Jump to content


Photo

Bill Warner / Len Duncan


  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 Prototype

Prototype
  • Member

  • 113 posts
  • Joined: January 08

Posted 30 November 2010 - 00:27

When I was a kid in the mid 1960's Westmead speedway (near Parramatta in Sydney) used to be broadcast on TV. The absolute hero of the day was Bill Warner, who used to drive a sprint-car like device. Does anyone remember Bill Warner, whatever happened to him, stories about him etc. etc.

Before that, in the very early 1960's an American who my father knew, Len Duncan raced at Rowley Park in Adelaide. Dad introduced me to Len and I was very impressed!! I've read that he raced into his eighties, and died at a ripe old age - interesting considering his profession. Any stories on Len, his Australian visits, anecdotes anyone?

cheers, Andrew

Advertisement

#2 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 6,061 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 30 November 2010 - 22:51

When I was a kid in the mid 1960's Westmead speedway (near Parramatta in Sydney) used to be broadcast on TV. The absolute hero of the day was Bill Warner, who used to drive a sprint-car like device. Does anyone remember Bill Warner, whatever happened to him, stories about him etc. etc.

Before that, in the very early 1960's an American who my father knew, Len Duncan raced at Rowley Park in Adelaide. Dad introduced me to Len and I was very impressed!! I've read that he raced into his eighties, and died at a ripe old age - interesting considering his profession. Any stories on Len, his Australian visits, anecdotes anyone?

cheers, Andrew

Bill Warner I remember too from those Westmead TV shows. I believe that car has been restored by Bob Blacklaw. He was probably the best operator in the best equipment at that time in NSW.
But Len Duncan is someone I have never heard of and late 50s early 60s I seldom missed a Rowley Pk meeting. Kym Bonython did bring in a lot of quality imports in that period in stockcars which evolved into Supermods, midgets and the bikes.

#3 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 54,121 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 01 December 2010 - 01:35

Bill Warner also raced on road circuits...

There's photos been posted here of him running a '56 Chev and an FE Holden with a V8 engine at Oran Park (try 'search'), while in later days he moved into HQs. He had a strong engine and a rough car at one stage, I don't know if it was his last car, but about eleven or so years ago my nephew bought it from him and did some work on it.

He then copied the good things from that engine into his existing engine (he bought the car basically to put the engine into his own car for the end of the season) and he and a mate of his were consistently running first and second in the Queensland series races for most of the year.

Bill lives, I think (and I can check...) on the Gold Coast.

#4 Michael Ferner

Michael Ferner
  • Member

  • 2,289 posts
  • Joined: November 09

Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:39

Bill Warner I remember too from those Westmead TV shows. I believe that car has been restored by Bob Blacklaw. He was probably the best operator in the best equipment at that time in NSW.
But Len Duncan is someone I have never heard of and late 50s early 60s I seldom missed a Rowley Pk meeting. Kym Bonython did bring in a lot of quality imports in that period in stockcars which evolved into Supermods, midgets and the bikes.


Interestingly, from "my American viewpoint" (i.e. from a German researching mainly US events ;)), it is the complete opposite: I don't think I have ever heard of Bill Warner, but Len Duncan is a name that conjures up a lot of events. He was a true legend of the Eastern racing scene for many decades, beginning in the early thirties (or even late twenties?), and going on and on and on... and on! His main activity was racing Midgets, but he did do quite a lot of Big Car racing early in his career, and even made it to Indy, although I'm not sure (from memory) if he actually qualified for a start. Almost seemlessly continued in Historic Racing, once his front line career was over... you should be able to find quite a lot about him by googling his name!

#5 ellrosso

ellrosso
  • Member

  • 827 posts
  • Joined: May 07

Posted 01 December 2010 - 20:27

I've got a May 1972 Aust Hot Rodding Review with a 5 page article on "Mr Chev", Bill Warner. He was mainly known for his Speedway efforts but was also the man behind Warren Armour rails in drag racing. He did have Ford connections early on when he and his father were converting the 2 dr Falcon Futura's to 289 V8 power when they first came to Australia. Aust Muscle Cars did an article on these a couple of years back.
His circuit racing started with an FX Holden, went on to a Renault Dauphine, then to the cars Ray described. The FE with 283 CHev V8 was a combined effort with Barry Sharp. He was 31 years old and ran a servo in North Rockdale at the time of the article (written by Mac Douglas).
Bill was generally regarded as the best Chev engine builder in Australia at that time.

#6 ronmac

ronmac
  • Member

  • 825 posts
  • Joined: September 10

Posted 01 December 2010 - 21:41

:rotfl: Bill Warner...speedway....plese refer to ..Speedway at Sydney Royale 1972....for more details...good luck.

#7 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 6,061 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 01 December 2010 - 23:00

Interestingly, from "my American viewpoint" (i.e. from a German researching mainly US events ;)), it is the complete opposite: I don't think I have ever heard of Bill Warner, but Len Duncan is a name that conjures up a lot of events. He was a true legend of the Eastern racing scene for many decades, beginning in the early thirties (or even late twenties?), and going on and on and on... and on! His main activity was racing Midgets, but he did do quite a lot of Big Car racing early in his career, and even made it to Indy, although I'm not sure (from memory) if he actually qualified for a start. Almost seemlessly continued in Historic Racing, once his front line career was over... you should be able to find quite a lot about him by googling his name!

Michael, I can never remember him racing in Adelaide at Rowley Pk Speedway. There was a lot of American imports brought in in the 60s and 70s. The likes of Bob Tattersall, Jimmie Davies, Sherman Cleveland, Larry Rice, Marshall Sargent, Garry Patterson, Mel Kenyon , Mike Wasina, Jimmy Sills and many more. Even Foyt has raced in Oz.
And they are still coming, guys like Danny Smith have been coming for 20 years. Though not many specialist midget racers anymore as the Sprintcars are where the money is.

#8 john medley

john medley
  • Member

  • 1,167 posts
  • Joined: November 02

Posted 02 December 2010 - 07:10

I dont think I knew that Len Duncan raced in Australia, but I do recall his name in Indianapolis 500s of the early 1950s. Quick look at the books: 31st in 1954