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History of the TMCC

The Tasmanian Motor Cycle Club was formed in 1905 and has run continuously since, and claims to be the second oldest club in the British Commonwealth. (In writing the club history I believe that statement to be even better than that but I am still trying to verify).

Originally the club was formed for the interest of both car and bike riders in Launceston and was called the Tasmanian Automobile Club. The constitution stated that membership had to be approximately 50 / 50 car and bike. At events cars would compete with bike riders acting as officials for half the day and the roles swapped for the second half. Right from the start the club ran regular competitive events mainly on the roads in and around Launceston. Hill climbs were held at places like Henry Street, High Street, Denison Road, and Landfall Hill. Acceleration tests were held at many places along the Midlands Highway, The “flying mile” near Longford, Rochalea Road and Nile Road.

After the First World War the motor cycle side wanted more competition events where as the car people wanted touring events and were concerned with politics and improving the lot of the motorist. So the bike sub-committee with the blessing of the car people broke away and called themselves the Northern Tasmanian Motor Cycle Club in 1920.

The NTMCC continued with the theme of competition and in 1923 started racing on the horse racing track at Longford. This major event was to continue until 1926 with many top line riders coming from the mainland. The week after the last Longford meeting the club, with some of its visitors travelled to Bakers Beach and did time trials on the beach. Bakers Beach and Greens Beach were to be used regularly for speed events until the early 1950’s.

In 1927 a group of club members wanted the club to go back to social events and decided to split and call themselves the Launceston Social MCC. When that happened the NTMCC decided to drop the Northern part and become THE TASMANIAN MOTOR CYCLE CLUB.

After the Second World War the returning service men wanted excitement and in the theme of many other places converted disused airstrips into race tracks. Valleyfield Quorn Hall and Tunbridge were to be used from 1945 to 1955. At both circuit racing and beach racing events the TMCC ran the events and invited interested car clubs to have a few supporting events.

In 1953 the TMCC were awarded the Australian Motor Cycle TT and were planning to run it on one of the airstrips. Under the strong leadership of club President Martin Coombe the TMCC lobbied the Longford council and was granted use of some of the highway to set up a race track. The Longford race track was to be the scene for the TT and the TMCC invited the Light Car Club to run 5 races on the 14 event program.

A few years later a committee was formed dominated by car officials to run the meeting that saw the bikes slowly moved to the edges of the meeting until 1968 when bikes were dropped and in 1969 the track closed. It had become too expensive to bring out the international GP drivers for the event.

After extensive volunteer labour from club members from the Light Car Club, the Volkswagen Car Club and the Tasmanian Motor Cycle Club a new track was opened on 13th March 1960 called Symmons Plains International Raceway. All motor cycle events since then had been promoted by the TMCC until the end of the centenary when the annual touring cars and bike meetings have been promoted by an independent promoter with many of the officials coming from the TMCC.

From the formation of the Auto Cycle Council of Australia (now called Motorcycling Australia) in 1928 until 1959 the sport was controlled in Tasmania by the TMCC. In October 1948 the TMCC through the ACUT became the first non capital city to host the annual ACCA conference. The conference was held again in Launceston in 1960.

Over the years the TMCC have run just about every type of motor cycle event possible including social treasure hunts, paper chase, road trials, observed section, beach events, moto cross, grass track and enduros. On tarmac events include, acceleration tests, drag racing, ride days and the clubs core event in road racing.

The club is still very active to this day promoting many aspects of motor cycling with Ken Young currently writing a book on the history of the club. The exhausting research so far has taken over 3 years but it is hoped to have it published by about 2012.

KEN YOUNG

 
 

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