The club was formed by a group of motoring enthusiasts in February 1953. The guiding light behind the conception of the club was local garage proprietor John Buncombe ably assisted by his enthusiastic wife Marjory.
The main idea of the club was for the promotion and enjoyment of motoring and motor sport, whilst offering a social element as well. Early events included Driving Tests, and Navigational Rallies. Over the years the club expanded into Speed events, with such events as the Speed Trials along the road and promenade at Weston Super Mare. For a while this was run as a 2 abreast sprint with one car on the road and one on the pavement!
Another speed event was held at the holiday camp complex of Holimarine at Burnham On Sea. The club also promoted the annual Beach Sandocross races on the beach at Weston Super Mare plus Karting at both Charterhouse and Dunkeswell. Many of the club members could be found competing both locally in these events and at larger National events in many of these disciplines. Over the years the club also joined forces with other local clubs and successfully organised events such as the Yeovilton Sprint and St Audries Bay Hillclimb. Sadly some of these events are no longer in existence but are still fondly remembered.
The club has also been very good at presenting new venues for motorsport, 2 of which both shared the 30th of June as the date of their first ever event, these were the Longleat Hillclimb in 1963 and latterly the Porlock Hillclimb in 1991. During the 1970’s the club joined forces with neighbouring club Taunton Motoring Club to promote the very successful Rallies at Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Park. In later years the club also presented Hillclimbs at this enjoyable venue.
Apart from events the club has had many successful members who have progressed through from being interested in club level motorsport to making careers out of motoring and motorsport. Reading back through the club membership lists such notable names as Henry Liddon, Simon Taylor, Jonathan Buncombe (son of our founder) and Dave Whittock are to be found. We even had a man on the inside at McLaren for many years.
These days we still work hard with neighbouring clubs to promote events, most notably the annual Somerset Stages Rally in the Brendon forest complex on Exmoor, and Hillclimbs at Wiscombe Park in Devon plus in more recent years the Exmoor Endurance Rally and the annual Andy Simm Memorial classic car tour.
There is considerably more history to the club; to list it all would take up a large amount of space. In conclusion the club has always been one of the leading clubs within the South West and this is primarily due to the strength and enthusiasm of it’s members.
Some past members who you may of heard of….
One of the founder members of the club was Highbridge garage proprietor and local racing driver, John Buncombe. John competed far and wide in such cars as a Dellow and HRG. His son Jonathan was a successful Saloon car racer in the 60’s & 70’s and was part of the Esso Ford Capri team, that competed in the Tricentrol saloon car races, which were a forerunner of today’s touring cars.
Other notable members over the years include, the late Henry Liddon, who co-drove the works Mini Coopers, with Paddy Hopkirk in the 60’s and Simon Taylor, known to many as “Throttle” who regularly still writes columns in Motor Sport and Classic and Sportscar. In fact Burnham was the first motor club Simon ever joined.