In the year 1952, while a 1948 G.T.F was being cleared from the Madras Harbour, discussions between the owner and Mr. R De Souza on motor racing, rallying etc., gave birth to the gem of an idea of a Motor Sports Club. This idea took a hazy shape in the summer of 1953 when two M. Gs chased each other from Chesney Hall to the parking lot of the Catholic Centre. An unusually tall Englishman (Rex Strong) and a comparatively short Indian (K Varugis) got out from their espectie cars, stared and then probably grinned at each other and decided that racing would be more fun if organized off the roads. Thus, figuratively, one could read the words MMSC in the spiralling fumes of the twin exhausts.
Rex Strong had been a member of the Calcutta Motor Sports Club and the M.G. Club and naturally both he and K. Varugis looked around for more Motor Racing enthusiasts with a view to form a Club. Sometime later, a small gathering of motorists arranged a Motor Gymkhana Club, in order to get together and pass a formal resolution for the formation of the Madras Motor Sports Club.
In the meanwhile, with the guidance and assistance of the Chairman, Mr. M A Chidambaram and Mr. S V B Row, the legal advisor of the AASI, a constitution of the Club was drafted and then registered under the Societies Act.
The first officials of the Club were:
President: Mr. M G Donner
Hon. Treasurer: Mr. K V Srinivasan
Hon. Secretary: Mr. K Varugis
These, together with the Rajkumar of Pithapuram, Raja D V Appa Rao and Messrs. J H Dye, P Mathen, K A. Sillick and R A Strong were the first members of the Committee.
The first regular Motor Sports event was held at the Sholavaram Airstrip in Aug / Sept 1953. There were only two classes of cars, the M.Gs (of which there were almost six) and other stock cars. The events were standing starts, flying starts over a distance of a mile and some parking tests. Mr. G M Donner in his Mark 7 Jaguar averaged 84 miles per hour over the measured mile.
The first race meeting was held on October 25th 1953 at the Sholavaram Airstrip when we had a 5 lap race for Motor Cycles (handicap), a 5 lap race for Sports cars, a 3 lap relay for Motor cycle teams and lap handicap relay for cars, finisning with a driving test with the usual hard, soft reverse into marked space, zigzag, garage stop and restart engine etc., The fastest man at the race was Mr. John Dye, who clocked something like 72 m p h for a lap on a Triumph Twin. The corse was ten ‘L’ shaped within one leg, approximately 3/4 mile left hand turn short leg, 1/5 m hairpin bend, another shortleg 1/5 mile and right hand turn to complete the lap.
At the end of the day, a dinner was held at the Madras Club. In the early stages, the Club was fortunate in having a number of enthusiasts. Starting from the President, Mr. G M Donner, there were Messrs. K Varugis, Rex Strong who had been a member of the Calcutta Motor Sports Club and the M G Club, P Mathen, J D Jones and DJ Hopley, Srihari, the late Rajkumar of Pithapuram, the late Ravi Sharma, Ven Sellick, the late R De Souza, Philli Clubwala and K.P. Ranganatha Rao (Babbagaya) who took a lot of interest in this culb.
Mr. N Jones was formerly a TT Star and was at that time with the Rootis Group. Mr. Mathen was General Manager of South India Automotive Corporation Ltd., and he not only took part in all the activities but provided servicing facilities to members at 24, Whites Road. He also built the first special, the “S.I.A,C.” Mr D J Hopley, who was then Managing Director of Oldham (India) Ltd., helped the Club with handicapping and laying the original course.
Mr. K V Srinivasan held the finances of the Club in order and later provided office facilities at Union Motors.
The initial membership consisted of about forty founder members.Racing History of B Indu Chandhok
80 BIRTHDAY OF INDU CHANDHOK
FAMILY OF INDU CHANDHOK