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The Australian Grand Prix is old!


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#1 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 March 2000 - 14:35

I just looked at the Atlas FAQ board on the Australian Grand Prix, as referred to by Falcadore - and learned to my horror that I am the only one to know that the race existed before 1985.
He was posting on the 'in former times' thread and told people to look there for an abbreviated answer, but there it begins after the question from Austria ends!
Folks, I can tell you, the Australian Grand Prix has a longer history than almost any other Grand Prix. March 26, 1928 was its beginning - what others came before it?
Just a few!
Not only that, in the 'Everything you need to know about Albert Park,' Stirling Moss is said to have won the 'first Australian Grand Prix' at the opening meeting of the circuit.
Stirling was not even born at the time of the first Australian Grand Prix, and Albert Park commenced its life for the 1953 Australian Grand Prix, not 1956....
Can these errors be corrected?
I'm sure Ken McKinney would approve....

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#2 Falcadore

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Posted 15 March 2000 - 15:14

Ray,
Don't jump the gun! The new FAQ column (including the AyeeGeePee question) will be posted along with the rest of the March 15 issue later tonight our time.
yours
Mark Jones
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"Knowledge merely allows one to be wrong with historical precedent"

#3 AUSTRIA

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Posted 15 March 2000 - 16:25

Ray, tell us what we have to expect on your coming site ? I cannot await. Give us a short preview !!!

E.T.

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 March 2000 - 08:50

When dealing with early Australian racing one must always remember:
Necessity is the mother of invention.

Coming out of the depression of the thirties, then the war of the forties, for all too many years there was a necessity for invention in this country. The cars that made up the greater part of the grids were invented out of that necessity.
Like the chassis that was tacked up on the kitchen floor - because the linoleum had a convenient 6" square graph pattern and it was easy to get it straight (but not easy to get it out before the parents came home!).
Like the bodywork made out of kerosene tins on a GP entry.
Like the Ford V8 Special that had two gearboxes, one back to front, to give an overdrive for the longer straights.
Like the Jeep that carried a Ford V8 and an alloy body, and was run in 4wd or front wheel drive form depending on the circuit.
Indeed, a Jeep V8 almost won the 1947 AGP.
Or there was a speedway midget with slots in the chassis to change the wheelbase to put a straight 8 in for road racing.
For some of these cars I have stories and photos and I will set them up for you to look at and read about. Mostly they're material from the Historic Racing Newsletter I produce, but there could be more if I get carried away....

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Life and love are mixed with pain...

#5 Barry Lake

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Posted 16 March 2000 - 23:23

Ray
I hope you don't forget the 1927 Australian Grand Prix (billed as such at the time, unlike the 1928 event, which became AGP only in retrospect).
It was won by a Bugatti driver who never took part in another AGP.

#6 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 March 2000 - 04:51

Come on Barry, where, when, who and how?
And why haven't you posted details on the other thread?
My guess is Maroubra and Sid Cox...

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#7 Barry Lake

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Posted 18 March 2000 - 22:45

Ray
Actually I don't have the full story yet. I came across it in a recent book on the history of motorcycle racing in the Goulburn area of NSW.
The winner was Geoff Meredith, who raced his Bugatti at Maroubra. It was on the Goulburn Showground, in conjunction with a motorcycle speedway racing meeting.
It seems they ran it as a sort of knock-out event with two cars in each heat and apparently there were eight starters.
But it was promoted, in lead-up advertising, as the Australian Grand Prix for racing cars.
How did that one escape us for all these years?

#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 March 2000 - 06:18

I can only assume that:
1. The people of Goulburn kept it a secret.
2. None of us have been through the back issues of the Goulburn Gazette or whatever the local paper is called.
3. Any programmes that still exist haven't yet come up at any garage sales.
4. The people at Wakefield Park aren't sufficiently interested in history to have made it public.
The latter would be unlikely, don't you think?
You know, I think I even remember something about Goulburn being mentioned to me in the dim past, maybe by Mike Kable...
I hear he's not well these days.

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#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 March 2000 - 11:11

Barry - how about you give us a blow by blow - keep the whole lot of us posted as you advance, stall, ponder and work on getting this sorted. I would think the Goulburn paper would be a good link, perhaps through any Goulburn Historical Society that might exist (perhaps an arm of the Council Library).
Tell us where you have been on it, and where the first information sprang from.
Let some of these young ones know just what patience you need to research such things...

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#10 Barry Lake

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Posted 20 March 2000 - 18:43

Ray
I've told you all I know.
I was waiting for you to do the research and tell me the answers!

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 March 2000 - 04:56

Talk about lazy! Well, I can play that game, too, I rang Barry Forsyth and tapped into his vast log of research to get the dates.
....but along the way old Barry tells me there was ROAD RACING at Goulburn around 1916/17!
Methinks there's more to this than meets the eye....
For those Lee Falk readers who came in late... Barry Forsyth is an old motorcycle race fan who had an operation a few years ago. While he was recovering he spent day and night going through old newspapers at the public library.
Why?
Because he didn't believe a lot of the stories people had told him in the past, but he'd never before had the time to check them out! He's found a lot of motor racing stuff along the way - whenever he saw something he just made a note of it. Best part is that I'm the one that has his silent phone number!

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#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 March 2000 - 09:53

And the reason Geoff Meredith never contested another AGP?
Barry Forsyth gave me that - he went over to motorcycle racing, which was having a great deal of interest put upon it at that time, and he ventured to Europe and rode at the Isle of Man.
But racing there was the last thing he should have done - it killed him.
Not because he crashed, but because of the rain at the 1928 meeting - he caught pneumonia and that was the end of him. His racing partner of the time had a crash later at Sydney Showground speedway and broke his leg - and died from the infection.
Good to live in the 21st century?

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[This message has been edited by Ray Bell (edited 03-21-2000).]

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 March 2000 - 08:31

Barry Forsyth rang to tell me that there's details of the Goulburn meeting in the Labor Daily of January 17, 1927. The meeting obviously happened in the days preceding that date.

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#14 David Shaw

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 07:32

Nothing like reviving a 9 year old thread.

Does anyone know about the proposed AGP to be held "within 1 mile of Mornington" which was, of course, never held.
But the Tourist Trophy was.
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#15 john medley

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 07:50

Good one, David!

This is something new as far as I am concerned. I dont think my files carry this info.

But if you do research the 1936 TT you need to see the Fagan family films in the National Archive and visit the Fagan family Mulyan Garages Winery to look at their records, and see where TT winner Jim Fagan took off to fly his 'plane to Phillip Island

#16 David Shaw

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 08:12

Good one, David!

This is something new as far as I am concerned. I dont think my files carry this info.

But if you do research the 1936 TT you need to see the Fagan family films in the National Archive and visit the Fagan family Mulyan Garages Winery to look at their records, and see where TT winner Jim Fagan took off to fly his 'plane to Phillip Island


Thanks John. I will refer to the National Archive. Ray did mention the winery to me last night. Must have a look when I am next up that way.

#17 GreenMachine

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 08:20

FWIW, the Goulburn 1927 thread http://forums.autosp...amp;hl=Goulburn

#18 john medley

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 21:28

I have had a quick look in my files, and there is I suspect more to this than meets the eye.

The Light Car Club in 1935 was already banging the drum about bringing motor racing onto the mainland for the betterment of the sport(they claimed). Mention was made(The Age 3/10/35) of applications to Mornington Shire Council to race there. The Victorian Sporting Car Club then took over the LCCA-abandoned New Years Day event at PI's new triangular circuit, following on from the VSCC's November meeting on that circuit. The LCCA also mentioned a new hillclimb close to Melbourne; this was almost certainly Rob Roy

The VSCC then ran the new event, the Tourist Trophy, and continued with other events despite earlier claiming to be happy to run only two events per year. One of these was the infamous Benalla race -- on the mainland, let it be noted, before the LCCA did their mainland thing. The VSCC created much publicity re this, banging their own drum in running "the first motor road race to be held on the mainland of Victoria"

I found no mention of any AGP plans(or lack of them), but by October 1936, the LCCA's Rob Roy plans were on the way, and mention was made of negotiations with Kilmore Turf Club to race at Kilmore (horse) race course(70 miles from Melbourne) on November 21, which would be "one of the largest circuits available in Australia". The Kilmore race day happened, on grass impossibly slippery.