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Lost Australian speedways


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#1 Terry Walker

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 06:05

Australia has abounded in speedway tracks, many of which have gone forever, buried under suburban development or just abandoned.

Here's three to start the ball rolling:

Wattle Grove Speedway, Western Australia, 1968 and today. The white dots mark approx location.

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Forrestfield Speedway, 1968 and today:

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Claremont Speedway, 1968 and today

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#2 Terry Walker

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 06:19

Bibra Lake Speedway, Western Australia, has only recently closed. It's adjacent to Jandakot Airport

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#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 10:46

Look forward to seeing what you've got on the Werrington track here, Terry...

What an interesting thing that was!

#4 giffo

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 00:32

I have no idea if they are still active but I raced at Margret River, Katanning & Kojonup.
Ellenbrook, Narrogin, Mt Barker, Collie, Bunbury & Albany I beileve are still going strong.
Then there was Claremont which sadly has passed on.
Some good memories driving at all these tracks when I was a kid

#5 Terry Walker

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 02:26

These two images are from my website, but placed here for a wider audience:

Maroubra, in Sydney, the steep banked concrete bowl which had a short but memorable life in the 20s and 20s. No longer exists. The photo image, from 1931, is superimposed on a current street map:


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Werrington, also in Sydney, although a long way west of the centre. An aborted circuit, built but never used for car racing. Its possible faint traces remain of the northern banking, but doubtful. The area has been built over pretty extensively.

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#6 normbeechey

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 07:37

There are photos of what remains of Tracy's Speedway (1946-1964) in Melbourne here: http://members.tripo...archive3/tracey's_speedway.htm

The oldest grandstand was being 'restored' when I took the photos.

You may have to manually 'copy' and then 'paste' the web address manually onto your Internet browser address bar.

#7 Catalina Park

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 09:39

Originally posted by Terry Walker
Maroubra, in Sydney, the steep banked concrete bowl which had a short but memorable life in the 20s and 20s. No longer exists. The photo image, from 1931, is superimposed on a current street map:

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I remember driving around Minneapolis Cr in my truck in the 1980s and noticing the faint hint of banking in the front yards of half a dozen houses.

#8 mark f1

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 11:56

I built a house on top of Rowley Park speedway in Adelaide. Not in the house now.

Mark

#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 12:44

Originally posted by mark f1
I built a house on top of Rowley Park speedway in Adelaide. Not in the house now.


That's nothing...

They built a whole hospital on top of Westmead Speedway.

#10 Terry Walker

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 15:55

Another lost speedway, one that a lot of people don't realise was a speedway at all: the WACA - Western Australian Cricket Association ground.

It was a motorcycle speedway in the late 1920s and early 1930s. There used to be a clay athletics track around the perimeter, which was later grassed over right to the fence.

It was also the site of the first known car race in WA - two De Dion tri-cars held a match race around the althetics track in 1902.

The WACA speedway's main claim to memory now is that the great rider Sig Schlamm died there when he hit the fence circa 1930.

Needless to say, the WACA didn't look like this in 1930, and specially not in 1902...

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#11 murray thomas

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 20:44

Originally posted by Terry Walker
Another lost speedway, one that a lot of people don't realise was a speedway at all: the WACA - Western Australian Cricket Association ground.

It was a motorcycle speedway in the late 1920s and early 1930s. There used to be a clay athletics track around the perimeter, which was later grassed over right to the fence.

It was also the site of the first known car race in WA - two De Dion tri-cars held a match race around the althetics track in 1902.

The WACA speedway's main claim to memory now is that the great rider Sig Schlamm died there when he hit the fence circa 1930.

Needless to say, the WACA didn't look like this in 1930, and specially not in 1902...

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Hi Terry

Sig Schlamm must of been a great rider in his day

My father told me lots about him

I think he got hit on the chin by the steering damper on his Rudge speedway bike then hit the fence


There is a plaque in the foot path in St Geoges tce Perth honouring him


Just to add to you very interesting information on Speedways

Murray T

#12 Len Okell

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 23:55

Hey fellas , thought i d chime in here , with my favorite , Liverpool speedway. Car loads of us when we were young fellas would do the drive from the upper mountains to support our local speedway racer Walter Giles.

We had some great time s back then , ah the smell of av gas and the dust lol , were some very memorable time s.

Found this site.

Liverpool speedway

#13 Wilyman

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 02:30

Terry,
I don't know whether your aerial photo expertise includes a shot of the Boulder Sports Oval in the Boulder WA townsite.
From the late '50's the Boulder Oval as well as a general sports arena incorporated a speedway track on its perimeter. This created a running sore with the football folk who claimed that their playing surface was reduced after every speedway meet!!
Fortunately the civic fathers saw the need then to support every activity in Boulder and managed to maintain the peace.

Speedway activity wound up in the early '80's and following the last meeting with the dust barely settled the football people, now with council support moved in and dismantled the safety fence and all signs of a speedway. :(

Claremont Speedway fans will know well the above scenario, the Claremont track was dismantled within an obscenely short time. [Terry's photos show it in its current form].

PS. Solo champ Ove Fundin after riding on the Boulder Oval Speedway claimed it to be the best track he'd ridden on. :)

#14 Terry Walker

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 04:00

This looks like the place:

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#15 ken devine

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 04:14

A great new thread of Australian motor sport maybe we could post some speedway pics.i had better
start scanning some.

#16 Gordon Graham

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 09:29

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Forrestfield was an interesting track. The cars raced clockwise, and on the shorter side, to the right, where the pits were (probably that lighter-coloured triangular area in the 1968 picture) there was a kink in the road, referred to as the esses. The West Australian Hot Rod Association started racing there in the early 60s, and for the first few years racing was exclusively for the sort of old-style stock cars in this picture (scanned from an anthology of pics from the West Australian newspaper's archives). I lived about a half hour bicycle ride away, and was a regular for a couple of years, when the WAHRA raced there every second Sunday in winter-spring. The twisting road going across in the lower part was a motocross track added about 1964, and the top smaller oval must have been added later, I think. Top dog when I was going was usually a driver called Brian Sadler, who had a very low-slung GMC powered car with a tiny coupe body, not a Topolino but similar.

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By gjgraham


This shot would be from the early days, I think, around 62-63. the only car I can identify is number 29, listed on programs as the "Vaux-rolet" - some kind of Vauxhaull coupe with a Chev 6, the driver being named Jimmy Jasper, I think.
Incidentually Forresfield and Wattle Grove operated during the same period, but IIRC there was such bitter rivalry between the two organisations there was no crossover of drivers, and on occasion claims that one group had sabotaged the other's advertising.

#17 ken devine

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 11:13

The first Forrestfield Speedway was formed in an old gravel pit on Hartman road about 1958 it was a
haphazard affair and poorly organised after a lot of bad publicity it was closed down and the new one
was built and sponsored by the slow learning childrens group as a fund raising venture although i never
ever went there i believe it was very successful.The other track at wattlegrove was run by the racing
drivers association and may have had ties with Claremont Speedway.

#18 Terry Walker

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 11:30

In the late 60s I shot a few minutes of 8 mm movie film of racing at Forrestfield, mostly of sedans - early model Holdens mainly. The movie quality is abysmal, but it is presently with a Motoring Historians WA colleague who converts such stuff to DVD. The "Esses" was a great spot for spinouts and loses.

I drove there the other day, and it's all fenced off and the map shows it as "Pioneer Park". I think the fence is to keep feral bike and car hoons out while the vegetation regenerates.

#19 ken devine

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 00:23

The year on my last posting was wrong it was 1961 when this photo was taken,the types of cars varied
some were Hotrods and some were early stripped sedans.This shot shows a Ford Custom in the background
i dont know if it was racing as it looked in road trim.


=http://imageshack.us]Posted Image[/URL]

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#20 Haggis 2

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 01:12

[QUOTE][i]Originally posted by Gordon Graham

Top dog when I was going was usually a driver called Brian Sadler, who had a very low-slung GMC powered car with a tiny coupe body, not a Topolino but similar.

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I attended Forrestfield a number of times in the very early 60's with my Dad who was a great friend of Brian Sadler's and helped out with his car preparation. I was very young - pre school age - and has little recollection of actual events except one particular day when Brian rolled his car quite heavily and was. I believe, hospitalised.

Brian is still involved today, running his Performance Modifications business in Osborne Park. They are renowned engine machinists for the trade and specialise in balancing and polishing of components.

Brian has a collection of classic speedway cars and ran sprint cars for several of the top drivers for many years at Claremont and possibly Kwinana. Somewhere I have some slidea of the car mentioned in Gordon's post which was really quite pretty (especially in contrast to some of the other machines!) and resplendent in his favourite colours of red and white.

Brendon

#21 Wilyman

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 06:00

Originally posted by Terry Walker
This looks like the place:

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Terry,
Thanks for putting up the shot of the Boulder Oval Speedway.

My imagination would have me believe that the speedway circuit "ghost" can be made out ? The photo of course is quite current.

The houses surrounding the Oval are pretty much as they were back then. The residents, bless 'em, must have been a tolerant lot putting up with a good serve of brown dust and un-muffled engines on Saturday nights.

"They were the best of times"

#22 ken devine

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 08:19

Where is the present day Kalgoorlie Speedway or is this the same one?

#23 cavvy

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 08:40

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Haggis 2
[QUOTE][i]Originally posted by Gordon Graham

Top dog when I was going was usually a driver called Brian Sadler, who had a very low-slung GMC powered car with a tiny coupe body, not a Topolino but similar.

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I attended Forrestfield a number of times in the very early 60's with my Dad who was a great friend of Brian Sadler's and helped out with his car preparation. I was very young - pre school age - and has little recollection of actual events except one particular day when Brian rolled his car quite heavily and was. I believe, hospitalised.

Brian is still involved today, running his Performance Modifications business in Osborne Park. They are renowned engine machinists for the trade and specialise in balancing and polishing of components.

Brian has a collection of classic speedway cars and ran sprint cars for several of the top drivers for many years at Claremont and possibly Kwinana. Somewhere I have some slidea of the car mentioned in Gordon's post which was really quite pretty (especially in contrast to some of the other machines!) and resplendent in his favourite colours of red and white.

Brendon
[/QUOTE]

Brendon,
Was a Sadler fan in my youth, used Performance Mods services on 'go faster' street car - any chance you could give us more on Brians collection (photos) ?

#24 nivola

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 09:26

Cavvy have you got any good stories from the old days you would like to let live again for us younger souls that never got to see any of it.

I got the Claremont twice when I was younger and I never got to any other speedway for an event.

But I did end up watching a nights racing of Solo's at the new pinjar track. That to me was racing even though I feel the track is to small and tight. But hell it was fun!!!!

#25 Wilyman

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 10:31

Originally posted by ken devine
Where is the present day Kalgoorlie Speedway or is this the same one?


Ken,
The present Kalgoorlie Speedway is to the North of the Kalgoorlie townsite.
It has a clay finish and as with most speedways in Australia is more suited to the Sprintcars and what are loosely called 'saloon' cars.

Friends who have regularly attended race meetings in the USA have likened the track to the fairgrounds and 'bullrings' in the USA. The surface becomes rutted and shiny after a few races.

International events are held there with big buck purses. A far cry from the old Boulder Speedway, a tin cup was usually the reward for "sticking your head in the lions mouth". :D

#26 Russell Burrows

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 15:41

Originally posted by Catalina Park
I remember driving around Minneapolis Cr in my truck in the 1980s and noticing the faint hint of banking in the front yards of half a dozen houses.


When I lived around there some forty years ago, the local streets were often the scene of re-enactments of the old speedway.

#27 Terry Walker

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 02:41

The Royal Agricultural Showground in Sydney used to be a speedway, as I recall. The Agricultural Society has moved to the site of the Sydney Olympics at Homebush Bay, and the speedway is long gone. The former showground, adjacent to the Sydney Cricket Ground is shown as it is today:

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#28 Raelene

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 04:32

Originally posted by normbeechey
There are photos of what remains of Tracy's Speedway (1946-1964) in Melbourne here: http://members.tripo...archive3/tracey's_speedway.htm

The oldest grandstand was being 'restored' when I took the photos.

You may have to manually 'copy' and then 'paste' the web address manually onto your Internet browser address bar.


my dad used to race there.

Another lost speedway was brooklyn speedway in Melbourne (was also called speedbowl for a while)

#29 HistoricMustang

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 10:42

Originally posted by Terry Walker
from my website

Terry, could you provide the link, please?

Henry

#30 Terry Walker

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 11:27

My website: www.terrywalkersplace.com

I think you can go to it using the www button above the post. I've never actually tried!

#31 racer69

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 07:31

In Bill Tuckey's book "The Rise & Fall of Peter Brock" a speedway in Katoomba is mentioned, saying it was possibly situated in the showground?

Anyone know if that is definatly where it was?

#32 Catalina Park

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 10:44

It was definitely Katoomba Showground. My father told me about one or two meetings being held there to raise money for the Hospital. A driver was killed at one meeting. (and John Harvey started his racing career in the rebuilt car)

#33 cheapracer

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 12:43

When I was a kid we used to go to Avalon, halfway from Melb to Geelong - is that still there?

At least the Ekka showgrounds in Brisbane these years runs bike speedway (3years ago at least) so thats one to add.

#34 murray thomas

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 22:29

Originally posted by Terry Walker
The Royal Agricultural Showground in Sydney used to be a speedway, as I recall. The Agricultural Society has moved to the site of the Sydney Olympics at Homebush Bay, and the speedway is long gone. The former showground, adjacent to the Sydney Cricket Ground is shown as it is today:

Posted Image



Hi Terry

Went to Sydney Showground to see the English solo test team these were the days before they came to
Claremont

Was great to be spectator there as we sat above the pits right on the fence line

Solos sidecars and speed cars were spectacular At Sydney showground

Murray T

#35 Steve Phillips

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 01:28

Gordon, you mentioned the esses at Forrestfield. Did Wattle Grove have a small slope down at the end of one of the straights? I only got to each of them a couple of times in early school years so my memory is a bit thin for detail.

#36 Gordon Graham

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 04:05

Originally posted by Steve Phillips
Gordon, you mentioned the esses at Forrestfield. Did Wattle Grove have a small slope down at the end of one of the straights? I only got to each of them a couple of times in early school years so my memory is a bit thin for detail.


Sorry Steve, can't remember much of Wattle Grove, I only went there once (it was harder to get to - Forrestfield was just a bike ride away)

#37 Terry Walker

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 06:22

I shot a short length of 8mm movie film at Forrestfield Speedway in 1968. Terrible quality, the autoexposure on the camera made it very dark. All I recall of it was that it was a sedan race mostly early model "humpy" Holdens.

#38 ken devine

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 06:44

I recently received some forrestfield photos,Strangley enough as Terry said mostly Humpy Holdens.
(where did all the old Holdens go)

#39 ken devine

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 07:58

This is one of the photos i received recently of Forrestfield Speedway.You wouldn't want to go over the
edge of the track.









RL=http://imageshack.us]Posted Image[/URL]

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#40 Gordon Graham

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 12:02

That corner was known as Grasso's Leap, after Nick Grasso, who flew an enormous distance through the air there when he came off in a Topolino-bodied flathead V8, 62-63

#41 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 15:35

It really is a different scene to what we were used to at Westmead...

I don't recall even one Holden running there. There was a couple of Peugeot 203s, and they were very quick, but for the most part the whole field was something American with a chassis.

#42 fredeuce

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 01:51

Does anyone here know how to post google earth images on websites? Can't figure it out and don't have a day to spare to learn.
Any tips most appreciated.
Yours , technologically challenged :confused:

#43 Terry Walker

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 03:36

I just do a "print screen", then open a paint programme, paste the image, crop, save as jpg, and then post as per usual.

eg Barbagallo raceway

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cropped

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#44 fredeuce

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 03:55

Terry , Thanks for the tips.
I have managed to save the image as a jpg in my documents but I can't seem to load it on the TNF site using the IMG button. :confused: :confused:

#45 fredeuce

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 07:47



The image is of the Bell Bay speedway situated at Hamley Bridge north of Adelaide. Has little use these days although the vintage speedway folk have used it from time to time but less so in recent years.

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#46 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 07:55

Originally posted by fredeuce
Unfortunately couldn't post the image direct so had to resort to the postage stamp size Imageshack deal.

The image is of the Bell Bay speedway situated at Hamley Bridge north of Adelaide. Has little use these days although the vintage speedway folk have used it from time to time but less so in recent years.
Posted Image

I don't know, it seems to be all right now...



And for some assistance, I merely deleted the 'th.' out of the URL. Oh, and I deleted the '[IMG]http://' etc that you had unnecessarily posted.

#47 fredeuce

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 07:58

Thanks for that Ray . :) Can you PM me the instructions for doing what you did?
Cheers.

#48 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 08:01

Well, I was actually busy editing that in while you were posting...

e.mail me (see below) if you want to know more.

#49 Terry Walker

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 11:11

Back in '82 when I was doing the around Australia drive, I came across the Roebourne International (!!) Raceway outside town. I suspect it is now defunct. I took a pic of the sign, which is somewhere in my ancient colour negs.

#50 Terry Walker

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 11:22

I think this might have been it . .

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