Any motor sports fans out there recall the good ‘ol days of rallies and racing? Our donor Loris Goring shared the following with us (via email):
I was heavily involved in the Singapore Motor Club in this period overseas with the British Air Ministry and thoroughly enjoyed our Rallies and the Mobilgas Economy Runs of that period. In particular though I remember the rallies where we were not allowed to even have a boiled sweet in the car in case Chin Peng popped out of the jungle to either shoot u or lob a hand grenade into the car.
In this days motorways were not even though of and the main roads though they had well maintained surfaces by the Public Woks department were narrow and tortuous. In particular, a rally that took us through Slim River was a drivers nightmare encompassing I think some 26 miles of hairpin bends with a huge drop on one side and high jungle cover on the other. If taken at a leisurely pace it was no problem but in our rallies we were give precise speeds and expected to arrive at any hidden checkpoint within plus of minus fifteen or thirty seconds, The problem was the speed we were expected to complete those miles. Not, I may say a frantic racing speed but modest but extremely difficult to keep knowing that breaking on every hairpin added time and accelerating out onto yet another short straight made navigation a nightmare. Often these rallies involved not only night driving but twelve hour stints before any food or sleep. Quite hard when you remember that cars in those days were not air conditioned the first ones only appearing in Malaysia around 1960.
The Mobilgas Economy event drew excellent entries but the rallies far less but perhaps because they were too grueling and folks still had to go to work on Monday.
Despite Ipoh’s long romance with all things food-related and the abundance of hotels, restaurants and clubs in town, Ipoh has never before taken part in the international tradition of the waiters’ race. On the 25th of May 2013, that is about to change.
Organised jointly by the Ipoh City Council (MBI), Perak Tourism Association (PTA), Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), Perak Chapter, and the International Waiters’ Race Agency, Ipoh will be hosting its first International Waiters’ Race in D.R. Seenivasagam Park.
The Waiters’ Race (www.waitersrace.com) is a tradition originating in France, created to exhibit the skills of the famous French garcons by challenging them to race a street course while balancing a tray of beverages on the palm of one hand.
The earliest photographs of a Waiters’ Race were taken in the London Race of 1901, but the French roots of the race are over a century old.
Today, Waiters’ Races are held all over the world, including several held in Malaysia in the past. This is, however, the first time one will be held in Perak.
Demonstrations of ice-carving, flower-arranging, food-carving and a barista competition in coffee decoration will be held, along with a mini-treasure hunt, children’s race, parade of Perak school bands, and cheerleader demonstration for younger participants.
Over one hundred waiters and waitresses from Perak’s favourite eateries will be running the 1 ½ kilometer course through the park in three different races.
Visiting participants will be included from Ipoh’s sister city in Japan, Fukuoka, and Ipoh’s “friendship cities” Medan, Pusan, Hangzhou and Guangzhou.
Each runner will attempt to gain the fastest time while balancing their tray on one hand, without spilling any items. Running alone is worthless; winners have to arrive with a full tray or close to it.
The first race will be a Full Service Waiters’ Race where competitors run in traditional waiters’ attire over a challenging course including the steps leading to the bridge and a turn through the Japanese Garden.
The Quick Service Waiters’ Race will include hotel students as well as professionals and allow running shoes. Both races are open to men and women, prizes to be given separately to the best gentleman and best lady.
The third race will be an Amateurs’ mixed relay with teams comprising two men and two women each, dress code open to any attire.
Organizers hope to make this an annual event, celebrating Ipoh’s waiters, waitresses and culinary heritage for locals and tourists alike.
The Perak Motor Club‘s history goes back as early as 1907. The popularity of the club can be owed to the “large numbers of European tin miners and rubber planters and the ubiquitous, wealthy, mining Towkays” in Perak – who ‘contributed’ to the vast number of motor cars in the state. This picture was taken during the Tapah/Cameron Highlands Time Trial, which was one of the many events organised by the club.
From the number plate (PK 6207), we can deduce that this was before the war. Note how the passenger leans out to the side as the driver takes the corner; this is done to balance the car as it turns.
Sometimes, the driver can’t really control his car…..as this second picture shows. (We hope both the driver and his passenger escaped unharmed)
Such races did go on well after the war (you can read a little about Tom Wilson’s experience here). Does the Perak Motor Club still organise such events? Have YOU witnessed/taken part in any of these events? We’d like to hear your views 🙂
These pictures are from Yeoh Lam Swee