The Tony Simms Challenge Trophy

by Tony Simms

(Editor's Note: Tony Simms began racing with an MGA in 1960. He raced that car at Mosport Park the year it opened (1961) and the following year. In 1968 he won the Ontario Sports Car Championship in an MGB. Tony retired from "real" racing in 1970. In recent years he's been spotted in YD3/1916 #38, a beautiful, olde-english white, twin-cam MGA. Look out! That might be him behind you!


The initial concept of this award came out of discussions between Mike Rosen of VARAC and Mark Palmer (MGVR) after the very successful MG participation at the 1997 VARAC Festival at Mosport. MG was the featured Marque that year, and MGVR promo coupled with an MG only Feature race attracted a large MG entry. The MG drivers liked Mosport, and the weekend, and VARAC was delighted with the size and quality of the MG entry.

This led to the idea of making the MG Feature race an annual part of the Festival. To help encourage entries, the VARAC board wanted to create a special MG trophy, in addition to the normal race/class awards. VARAC asked if I would lend my name to the award, and once I got over being embarrassed (not being dead yet, after all) I agreed.

Criteria for the Award

After consultations between MGVR, VARAC and me, criteria were set that would allow any model of MG to win, without regard to finishing position in the Feature race (as long as they did finish). The focus was to be on race results, achieved through both driving and race prep of the car. The final wording, which is engraved on the trophy, is as follows: "It will be awarded annually at the VARAC International Vintage Festival to a driver in the MG Feature Race. That driver will be the person who is judged to have demonstrated superior driving skill in a car prepared to an outstanding level of race readiness, while still maintaining its Vintage character". This is a "judged" award, and the 3 person committee will normally be made up of reps from MGVR and VARAC plus me.

Rededication of a 30 year old Vintage Trophy

During discussion of the award criteria, Mike Rosen posed a question to me - "do you have a suitable vintage trophy which you won driving an MG?"- the idea was that this would lend a neat air of vintage nostalgia to the award. As luck would have it, I have possession of a large and fairly impressive "pot", the Alitalia Airlines Trophy, awarded to the 1968 Ontario Region Sportscar Champion. Fortunately, I won that award in 1968 driving my MGB. The original trophy has had a "rededication Plaque" added to it to record it's new purpose. As well, an octagonal base extension will be added to hold the plaques recording the annual winner's names.

A very nice "keeper" trophy in the form of a large wooden plaque will be provided each year by VARAC. This plaque includes the award name and criteria and a large photo etched plate of a picture of my "B" taken at Mosport in 1968 in the race which clinched the Alitalia championship.

MGVR Editor: Dave Nicholas
Online Editor: Christopher Kintner
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