their collection then please let it be known here.

 

Stephen



#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 04:25

You've got me there, I didn't know there was a Muscle Car article...

But maybe it's been mentioned on Facebook.

#32 TerryS

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 06:56

You've got me there, I didn't know there was a Muscle Car article...But maybe it's been mentioned on Facebook.


Ray refer middle para of post# 1

#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 13:50

Originally posted by cooper997
.....This is the first Falcon ever to race in Australia by the local Ford dealer, Edsel Falconer.....


his has been bugging me for over a week...

"Edsel Falconer"? Somebody's got to be kidding.

I haven't been able to speak to Fred, he's been crook, but it's certainly a question to ask him.

#34 cooper997

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 17:56

Ray, To add to your concerns the business was Falconer Motors. No doubt he had his name long before Ford, be it in the USA or Australia, decided on the Falcon name (or the Edsel, for that matter).  I dare say it's not as contrived as the Melbourne Chrysler dealer who ran as Jack Eiffel because his business name was Eiffel Tower Motors and was doing his best to beat the CAMS advertising issues of the day.

 

No doubt being in the Toowoomba district you'll find someone who remembers the business, and perhaps even the man,

 

Here's the first page of the AMC feature with the entry list highlighting the Ford Falcon(er) entry.

AMC_Middle_Ridge.jpg

 

Stephen.


Edited by cooper997, 19 April 2018 - 11:24.


#35 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 21:18

Indeed, Stephen, it's true...

While I await further information from Bob Trevan, here's a picture to add to the melee:

0318falconer.jpg

This is about 1936, so well before the Falcon name was considered! Obviously Edsel was keen on promotion with that tower, apparent;y famous in Toowoomba. This was right in the main street of the growing town. He also raced a 1956 Customline, do we have anything on that? Perhaps that ran at the first Middle Ridge event?

This, too, is interesting... from a club newsletter, the Darling Downs Veteran-Vintage Motor Club:
 

Perhaps the most prestigious rally organised by our club was the Edsel Falconer Memorial Rally. Falconer Motors was the Ford dealer in Toowoomba and Edsel Falconer, who passed away a few years after the club was established, was the director for a period of time.

Nev Dorman worked as a spray painter with Falconers and must have influenced the Falconer family to sponsor a rally in Edsel’s memory. The first run was held in 1975 and the tradition was begun to leave from the Falconer Motors premises in Ruthven St (now Mitsubishi).

Edsel Falconer was also involved with the show society and each year the run would finish with a lap around the show ring as it coincided with the Saturday of the Toowoomba Show. A large metal badge was produced by the show society each year and presented to all the participants.

In those days the public seemed to be very enthusiastic about veteran and vintage vehicles.


I gather that Falconer's lost the Ford franchise, which is now held in Toowoomba by Armstrong Ford. Which is bad enough in this context!




.

Edited by Ray Bell, 19 March 2018 - 22:28.


#36 Team Result

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 13:31

Indeed, Stephen, it's true...

While I await further information from Bob Trevan, here's a picture to add to the melee:

0318falconer.jpg

This is about 1936, so well before the Falcon name was considered! Obviously Edsel was keen on promotion with that tower, apparent;y famous in Toowoomba. This was right in the main street of the growing town. He also raced a 1956 Customline, do we have anything on that? Perhaps that ran at the first Middle Ridge event?

This, too, is interesting... from a club newsletter, the Darling Downs Veteran-Vintage Motor Club:

 

I gather that Falconer's lost the Ford franchise, which is now held in Toowoomba by Armstrong Ford. Which is bad enough in this context!

 
They were trading as Falconer Ford at least in the early seventies when I worked for the Queensland Ford parts distributor and sent urgent parts orders up to them on McCafferty`s Coaches.

#37 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 13:40

Thanks, Ross...

I'm still waiting on Bob Trevan because of a comment he made. He has told me, though, that Hugh Falconer started the business with Ford, Essex, Fiat and Hupmobile agencies in 1919. It became an official Ford dealership in 1925, so maybe they were a sub-dealer for Ford before that.

Bob knows about these things because his father was a Ford dealer from 1910, Bob succeeded him as dealer principal and only relinquished the business in 2008.

I've seen 1970s pics of the dealership with some googling, but I'm still to determine when they lost the franchise.

#38 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 07:42

With help from both Bob and Doug Partington...

Edsel Ford was named after Henry Ford's very close boyhood friend, Edsel Ruddiman and was born in 1893. He was handed the Presidency of FoMoCo in 1918, but Henry still pulled the strings. He died in 1943 and old Henry took over the company again.

Edsel Falconer was named after Edsel Ford and was born in September, 1923 when Edsel Ford was 'tinkering with his father's cars' and playing a part in encouragement of his father to modernise the cars. Of course, market forces were on his side and the Model A came when Hugh Falconer was a fairly fresh official Ford dealer.

Another Ford dealer operated in Toowoomba, owned by the Griffiths family, who owned foundries. These two families were the 'big industrialists' of Toowoomba in the thirties, forties and fifties.

I am still tracking down just when Edsel began racing his two-tone blue '56 Customline, but I would imagine it was at Middle Ridge and Lowood. Kenzclass?

Hugh was still running the company when he died in 1963, Edsel took over until his untimely death in 1975. The franchise was, along with other parts of the business (wrecking yard, paint shop etc) sold off.



.

Edited by Ray Bell, 21 March 2018 - 20:34.


#39 Kenzclass

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 09:55

Was this ‘Falconer’ pronounced as ‘Faulkner’? It often is.
Ray, the Cusso doesn’t appear in either of my 1958 Lowood programs; it thought it may, Lowood being the closest contemporary permanent circuit to Toowoomba.
Perhaps it was like the Beechey Impala - lightly raced with a view to sale; OHV Cusso’s would have appealed to the wealthy Toowoomba-based graziers of the era, new or lightly raced.

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#40 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 12:05

I believe it was so pronounced, Kenz...

But the moment I mentioned him racing the Falcon to Bob he immediately told me he'd raced a '56 Customline, and when I mentioned him to Doug Partington he told me it was two-tone blue.

It must have raced a few times.

#41 Kenzclass

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 16:50

Interesting and very comprehensive article on ‘The Falconer Dynasty’ in here:
http://www.toowoomba...rag_2010_03.pdf
This is the article which Ray quoted an excerpt from earlier.
Also, on both Facebook and Linkedin, you’ll find an Edsel Falconer - currently living in Brisbane, but home town Toowoomba. Would be in his fifties now, looking af his schooling date on Linkedin.
Surely part of the Dynasty?

Edited by Kenzclass, 21 March 2018 - 17:06.


#42 cooper997

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 20:36

Good find Ken.

 

Brian Timms 'The Falconer Dynasty' feature certainly covers quite a lot of interesting facts. By the size and scope of the operation there was a lot of families in the Toowoomba district that had members working there throughtout a lengthy period. A Customline gets a mention but not in racing terms.

 

If Edsel raced much more than the 1960 Middle Ridge race then it;s a case of where? I've looked through Lowood programmes spanning 1956, 57, 59, 60 & 61 and not a Falconer name to be spotted amongst the usual suspects of Lowood motor racing during those years.

 

Stephen



#43 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 22:47

That's definitely an anomoly, Stephen...

If others can remember the car so clearly, it must have raced more than once. And at this stage we don't know whether or not Middle Ridge saw racing other than the three times listed.

AMS is no help at all, it seems to me that they reported nothing during that period after the 1955 Leyburn Speed Trials, right back at the beginning of that year.

Even the 1955 Australian Hillclimb Championship doesn't seem to be reported! This title event is normally a cover line on that magazine.

And if we get back to the 'dynasty', Toowoomba also had representation in racing from the other 'dynasty', Arthur Griffiths having been a long-time owner-driver of the Wylie Javelin before moving on to a Cooper Climax and other cars.

#44 Kenzclass

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 23:02

Arthur Griffiths was at Toowoomba Grammar with my late father, as Dad pointed out to me when we were watching him in the Ferrari at Strathpine one day.
Dad seemed to suggest that Arthur was always ‘a bit of a playboy’, IIRC.
As Ray pointed out, the Griffith fortune was derived from Toowoomba Foundry (makers of Southern Cross windmills, pumps and other rural products).

#45 cooper997

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 06:37

That's definitely an anomoly, Stephen...

If others can remember the car so clearly, it must have raced more than once. And at this stage we don't know whether or not Middle Ridge saw racing other than the three times listed.

AMS is no help at all, it seems to me that they reported nothing during that period after the 1955 Leyburn Speed Trials, right back at the beginning of that year.

Even the 1955 Australian Hillclimb Championship doesn't seem to be reported! This title event is normally a cover line on that magazine.

And if we get back to the 'dynasty', Toowoomba also had representation in racing from the other 'dynasty', Arthur Griffiths having been a long-time owner-driver of the Wylie Javelin before moving on to a Cooper Climax and other cars.

Ray, there is certainly a big hole in the reporting of Qld motor racing in AMS during the later half of the 50s. .

 

The Brian Timms feature mentions the Griffiths family taking over he Falconer Ford dealership in 1980. By that and comment by Ken, potentially suggests that Arthur or a relative was behind that.

 

There's also a curious comment in Keith Thallon's 1960 Middle Ridge report (post 28) of "The three leaders all consisitently clobbered the old figure of 1 min 51sec put up two years ago."  That could mean a Middle Ridge meeting in 1958. Not that I've spotted anything in AMS coming events from August or September 1958 issues.

 

That's why it would be handy to track down programmes or local newspaper reports. Where's the Trove experts?

 

Stephen



#46 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 07:26

I was relying on getting to talk to Fred Burge...

But he's in fairly dire straits at the moment and unwilling to talk to anybody.

#47 Kenzclass

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 08:38

Another part of the story re the takeover of Falconers on Page 8 of this:

www.ddvvmc.com.au/rags/polishers_rag_2006_02.pdf

Both Pages 7 & 8 are enlightening in terms of the history of motor sales and company ownership, ownership and amalgamations in Toowoomba.

 

EDIT:

More pieces of the Middle Ridge circuit history:
http://en.wikipedia....dge,_Queensland

"Motor racing circuit[edit]

Between 1958 and 1961 three motor racing events took place at Middle Ridge, to coincide with the 'Carnival of the Flowers' in September.[4] A rectangular circuit using Stenner Street-Mackenzie Street-Alderley Street-Rowbotham Street was run in an anti-clockwise direction.[5] There have been several reasons given why racing stopped after 1961 - local farmers claimed that the races stopped their chickens laying eggs; the carnival organisers believed that loud racing engines were incompatible with flowers; or that the races were pulling spectators away from other Carnival events.[4]"

Footnote (4) cites Terry's 'Fast Tracks" as a source.

So, if there were three meetings from 1958 on, and '60 and '61 are proven to have occured, did 1959 miss out? In Qld's Centenary Year - seems unlikely.

Ray,

If you've got time when next in Toowoomba, it's probably worthwhile contacting John Freeman at Freeman's Hydraulics, Wilstonton on (07) 4633 6300. He's in the age group to have been a possible attendee, and a long-time car enthusiast, so that's a possible lead.

Tell him Ken Carmichael (me) referred you.


Edited by Kenzclass, 22 March 2018 - 11:25.


#48 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 12:32

Well, there you go, Ken...

Our photos clearly show that it was run clockwise and Wikipedia does it again.

I wouldn't be so sure there would have been many chicken farms around either.

#49 Kenzclass

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 22:31

“Is it true, or did you read it on Wikipedia?”

#50 cooper997

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 09:45

Earlier today I triied looking through copies of the late 1950s Australian Motor News. A fortnightly newspaper, long before Auto Action was on the scene.

 

The reason was to see whether Middle Ridge popped up around September 1958 because this title did actually give space to smaller events. However, I have too many gaps in this title and to be honest not even sure how long into 1959 (or later) it lasted.

 

So getting to the point, if any TNF members can access AMN issues, most likely dated September 3; September 17 and October 1, 1958 ( I have both sides of these dates) to check them for Middle Ridge that would be great.  If by chance AMN lasted into September 1959 then the same would be good if editions around that time could be checked also.

 

I did also have a look through SCW and all that appears to offer Qld related, is Keith Thallon's Lowood reports.

 

Failing all that, we might need to somehow tempt Quentin Miles over to the darkside - to TNF from Facebook (or at least, additionally). Because he clearly has some interesting stuff from his father's collection. Today I see !955 Strathpine results added to Bob Williamson Facebook photos page. 

Stephen