Four Mountains challenge – revived and survived

The Four Mountains Challenge was resurrected by club member Malcolm Noad who was the originator of the original Three Mountains Challenge in memory of his late father-in-law, Jim Bruce.

Jim Bruce once said that it was always a challenge to get a Bullnose Morris up and back down any of the mountains around Canberra.  The last Three Mountains Challenge was held in 2016.  The 2019 challenge as devised by Malcom Noad added an extra mountain – Mount Stromlo – to the original three – Mount Ainslie, Black Mountain and Red Hill.

1st stop Mount Ainslie
First arrivals at Mt Ainslie, looking across to Black Mountain

Members assembled at 9.00am at Poppy’s café at the Australian War Memorial before setting out to conquer the mountains, while another group set out to the car park next to the YMCA Yacht Club around Lake Burley Griffin at Yarralumla, to set up the BBQ trailer.

Black Mountain summit carpark
Much to discuss in the Black Mountain Summit carpark


Austin 7 on Ainslie Summit
Heroic kudos to two 1929 vintage vehicles – Harry Crawford’s Austin 7 (above) and Bob Garrett’s Hudson.

There was only two failed to proceed – Bob Garrett’s Hudson and a near-miss from John Senior’s Humber. Harry Crawford followed the action:

Turned out to be quite a challenge for some cars

No over heating in the almost snow weather but the Senior’s Humber almost died at the start of the climb up Black Mountain but came good and struggled to the top where 3 experts banged the carby and adjusted the timing. One of these being Bob Garrett in the vintage Hudson. His turn came next when the Hudson just died at the sight of Mt Stromlo.

These events both happened in front of Harry in the only other vintage car, the little Austin 7 (without hood as were a couple of other English sports cars). Fortunately the closeness of the HT lead to an earth point was quickly spotted and the Hudson proceeded almost to the top where an unfriendly speed hump brought it to a standstill amid much spluttering and backfiring. It was pushed to the finishing line ! Diagnosis there found that the nail used to replace the pin holding 2 parts of the distributor drive together must have failed. Re-seating it had sparks again and it was driven (avoiding bumps and the 4th climb up Red Hill) to a well earned Bbq lunch

Harry Crawford

(just don’t be in front of me at the start of a climb, you might get jinxed or nailed ! )

Hudson halt
Near the top of Mt Stromlo Bob’s Hudson called a halt. The distributor shaft had disengaged from its drive gear.
Hudson pushers
Ancillary power unit. The sparkless Hudson made it to the Stromlo Summit car park. Spark was restored and challenge completed.

John Senior’s Humber Super Snipe also benefited from some carburettor adjustment at the top of Black Mountain.

Hands on Humber
Many hands make tight work. Bob Garrett, John Senior and Richard Thwaites extinguishing the Super Snipe’s carburettor leak atop Black Mountain.

Just after 12noon the first Challenge survivors started to arrive at Yarralumla, where hot soup or tea, coffee and sausage sandwich waited.

Semi-chilled Challenge survivors savour hot soup and sausages from the Club trailer by the lake

Twenty-eight vehicles, a mix of modern and club plated, took part with some only joining at the start and not participating in the run and others who did not participate in the run but arrived at the finish. Some 35 people in all, making the run a great success. Thanks to Malcolm Noad for resurrecting the idea.

Three takes on ’50s style – Darron Kavanagh’s Thunderbird, Peter Bruce’s MG Magnette, and Charlie Adams’ Citroen 2CV

Graham Gittins

(pictures by Graham Gittins, Harry Crawford and Richard Thwaites)