Race Revival Rocks Hockley
On 3 July some twenty cars participating in the third Hockley Valley Hill Climb Revival assembled at Hockley General Store, prior to their annual pilgrimage to the Third Line race track, where drivers competed against the clock between 1953 and 1962.
Guest of Honour was Don Albertson, 88, who found the original hill climb course in time for the first event to be held by the British Empire Motor Club on 23 May 1953. A former IBM-employee, Don showed up driving his BMW and was delighted to see that his achievements had not been forgotten. In the nineteen-fifties Don was known for his Austin A40s and an Austin Healey, in both racing and rallying.
Also present was Joan Hayes from Quebec, daughter of Fred Hayes, who was a star of the races back in the mid-fifties driving the blue Allard J2X-Cadillac, now owned by Al Sands. The car was once again present, leading the parade of mostly British cars and evoking the spirit of hill climbing at Hockley. Marlies Sands was aboard the 1955 Brunswick Green Morgan Plus 4, the car another veteran of the original races.
Frank and Connie Mount from Bolton launched the exotic Eaton-supercharged 1939 M.G. TB special up the hill with gusto. Frank competed at Hockley in a variety of M.G. sports cars back in the day. The members of the Headwaters British Car Club from Orangeville were led by the President Peter Pontsa and Angela van Breemen in their 1978 Inca Gold MGB.
Dorien Berteletti arrived in the maroon 1948 Bristol 400, the only example in Canada, leaving his newly-restored Triumph TR2 back home. Jean-Louis Valade returned with his cream 1951 M.G. TD with trademark leather flying helmet.
Ralph and Kimberly Evans showed with their black 1975 Jensen GT shooting-brake, one of only 509 built. They deployed their flying drone camera at the top of the hill, shooting the cars from a unique perspective.
Hubert Denelzen piloted the red Triumph TR250 with white nose stripe, an American specification model. ‘Captain’ Ric Harber also attracted attention in his white 1960 Austin Healey ‘bugeye’ Sprite with uprated drivetrain.
A trio of immaculate silver Mercedes-Benz 190SL cars added German interest while the blue 1968 Rambler American, the prototype car from the Shell 4000 Rally, reminded everybody of the rugged heritage of Canadian rallying.
As in previous years local residents turned out to provide a warm welcome for the classic cars, thrilled by yarns of the good old days. After touring up the hill the drivers repaired to Fionn MacCool’s in Orangeville, where the history of Ontario motor sport dominated the discussion.
Written by Rupert Lloyd Thomas