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The 1992 Revival of PFS Scout Car Grand Prix

There are many meanings when it comes to "The 1st Malaysian Pedal Car Race". It could mean that this is the first of many to be organised by a particular organisation (ie. Organisation A's "1st Penang Treasure Hunt", although obviously it is definitely not the first ever treasure hunt to be organised in Penang). It could also mean you are really the very first, the pioneers to organise the event (ie. "1st Malaysian Horticulture Exhibition" that has never been organised by anyone ever before).

There is nothing wrong if it is the former but when you make claims such as "introducing pedal car racing in Malaysia" and "pedal car racing to debut in Penang", you meant to say you are the pioneers in organising such an event when clearly, the Scout Car Grand Prix (formerly known as the Scout Soap Box Derby) has been in existence way before August 2007, the inaugural 1st Malaysian Pedal Car Race.

This is part of a series of articles to debunk the claims the pedal car race organised by the Penang Turf Club in August 2007 is the first ever pedal car racing in Malaysia as claimed by them and rubber-stamped by the Malaysian Book of Records.

We start off with some foreword messages found in the PFS Scout Car Grand Prix 1992 souvenir magazine, which was revived by the then PFS Rover Scout Crew and PFS Combined Scout Council after a lapse of seven years. The event was held on Sunday, 26th January 1992 at Gurney Drive.

Here is the message by Mr. Tang Hon Yin, the then State Deputy Director of Education.

Message from Penang Deputy Director of Education II, Mr. Tang Hon Yin.

In England, the Soap Box Derby has become something of a special event in the Scouting calendar since 1939. The Derby provided a novel event where young people could have great fun modifying their old bicycles and motorcycles into designer models which could run efficiently no matter what they looked like. Great ingenuity, creativity and skills are called upon from the youngsters assembling the various parts to make their very own 'Ferrari' or 'Formula 1'.

Since Peter Oon brought the Soap Box Derby to Penang in 1969 - the event has been held 8 times in the last 22 years, albeit the name of the event has evolved somewhat.

This year, PFS SCOUT CAR GRAND PRIX 1992 is brought to you by the PFS Rover Scout Crew and the PFS Combined Scout Council. I congratulate the initiative of these 2 groups for reviving the Soap Box Derby. Properly organized, this novelty event could indeed develop into an event which could draw wider participation and be a permanent feature in the PESTA PULAU PINANG calendar.

I wish the organizers every success.


Deputy Director of Education
Next, an excerpt from Mr. Khoo Yeoh Gan Hong's message, the then State Scout Commisioner and also former Troop Leader of 1st Georgetown (South).
Message from State Scout Commissioner, Mr. Khoo Yeoh Gan Hong

[...] The credit for organising the first Soap Box Derby for Penang Scouts - the forerunner of the Scout Car Grand Prix must go to lawyer Mr. P.T. Oon former Patrol Leader of Wu Lien Teh Troops. It was held at the City Stadium on 30th March 1969. There was great excitement with many thrills and spills! This historic race was also the first of its kind in this part of the world. [...]
Lastly, the message by then Penang Free School headmaster, Mr. Goh Hooi Beng.
Message from the Principal of Penang Free School, Mr. Goh Hooi Beng, AMN

I wish to congratulate the Scout Council of the Penang Free School especially the Rover Scout Crew for their initiative in reviving the Inter-Scout Group Scout Car Grand Prix as part of the 175th Anniversary Celebrations of the school and a small contribution to the coming 'Visit ASEAN Year 1992'.

The Grand Prix not only provides a good opportunity for Scouts to show their creativity and innovativeness in the design and construction of Scout Cars from recycled bicycle parts but also offers an occasion for youths of differing backgrounds work together and compete against each other in friendly rivalry and goodwill in the spirit of Scouting.

Well done!


Goh Hooi Beng, AMN
Penang Free School
So you can see from these foreword messages that pedal car racing is nothing new even back then in 1992, what more now in 2007. It being an event as part of promoting a tourism campaign is also nothing new as the 1992 Scout Car Grand Prix was part of the 'Visit ASEAN Year' campaign then. Not only that, the Scout Car Grand Prix was also a part of the Pesta Pulau Pinang, a popular yearly tourism event.

In the next instalment, we will delve into some history lessons regarding the Scout Car Grand Prix and the Soap Box Derby when it was introduced initially, right from the first ever race in 1939 in Britain, up to the introduction by Mr. Peter Oon in Penang and the 1992 revival of the PFS Scout Car Grand Prix.

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