Jim Smith Officiating at the start of the 1962 Coastal Businessmans Trial
The origins of the North West Car Club dates back to 1954 when John Laverick, an ex-pat Englishman, called a meeting for all those that might be interested in forming a new motoring club. A North West division of the Light Car Club of Tasmania was formed providing social and competitive events for its members. By 1955 however, club members broke away from the LCCT, forming their own club. The North West Car Club was born.
In the early days treasure hunts, trials, standing and flying quarter miles and khanacross style events were popular. One of the most successful events was the Penguin Hillclimb which was held from 1955 to 1971 and was a major highlight on the Tasmanian motorsport calendar. Penguin hosted the Tasmanian Hillclimb Championship many times and attracted the cream of Tasmanian drivers such as Lyn Archer, John McCormack and David Sternberg as well as top mainland drivers such as three time Australian Hillclimb Champion, Paul England. The racing cars were state of the art with many ex Grand Prix machines competing. With the demise of the Penguin Hillclimb the club started the Highclere Hillclimb in 1975 which has attracted top drivers such as John Bowe and David Parsons and continues to run today, making it by far the longest running hillclimb in the state.
Trials (later to become rallies) were also very popular, with events such as the Burnie Businessman’s Trial being well regarded state-wide at the time. Trials in the 1950’s and 60’s were up to 24 hours long with no breaks and using some very poor roads. They were a true test of endurance and teamwork. A landmark event conducted by the NWCC was the Mersey Valley Rally. This event brought new ideas to Tasmanian rallying such as route charting.
The organising committee also targeted top mainland competitors such as Australian Rally Champions Colin Bond and Ross Dunkerton to compete at the event in 1977 and 1978 respectively. The concept was extremely successful and set the blueprint for later major events such as The Advocate Fairford Rally, which became a round of the Australian Rally Championship, a first for Tasmania.
The club formed its own gravel rally series in 1982. This series continues to be successful and has been a very competitive proving ground for many up and coming rally drivers through the years. At times the battles for outright honours were extremely intense with the top crews continually developing their cars in an attempt to gain the edge over their rivals.
Many drivers who started in the NWCC Rally Series have gone on to greater success in gravel and tarmac rallying.
In 1996 the club formalised a number of different bitumen events into a series becoming known as The Black Tack Series. Many different types of events and venues have come and gone such as the Wynyard Airport motorkhanas and the Trowutta Hillclimb but the series continues to be successful and gives club level competitors the only such series in the state.
Founding and life members Jim Smith and Bob Wright
Over the years the club has been prepared to conduct novel events on airport runways and go kart tracks as well as introductory rallies, rally sprints and gravel hillclimbs. These events show the clubs ability to innovate and set us apart from other clubs in the state. Sticking to its roots the NWCC still champion Hillclimbs and a number of different venues have been used over the years. The club resurrected the Tasmanian Hillclimb Championships in the mid eighties and again in 2005, which led to a state-wide series which continues to be popular.
The North West Car Club has a rich and successful history due in no small part by adhering to the original concept of its founding members. This has been to offer well organised, affordable and fun events aimed at the club level competitor.