TDMC HistoryTDMC was formed by Donald and friends in 1922 – Donald Healey CBE is best known for many motor racing, speed records and designing the big Healey’s in the 1950’s the Healey 3000 so famous in rallies. He also went onto design the Sprite in the 1960s and the Jensen Healey in the 1970s. Donald owned what is now Riley Garage in Perranporth.
Donald was for many years the President of TDMC. One of the first events run by TDMC in 1922 was a Hillclimb/sprint run on a piece of road (public highway) between Truro and Perranporth, as Geoff Healey says in his book ‘in those days the police turned a blind eye to that sort of thing’.
The club ran events through the 1920’s and 30’s up until the start of the second world war when it was put into mothballs for the duration of the war. The exact date of the reforming of the club post war is not known, but thought to be in the late 1950’s early 60’s. Donald Healey was a supporter of TDMC on its reformation and was president during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s until his death in 1988.
The club does have records of events in the early 1960’s and hold copies of Autotest results from 1962 and a Predannack held in 1963, in those days the sprint course was held around airfield buildings on the opposite side of the road to the airfield we know now. This event was probably bought about by Mike pollard of Cherry Tree Garage at Ruan Minor just down the road from the venue. The 1963 event was won by Willy Cuff in a Cooer Jap in a time of 26.49 seconds. Other notables competing on that event were Eric Preston, Mike Bennett, David Morrish, Geoff and Heather Millar, Geoff and John Blewett, Alan Roberts, Don Statton and Ed Scobey. The club ran many Autocrosses in the 1960’s at Laniley near Truro with entries in the 60’s and 70’s.
In 1967 TDMC managed to secure the Tregrehan hillcimb venue near St Austell, where we still run events today. The track has changed very little from the first event. That first event was won by John Hosking (known as farmer John) in a time of 27.51 driving an Austin Cooper S 1275cc. Other notable entries to that first event are Alan Roberts, Paul Dillow, Dennis Greenslade, Derek House, Mike Phillips, Mike Trenoweth, Peter Blewett and Peter Johns.
The club ran many road rallies in the 1960’s and 70’s, rallies being the starting point for many competitors before transferring to bigger events. In 1972 the club ran the ASWMC Championship City of Truro Rally, this consisted of a 200mile all night road event followed by a number of stages on the Sunday in daylight hours. The first car left Moorfield car park at 23.01 on Saturday night and finished at about 16.00 on Sunday afternoon and was won by Chris Wathen and Frank McKenna. Other local drivers on that event were Mike Tregoning, Derek House, Bob Eddy, Alan Beattie and Chris and Joanna cock all of whom are still around.
In the mid 1970’s the club started running 12 car navigational events mentoring drivers and navigators on how to compete, sounds familiar? Tregrehan Academy.
At that time the club were running four one day hillclimbs at Tregrehan, Easter Sunday, May Bank holiday Sunday, early June and August Bank Holiday Sunday. The three bank holidays event were all ASWMC speed Hillclimb championship event and the June event was a ‘closed to club event’ where the clerk of the course and secretary of the meeting were both ‘new comers’ to organising and were being trained to take over bigger events. The club did not run motorcycles in those days, but we had as many as 105 entries on one particular event and despite two big accidents the event finished at 17.05 after two practice and two-timed runs.
Other events being run were two stage rallies – the City of Truro and the Carrick Stages. Some of the venues used were Penhale, Portreath, St Eval, Predannack, Wheal Jane, United Downs and many others. Two or three other all night road rallies, plus a number of other 12 car events.
In the late 1970’s the club managed to gain access to RAF Portreath when Nanskuke closed and ran a single venue stage rally and the first of the sprint courses on that venue. The venue is still in use today.
In 1987 the club joined forces with Camel Vale and Newquay Auto Club to run the Tour of Cornwall Stage Rally in aid of Mount Edgcumbe Hospice, an event that grew to become one of the top ten national tarmac championship rallies in the country.
The club have been involved in many events, helping run stages on the RAC/Network Q rallies in the 1980s and 90s. In 1980 the club entered a team of three cars on the then Lombard RAC Rally a four-day world championship event, Mike Tregoning/Roger Langford, Ivor Pengelly/Bob Challacombe and Steve Hunt/John Lee.
The club returned to Predannack in the 1970’s using the venue as a stage on the City of Truro and later as a single venue on the Frostbite rally, then running a very successful sprint course on the venue despite Predannack being ‘a long way down’ the venue is excellent for motorsport with a very good surface.
Autocrosses were run at Watergate Bay in the early 1970’s using the filed currently used as top paddock on the Watergate Bay hilclimb. The club moved Autocrosses to Killigrew farm near Trispen in the late 1970’s running up to seven events in any one year, the club even ran two evening events, and again were innovative in organising a Mini 850cc Challenge. This was restricted to 850cc minis with a 12G295 cylinder head and inch and a half SU carburettor being the only mods permitted.
The club four road trials, The Roseland, The Trispen and the January trial, all very good fun but often cold and wet as they were run during the winter months using venue such ‘Old Stoney’ currently used on the Lands End trial and run by TDMC.
Other events were Autotests, Treasure hunts Gymkhanas and entering a float in the Truro Carnival. Most years the club ran up to twenty-six events in any one year, very busy!!
Our current President is David Richards CBE probably best known as the CEO of Prodrive the company that developed the Subaru Impreza used so successfully by Colin McRea amongst others. We are very lucky to have DR as President who has organised a number of socials such as ‘an evening with’ when we have had such notables as Ross Brawn, Mark Higgins, Steve Soper, Jonathan Palmer an evening of Aston Martin covering that companies history from inception to the present. Lionel Martin was born at St Ewe near St Austell. On another evening David Richards arranged an Aston Martin Le Mans night with Tony Jardine interviewing five times Le Mans winner Derek Bell, plus current Aston Martin drivers Jonny Adam and Darren Turner. He even arranged to have one of the current Aston Martin Le Mans cars on display outside the venue.
Over recent years the club is probably better known for the TDMC Speed Academy which uses Tregrehan as a base. The role of the academy is to take new competitors into the sport and coach them through their first year in speed events, we have been supported in this by the two other main clubs in Cornwall – Camel Vale and Newquay so that now the academy extends to 12 events. Competitors in the academy must in their first year competing in road going cars only. This does not mean that for the future they have to have specialist cars in which to compete, basically you can compete in virtually any road going car. The age ranges for academy entrants ranges from 17 to 70, many go onto compete in other events including throughout the UK and even Europe.
TDMC was a leading club in the Tour of Cornwall rallies held in the County during the late 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. This event raised a lot of money for Mount Edgcumbe Hospice and was one of the top ten stage rallies in the UK and part of the National Tarmac Rally Championship, on one event we had 25 6R4s Metro’s the most 6R4s to compete on any event during it history. Mind you we had quite large numbers of other manufacturers world rally cars on some of those rally events.
One of the latest ideas of which TDMC is at the forefront is the Watergate Bay Hillclimb – last year was the first closed road speed event for over 60 years, due to a change in road legislation.
The club continue to push the boundaries of what we can achieve in club sport and are certainly known throughout the UK for initiative and quality events.