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#1 cooper997

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 03:00

Over the life of The Nostalgia Forum there appears to be much written about Warwick Farm, but having done a search I can't find a thread that is simply titled as 'Warwick Farm circuit'.

Anyway, today represents 50 years since Englishman, Geoff Sykes and the Australian Automobile Racing Club (it later became 'Company Ltd' rather than 'Club') ran their first official race meeting at Warwick Farm - Sunday December 18th, 1960. I say official, because there had been a shakedown meeting on November 6th, 1960. Going by Kaydee's page 3 photos on the 1950s to 70s Oz racing photos thread it was a tad wet for the December meeting.

Come the following meeting on January 29th, 1961 and Warwick Farm was hosting its first 'International'. The first of 13 such events to be hosted there. These of course being an arrangement between New Zealand and Australia to bring high profile drivers and teams to their shores. With the dawning of 1964 - the Internationals formally became the Tasman Cup.

With the professionalism Warwick Farm brought to Australian motor sport it ran its first Australain GP on February 10th, 1963 meeting. With a further three AGP's held at 'The Farm' in 1967, 1970 & the final one in 1971.

It also ran many titles for Sports Cars, Touring Cars, and many other categories. The troubles began brewing in 1971 with the cancellation of the July 9th, 1971 meeting over CAMS circuit safety issues. Two years later motor racing at Warwick Farm was all over, after the July 15th, 1973 round of the Australian Touring Car Championship had been run. Other events had been pencilled in for the year, but the Australian Jockey Club had the final say with the agreement between Sykes/AARC Ltd and the AJC coming to an end.

So in reality it was a short lifespan for such a great circuit, so close to Sydney. But unfortunately 50 years on, motor racing at Warwick Farm is now all memories for those enthusiasts that made 'The Farm' come alive.

And to all of those who did, I salute your efforts whether you were an official, competitor or spectator through the gate.

Stephen

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#2 john medley

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 03:10

And of course you would be aware that the occasion was appropriately celebrated at a Forestville club yesterday when close to 200 former drivers, officials, volunteers, journos etc etc gathered. I am certain Ray Bell (who was there) will be barely able to contain himself when he reports on the occasion on this forum

#3 cooper997

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 08:13


At Tony Johns this afternoon, he mentioned there was something going on to celebrate the occasion. Look forward to a few tales.

Stephen

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 18:05

Nice to know Tony also celebrated...

One point that came from both Leo Geoghegan and Frank Matich, when Will Hagon stuck a microphone in their respective faces at their tables on Friday was that they would never have had the racing careers they had if it hadn't been for the Farm.

Motor racing in Australia, up until that wet December day, had been on relative goat tracks. To be sure, within a short time a couple of other circuits would open with good surfaces, but it was Warwick Farm that combined this with a genuine effort to bring world-class racing to Australia. Matich pointed out that this enabled him to watch how the 'internationals' went about their racing, their preparation and all that goes into attempting to win major events.

We had a video of greetings sent by Peter Windsor, who was first exposed to racing at the Farm. He told how he badgered his parents to take him to the races there when he was quite young, and once he got there (1964 IIRC) he was hooked forever. Then he badgered them to take him into the AARC (both 'Company' and 'Club') office in Sussex Street in the city, where he was able to meet Geoff Sykes. As it transpired, his father got on well with Geoff (who didn't?) and shared his interest in aircraft and flying.

From there he went to volunteer in the office during school holidays, then on leaving school worked there full time, and with encouragement from Geoff finally went to England. He read us a letter received from Geoff during those early times in England and showed us some of his autograph book entries.

Another letter that was read to us was from Sir Stirling Moss, who enthused about his race victories in the hot sun at the Farm. John Crawford also played over the PA a (somewhat garbled...) phone message from Stirling.

Max and Christine Stahl put this event together and had, at the close of entries, about 130 people on their list. But some more prevailed to have late entries accepted and about 150 gathered at the Austrian Club in Frenchs Forest on Friday for the luncheon.

Max asked people to bring along some memorabilia... and many did. Frank Matich brought the helmet he wore at the first meeting, when he raced the Lotus 15. And the shoes he wore at his last event there in the Matich F5000. Bill Buckle called up to enquire whether there was somewhere he could display his immaculately restored Buckle, and so it sat outside the entry to the building.

Notable was the presence of Keith Regan, who (along with Paul Samuels) told of how they went about commentating the races and saw their role as being the 'representatives' of the paying spectators and ensuring they got good value by keeping them well informed. Will pointed out that Keith would never allow it that spectators didn't have the whole entry list called out before a race, nor miss out on getting the full results afterwards.

There was a lot of white hair. Not so much on Bill O'Gorman's head, but on those of others. Brian Foley, Lionel Ayers, Max Volkers, Niel Allen, Spencer Martin, Bill Brown, John Martin... it was a near-endless list of people who made up racing in the sixties. John Stranger sent his apologies (and yet another letter) from England, Meris Sykes was there and told how she had come out to assist Geoff, but she didn't want to work in the office (which she'd done in England) and so arranged for Mary Packard to help out.

Mary, we were told, said she'd do it because of the urgency of matters as the first race meeting approached, but that she'd only be available for three weeks. We all know that Mary was there until the AARC final folded in the eighties. Ian Packard, Mary's nephew, reminded me that it's now been 15 years since Mary succumbed to her cancer.

To be honest, the scope of the event was so great that it couldn't reasonably be encapsulated in the available time. Max did a good job of bringing things together, but we needed more room, more hours to revive old friendships.

To our good friend John Ellacott fell the greater part of recreating the atmosphere of the Farm with is great photographs. Many of these were blown up to poster size and hung on the walls around the club. He was also filming the interviews Will Hagon was doing with some of the drivers.

For me I felt it was nice that Kim, Lee and Katrina so readily remembered me from those times so many years ago that Bob and I would drop in at the Matich home at Carlingford. They were there with some children and grandchildren, the Matich family took up a whole table. Kris was there but I didn't get to talk to him, while Frank had printed off some copies of the progress of the outright lap record. He featured well in this list, it has to be remembered.

I'll leave it at that for now, but I'll post again as things come to mind. But one thing's for sure, it was well-received and everyone felt it was absolutely necessary to remember what Warwick Farm, and ultimately that means Geoff Sykes, did for motor racing in Australia.

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 19:44

I didn't take many photos there, by the way... but this one shows Max Stahl talking to Bill Buckle, while Fred Vogel is off to the right and the Buckle coupe gleams in the unfamiliar surroundings:

Posted Image

And without a flash my inside shots would be hopeless. I did take a couple, this one shows John Gorman, Holden racer at the first meeting, to the left you see Charlie Smith over the flowers and in the blue shirt to the right is Brian Caldersmith:

Posted Image

Did I mention that Brian Foley, apart from having had his hair turn white and having to don spectacles, hasn't changed a bit?

#6 kneller

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 23:31

Nice to know Tony also celebrated...

One point that came from both Leo Geoghegan and Frank Matich, when Will Hagon stuck a microphone in their respective faces at their tables on Friday was that they would never have had the racing careers they had if it hadn't been for the Farm.

Motor racing in Australia, up until that wet December day, had been on relative goat tracks. To be sure, within a short time a couple of other circuits would open with good surfaces, but it was Warwick Farm that combined this with a genuine effort to bring world-class racing to Australia. Matich pointed out that this enabled him to watch how the 'internationals' went about their racing, their preparation and all that goes into attempting to win major events.

We had a video of greetings sent by Peter Windsor, who was first exposed to racing at the Farm. He told how he badgered his parents to take him to the races there when he was quite young, and once he got there (1964 IIRC) he was hooked forever. Then he badgered them to take him into the AARC (both 'Company' and 'Club') office in Sussex Street in the city, where he was able to meet Geoff Sykes. As it transpired, his father got on well with Geoff (who didn't?) and shared his interest in aircraft and flying.

From there he went to volunteer in the office during school holidays, then on leaving school worked there full time, and with encouragement from Geoff finally went to England. He read us a letter received from Geoff during those early times in England and showed us some of his autograph book entries.

Another letter that was read to us was from Sir Stirling Moss, who enthused about his race victories in the hot sun at the Farm. John Crawford also played over the PA a (somewhat garbled...) phone message from Stirling.

Max and Christine Stahl put this event together and had, at the close of entries, about 130 people on their list. But some more prevailed to have late entries accepted and about 150 gathered at the Austrian Club in Frenchs Forest on Friday for the luncheon.

Max asked people to bring along some memorabilia... and many did. Frank Matich brought the helmet he wore at the first meeting, when he raced the Lotus 15. And the shoes he wore at his last event there in the Matich F5000. Bill Buckle called up to enquire whether there was somewhere he could display his immaculately restored Buckle, and so it sat outside the entry to the building.

Notable was the presence of Keith Regan, who (along with Paul Samuels) told of how they went about commentating the races and saw their role as being the 'representatives' of the paying spectators and ensuring they got good value by keeping them well informed. Will pointed out that Keith would never allow it that spectators didn't have the whole entry list called out before a race, nor miss out on getting the full results afterwards.

There was a lot of white hair. Not so much on Bill O'Gorman's head, but on those of others. Brian Foley, Lionel Ayers, Max Volkers, Niel Allen, Spencer Martin, Bill Brown, John Martin... it was a near-endless list of people who made up racing in the sixties. John Stranger sent his apologies (and yet another letter) from England, Meris Sykes was there and told how she had come out to assist Geoff, but she didn't want to work in the office (which she'd done in England) and so arranged for Mary Packard to help out.

Mary, we were told, said she'd do it because of the urgency of matters as the first race meeting approached, but that she'd only be available for three weeks. We all know that Mary was there until the AARC final folded in the eighties. Ian Packard, Mary's nephew, reminded me that it's now been 15 years since Mary succumbed to her cancer.

To be honest, the scope of the event was so great that it couldn't reasonably be encapsulated in the available time. Max did a good job of bringing things together, but we needed more room, more hours to revive old friendships.

To our good friend John Ellacott fell the greater part of recreating the atmosphere of the Farm with is great photographs. Many of these were blown up to poster size and hung on the walls around the club. He was also filming the interviews Will Hagon was doing with some of the drivers.

For me I felt it was nice that Kim, Lee and Katrina so readily remembered me from those times so many years ago that Bob and I would drop in at the Matich home at Carlingford. They were there with some children and grandchildren, the Matich family took up a whole table. Kris was there but I didn't get to talk to him, while Frank had printed off some copies of the progress of the outright lap record. He featured well in this list, it has to be remembered.

I'll leave it at that for now, but I'll post again as things come to mind. But one thing's for sure, it was well-received and everyone felt it was absolutely necessary to remember what Warwick Farm, and ultimately that means Geoff Sykes, did for motor racing in Australia.



#7 cooper997

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 23:31

Ray,

John Medley made the comment that you wouldn't be able to contain yourself. So I'm pleased that this is the case with your anecdotes of Max's & Chris' Warwick Farm celebrations on Friday. Thank you for sharing.

I'm going to take the liberty to send through a couple of items to you and if you can post them here then that would be appreciated.

Stephen

#8 warwickfarm

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 11:19

Guys Hi. this is my first post I hope it is OK. As you can see by my log in name I treasure the memory of Warwick Farm having flagged on Homestead Corner from 66/67 until closure with the late Dick Macarthur-Onslow & his team.The management team of the farm Geoff Sykes, John Stranger & Mary always treated me as an individual and not a number & was proud to wear the club tie (unfortunately no longer have it but still retain the tie bar).

#9 cooper997

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 11:57

Welcome warwickfarm, you've come to the right place to share your memories of flagging at 'the Farm'. I dare say there's a few tales you can tell that will be of interest to the enthusiasts that visit this Forum.

Stephen

#10 warwickfarm

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 12:56

Welcome warwickfarm, you've come to the right place to share your memories of flagging at 'the Farm'. I dare say there's a few tales you can tell that will be of interest to the enthusiasts that visit this Forum.

Stephen

Thanks Cooper997 Mate the years of some incidents I forget but the ones that immediately stand out are Jochen Rindt in the wet 1969 drifting the Lotus thru the corner on the same angle every lap. Beautiful driving to watch in the conditions. Kevin Bartlett & Garry Rush tangoed in the fence. Alec Mildren was not happy !!!!. Presenting my hero Jim Clark in 68 with a can of Flag Ale on his slow down lap. Nearly getting wiped out by Frank Matich who lost control of the Blue Sports car SR4? near the tennis courts while we were attempting to push away Glynn Scott who had also spun off, this was only the Warm Up Lap. A funny incident occured during a Touring Car race when a Mini driven by a three striper (NOW Red P Plater) lost control coming thru the corner missed the fence on the left and swung right and entered the swamp to the left of the house, he had gone in about 50 foot - mud & water up to 6" up the doors, he was well & truly stuck. At the end of the race Dick Macarthur-Onslow told myself & another flaggie to try and help him, so off came shoes & socks rolled up trousers and we entered the bog, meanwhile the driver did want to get his feet dirty so he stayed in the car - helmet off. As you might have guessed it was impossible to push the Mini from where it was.I signalled to Dick a tow truck was needed. Towie turns up, the 3 of us looking for somewhere to attach the tow rope. I signalled to Dick "where do we tie the rope", just then the driver poked his head out of the window showing his long flowing golden locks (halfway down his back). Back came from Dick in his loudest voice "tie it round his bl...y long hair and hurry up. Hence driver not impressed where as the rest of us could not stop laughing. Driver finally decided to get out & dirty and attached rope to car and was pulled out by tow truck. Driver was very red faced by crowd who wolf whistled him. Ah fond Memories.

#11 SJ Lambert

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 13:01

I'd particularly like to see images and race reports from this fabulous track when hosting Gold Star rounds through the years - I'm especially keen on seeing materials from the Hordern Trophy Race of 4 Dec 1966, which would have been the final Gold Star round that year. Though Spencer Martin had, it turned out sealed his Star the previous round, I reckon it would still have been a wonderful event! Every car competing would have been gorgeous!

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 20:56

Photos... do you ask for photos?

Where is John Ellacott when you need him?

Derek Kneller has sent me this little pic for this thread. He was actually invited by Frank Matich to come along but couldn't make it. His e.mail to me reads:

I have just read your article on the autosport forum re the warwick farm lunch, Frank Matich sent me an invite but I could not make it.

I have sent you a photo of my trophies from the farm, as you can see they are from 1972, the three major races of that year at the farm. I have fond memories of the farm, we seemed to be testing there every week.

I have sent this direct to you direct because there seems to be someone on the forum using my name.


Posted Image

These trophies are inscribed 'Mechanic to Winning Car', the races being the "Rothmans 100" in February, the Warwick Farm round of the Tasman Cup, the Motor Show Trophy at the September meeting and the "Hordern Trophy" at the final meeting of the year. Significantly, that was the final running of the "Hordern Trophy" at Warwick Farm.

And from Stephen:

Posted Image

...and this magazine, produced through Racing Car News and covering the International races of the sixties:

Posted Image

I have to say, I really do like that pic of John Surtees leading the 1963 field away across the Western Crossing and heading for Homestead Corner. It was the first International race I saw, the first Australian Grand Prix I saw, and a great battle between Surtees and Brabham.

I believe this magazine will be reprinted in this wave of Warwick Farm enthusiasm, but I do hope its scope is increased to include more in the course of that process. Everyone at the luncheon got a copy, by the way.

#13 Wirra

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 21:17

...some incidents.. that immediately stand out are ... Presenting my hero Jim Clark in 68 with a can of Flag Ale on his slow down lap. ...



Posted Image

#14 MCS

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 21:20

Magnificent picture!

#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 22:07

Yes, I'm sure we've had it in the Aussie pics thread, haven't we?

It's coming out of Polo Corner, he's nearing the end of his lap of honour there. Just one more race to win.

#16 David Shaw

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 08:21

I'd particularly like to see images and race reports from this fabulous track when hosting Gold Star rounds through the years - I'm especially keen on seeing materials from the Hordern Trophy Race of 4 Dec 1966, which would have been the final Gold Star round that year. Though Spencer Martin had, it turned out sealed his Star the previous round, I reckon it would still have been a wonderful event! Every car competing would have been gorgeous!

There is a photo of Spencer from that meeting at my website.
Spencer only had a 5 point lead over Harvey's Twin Cam Brabham going into the last round, so John could have won it with a first or second if Martin didn't score points. A wet Hordern Trophy may have seen a different result.


#17 cooper997

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 08:41

I'd particularly like to see images and race reports from this fabulous track when hosting Gold Star rounds through the years - I'm especially keen on seeing materials from the Hordern Trophy Race of 4 Dec 1966, which would have been the final Gold Star round that year. Though Spencer Martin had, it turned out sealed his Star the previous round, I reckon it would still have been a wonderful event! Every car competing would have been gorgeous!


James,

I'm holidays in a couple of days, so I'll try to dig out the December 66 Warwick Farm reports potentially from Autosportsman, RCN & SCW and then email to you.

Stephen

#18 cooper997

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 08:53

Ray,

Thank you for posting up the first Warwick Farm programme and the magazine cover. If everyone got a copy of the magazine on Friday, that must mean Max has been sitting on a couple of boxes of them for 30 years. I'm not aware of any other publication specifically devoted to 'the Farm'.

warwickfarm,

Thanks for sharing some of your memories. As I read your tale about the Mini driver, I was beginning to think that a female driver may have been on board. As you remember a bit more feel free to share with us.

Stephen

#19 David Shaw

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 08:54

Actually, Rob Luck who wrote the SCW report found the race a very boring procession with Martin doing just enough to win the title, coming in "a conservative and safe third" after "making it as hard as possible for the guy behind [Harvey] to get through".

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#20 cooper997

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 09:25

The following relates to all events (other than the AARC 'clubbies') that Warwick Farm held from the circuit starting up, until the end of 1964. Hopefully someone will find it handy. The rest to follow...

· Sunday November 6, 1960 - Warwick Farm - test day.

· Sunday December 18, 1960 - Warwick Farm Opening meeting (first official event).

· Sunday January 29, 1961 - Warwick Farm International meeting.

· Sunday March 19, 1961 - Warwick Farm National Open Meeting

· Sunday May 21, 1961 - Warwick Farm National Open meeting.

· Sunday July 30, 1961 - Warwick Farm Australian GT Car Championship meeting.

· Sunday September 17, 1961 - Warwick Farm National Open meeting.

· Sunday November 5, 1961 - Warwick Farm National Open meeting.

· Sunday December 17, 1961 - Warwick Farm National Open meeting.

· Sunday February 4, 1962 - Warwick Farm International meeting

· Sunday June 3, 1962 - Warwick Farm National Open meeting.

· Sunday August 5, 1962 - Warwick Farm National Open meeting.

· Sunday October 14, 1962 - Warwick Farm National Open meeting - Hordern Trophy. David McKay hit loo at this event.

· Sunday December 2, 1962 - Warwick Farm National Open meeting.

· Sunday February 10, 1963 - Warwick Farm International/Australian GP meeting.

· Sunday June 2, 1963 - Warwick Farm National Open meeting - RAC Trophy Race.

· Sunday September 8, 1963 - Warwick Farm National Open meeting - Hordern & FJ Championship.

· Sunday December 1, 1963 - Warwick Farm National Open meeting - AJC Gold Star Trophy.

· Sunday February 16, 1964 - Warwick Farm International ‘100’ Tasman Championship meeting - round 6.

· Sunday June 7, 1964 - Warwick Farm National Open RAC Trophy meeting.

· Sunday September 6, 1964 - Warwick Farm Australian 1.5 litre Championship meeting.

· Sunday December 6, 1964 - Warwick Farm Hordern Trophy Gold Star meeting.

Stephen

Edited to include Mar 61 meeting - not known at time of original posting.

Edited by cooper997, 13 March 2011 - 10:27.


#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 09:50

Originally posted by cooper997
Ray,

Thank you for posting up the first Warwick Farm programme and the magazine cover. If everyone got a copy of the magazine on Friday, that must mean Max has been sitting on a couple of boxes of them for 30 years. I'm not aware of any other publication specifically devoted to 'the Farm'.


I hope you will learn how to post your own pics some time... but this once was okay...

Max had the Fabulous Farm reprinted (new low volume process) for the occasion.

With regard to the final of that '66 Gold Star, Spencer came in for some fairly serious criticism over that one. David McKay, particularly, lamented that he didn't try to win the race, that he drove for just enough points to make sure he won the title.

At the luncheon Colin Bond had a handful of black and white snapshots, one was of Spencer with a good fistful of opposite lock. He was showing these to Matich and I walked up, they were having a hard time working out who some of the pics were, which I found strange. It was obvious to me it was Spencer in the Bob Jane colours, and the one of Harvey was readily apparent with the Shell stripes around the nose, but others there simply couldn't recognise a lot of the cars.


#22 GD66

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 10:07

Not enough practice with the cut-and-thrust of TNF detective work, Ray... :lol:

#23 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 13:03

They were always too busy competing to take notice of what the cars looked like, I guess...

I don't think KB would have had so much trouble picking them all.

#24 cooper997

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 01:37

Warwick Farm race dates - Part 2. Covering 1965 to the end of 1969.


· Sunday February 14, 1965 - Warwick Farm Tasman Championship International Gold Star meeting.

· Sunday May 16, 1965 - Warwick Farm RAC Trophy meeting.

· Sunday July 18, 1965 - Warwick Farm AJC Trophy meeting - cancelled due to torrential rain until August 8 (this date was already intended to be AARC Club race meeting).

· Sunday September 19, 1965 - Warwick Farm Australian F2 Championship meeting.

· Sunday December 5, 1965 - Warwick Farm Hordern Trophy Gold Star meeting.

· Sunday February 13, 1966 - Warwick Farm Tasman Championship International meeting.

· Sunday May 15, 1966 - Warwick Farm RAC Sports Car Trophy meeting.

· Sunday July 17, 1966 - Warwick Farm AJC Trophy meeting.

· September 18, 1966 - Warwick Farm Country Club GT Trophy meeting.

· Sunday December 4, 1966 - Warwick Farm Hordern Trophy Gold Star meeting.

· February 19, 1967 - Warwick Farm - 32nd Australian GP / Tasman Championship International meeting.

· Sunday May 14, 1967 - Warwick Farm RAC Sports Car Trophy meeting.

· Sunday July 16, 1967 - Warwick Farm AJC Touring Car Trophy meeting.

· Sunday September 10, 1967 - Warwick Farm Gallaher GT Sports Car Trophy meeting.

· Sunday December 3, 1967 - Warwick Farm Hordern Trophy Gold Star meeting.

· Sunday February 18, 1968 - Warwick Farm Tasman Championship International meeting.

· Sunday May 5, 1968 - Warwick Farm RAC Trophy & Race of Champions meeting.

· Sunday July 14, 1968 - Warwick Farm AJC Touring Car Trophy meeting

· Sunday September 8, 1968 - Warwick Farm Australian Touring Car Championship meeting.

· Sunday December 1, 1968 - Warwick Farm Hordern Trophy Gold Star meeting.

· Sunday February 9, 1969 - Warwick Farm Tasman International Championship International meeting.

· Sunday May 4, 1969 - Warwick Farm RAC Trophy - Australian Sports Car Championship meeting.

· Sunday July 13, 1969 - Warwick Farm AJC Touring Car Trophy meeting.

· Sunday September 7, 1969 - Warwick Farm Sydney Motor Show Trophy meeting. Formula Libre race with F5000’s.

· Sunday December 7, 1969 - Warwick Farm Hordern Trophy Gold Star & ANF2 meeting.


Stephen


#25 William Dale Jr

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 02:49

Peter Windsor talks about The Farm in one of his latest blog posts:

http://www.theracedr...d-50-years-ago/

#26 mick78

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 01:32

The Fabulous Farm: Warwick Farm Publication Reprint

http://www.automotob...int-p-4875.html

#27 cooper997

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 00:16

Mick78,

Thanks for bringing 'The Fabulous Farm' reprint availability to our attention. Fortunately I have an original, but for those that don't...

Stephen

#28 cooper997

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 00:41

The third (and final) part that should now have all the Warwick Farm race dates covered - 1970 to the final meeting in 1973

· Sunday February 15, 1970 - Warwick Farm Tasman Championship International meeting.

· Sunday May 3, 1970 - Warwick Farm RAC Sports Car Championship meeting.

· Sunday July 12, 1970 - Warwick Farm Australian Touring Car Championship meeting.

· Sunday September 6, 1970 - Warwick Farm Gold Star meeting.

· Sunday November 22, 1970 - Warwick Farm 35th AGP meeting. Run also as the tenth anniversary for Warwick Farm.

· Sunday, February 14, 1971 - Warwick Farm Tasman Championship International meeting.

· Sunday May 2, 1971 - Warwick Farm 100 Manufacturers Championship meeting.

· No July 9, 1971 meeting - cancelled because of track safety issues with CAMS.

· Sunday September 5, 1971 - Warwick Farm Hordern Trophy meeting.

· Sunday October 17, 1971 - Warwick Farm Tom Sulman Trophy meeting - run to make up for cancelled July meeting.

· Sunday November 21, 1971 - Warwick Farm 36th AGP meeting.

· Sunday February 13, 1972 - Warwick Farm Tasman Championship International meeting.

· Sunday April 30, 1972 - Warwick Farm RAC Trophy Australian Sports Car Championship meeting.

· Sunday July 9, 1972 - Warwick Farm ‘Marlboro Cup’ Australian Touring Car Championship meeting.

· Sunday September 3, 1972 - Warwick Farm AJC Motor Show Trophy meeting.

· Sunday October 29, 1972 - Warwick Farm Gold Star meeting. Postponed to November 5, 1972. Due to rain and it let Warwick Brown rebuild his car.

· Sunday February 11, 1973 - Warwick Farm ‘Chesterfield 100’ Tasman Championship Inernational meeting.

· Sunday May 6, 1973 - Warwick Farm RAC Trophy Australian Sports Car Championship meeting.

· Sunday July 15, 1973 - Warwick Farm 'Marlboro Cup' Australian Touring Car Championship meeting. Ended up being final race meeting held at circuit.

· September 9, 1973 - pencilled in, but not run.

· November 18, 1973 - again pencilled in, but not run.




#29 john medley

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 06:11

Cooper997
Thanks for this thread and those lists.
A question : is that November 18 1973 date correct for the "last" meeting?
I prefer not to revisit that date, because I entered a newly rebuilt but incomplete racing car for that meeting, and sfter something like 3 months of hard work, midnight oil, little sleep and advanced fatigue, was told by Dave Mawer on the Tuesday night before that the meeting was not going to happen. I think I fell in an exhausted heap on the floor of Mawer Engineering. It was such a painful experience that I must have blotted it all out -- and changed the date because I thought it was early December -- until I saw your list.

#30 David Shaw

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 07:09

Mick78,

Thanks for bringing 'The Fabulous Farm' reprint availability to our attention. Fortunately I have an original, but for those that don't...

Stephen


Stephen, is there much coverage of the Hordern Trophy meetings in there that may be useful to me in regards to my Gold Star site?

Thanks


#31 Paul Hamilton

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 08:25


I believe that the last race meeting actually run at Warwick Farm was an AARC club event on the short circuit on 12 August 1973. My records indicate that my Elfin 600 qualified on pole for the racing car feature event at that meeting and then won the final single seater race ever to be run at the 'farm. Given the relative low status of the event that was a pretty ignominious ending to an illustrious history!!

At the time we did not know what was in the wind but I do still recall that both Geoff Sykes and Mary Packard were pretty subdued that day and it was sometime during the following week that announcements were made concerning cancelation of subsequently scheduled events and closure of the circuit. For a few years thereafter we were occasionally able to have a run on the short circuit before that too was closed but I would be pretty sure that no one ever got to run around the full circuit after the July 1973 meeting. To have used anything more than the short circuit would have required implementation of the crossings over the horse racing track and the AJC was, by that time, simply not interested in motor racing at all and wanted to get rid of it all ASAP.

They eventually succeeded in doing just that but it took them another 13 years or so to do so!! The final Warwick Farm entry in my Elfin record book is dated 11 November 1990 when I covered 40 laps running in a freshly rebuilt engine around the short circuit at a HSRCA family day practice session. There would seem to have been something of an air of finality to that day, however, as, although I have no strong memories of it, the record book shows that I shared the Elfin's wheel that day with Graham Howard, Harley Boggiss and Stephen Knox so it would appear, perhaps, to have had something of a nostalgic flavour. One memory I do have of those final few test sessions on the short circuit is that, by the late 80's, the circuit seemed to be quite narrow compared to what we had by then become used to racing on at other more recently developed circuits. That did not impact at all on its value for testing and set up purposes but major works would have been required to bring it up to modern standards for racing purposes.

Although there was no competitive activity at Warwick Farm after 1973 the AARC (i.e. the Australian Automobile Racing [/u[u]]Club - a separate entity to the Australian Automobile Racing [u]Company) continued to run club race meetings at Amaroo Park up until 30 November 1986 when, as chance would have it, I also put the Elfin on pole and won the racing car feature event, now running as a historic car at the final AARC race meeting!! Mary and Geoff were both still involved in those final years of club meetings at Amaroo and my recollection is that they were happy to continue the organisation of those events until the AARC bank balance ran dry. The meetings still had something of the old Warwick Farm spirit to them and it was a sad day indeed when it all came to a final ending.

My treasured 246 Dino still carries an AARC badge and it was great to see that Max Stahl had the thought to include a reproduction of that honoured emblem in the 'goodies bag' he presented to all of us attending his recent memorable luncheon.

#32 Wirra

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 11:11

Warning - The attached image may be distressing to many TNFers

The remains of the circuit - about the late 80s

Posted Image
Bigger than normal image as I thought some might be looking for detail

Edited by Wirra, 02 January 2011 - 11:58.


#33 Wirra

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 11:59

Posted Image
(edit) Upon reflection the Dunlop bridge may have been before the bend in the river (creek), just at the end of the spectator mound

Edited by Wirra, 02 January 2011 - 19:54.


#34 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 13:10

Originally posted by David Shaw
Stephen, is there much coverage of the Hordern Trophy meetings in there that may be useful to me in regards to my Gold Star site?


Nothing, David...

This publication covered only the International meetings.

For the record, this is the first Bits & Pieces item in the September '73 issue of RCN:

AJC/AARC Joint Venture Ceases
In a brief announcement which surprised all but the most discerning and analytical motor racing "critiques", the General Secretary of the AARC, Geoff Sykes, advised the World of the decision by the Australian Jockey Club to end its association with his Company. As a result, the meetings set down for September 9 and November 18 (Round 6 of the Formula 1 Championship) were abandoned.

The reaction has, of course, been one of general bewilderment, sadness and not a little criticism of bodies and people. Principal targets for such criticism have been the AJC, CAMS, the River Heights Progress Association and the National Track Inspection Committee, while the most favoured excuses for the Farm's failure have ranged from the weather to the fickleness of Sydney racing spectators, and even included the wages being paid to the gatekeepers and groundsmen.

But nobody, to my mind, has directed the blame where it belongs - at the management. When Geoff Sykes opened Warwick Farm back in 1960, he had only Bathurst and Catalina Park to contend with. Oran Park came soon after, but was little more than a Club affair for many years, and Amaroo Park was a long way off. So Warwick Farm, with its magnificent grandstands, acres of greenery, a superb drivers track and comfortable surroundings, all within 20 miles of the GPO, was a a "certainty" for success.

Add to this the overseas stars of the Tasman series - who came largely for the summer holiday, incidentally - and the Farm had everything going for it. But then the young and enthusiastic force at Oran Park soon set about presenting their "New Look", the ARDC too over Amaroo Park, and the going got tough.

Set in their ways, the Organising Committee of the AARC failed to recognise the signs and portents, failed to produce the energetic promotion to match the appeal of the opposition, failed to negotiate income-producing sponsorship deals, and failed to keep the spectators - and the Press - happy with ten year old standards of programmes and amenities.

So the Farm failed, just like any company which lacks direction from above. Will it stay a failure? Surprisingly, perhaps, not if the AJC has anything to do with it, for that businesslike body has already received proposals to "take over" the Farm. They are now being considered and an announcement is expected very soon.


And, after all of that, the following issue had a similarly-placed item that told us that the AJC had rejected all offers and stated that they wanted nothing to do with Motor Racing.

#35 David Shaw

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 13:39

Thanks Ray :up: . I can go to bed not feeling guilty about thinking of spending money now.

Having a look at Wirra's labelling of the late 80's air photo shows me a couple of things. Where the car track crosses the horse track just after the Shell bridge in the esses is a new section of horse track. The cars didn't originally cross the horserace track there. You can also detect a change of colour in the turf.

Also, if you extend that part of the horse track back further (it is known as a 'chute' in horseracing parlance, not part of the track proper and only used for the start of a race) it has been cleared on the other side of Hume Straight. This would be where the current 1400m start is for horse races, so it is possible that the AJC realised that with the car racing gone that they could extend the chute from 1200m to 1400m (using a 1300m chute in the interim as in the photo), which would be rather desirable for them.

#36 cooper997

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 13:45

Cooper997
Thanks for this thread and those lists.
A question : is that November 18 1973 date correct for the "last" meeting?
I prefer not to revisit that date, because I entered a newly rebuilt but incomplete racing car for that meeting, and sfter something like 3 months of hard work, midnight oil, little sleep and advanced fatigue, was told by Dave Mawer on the Tuesday night before that the meeting was not going to happen. I think I fell in an exhausted heap on the floor of Mawer Engineering. It was such a painful experience that I must have blotted it all out -- and changed the date because I thought it was early December -- until I saw your list.


John,

I've been building up my list of race dates (not just Warwick Farm) for some time now - but it is far from complete. Mainly due to time, money, inclination and a source - sometimes not necessarly in that order though.

Because of the 50th anniversary falling on December 18, 2010, I decided a couple of days before hand to complete the list for this fabulous, sadly defunct venue. With the intent to do what I did and publish the list on TNF. I pretty much had it ready to go on or near the anniversary, but decided to string the list out in 3 parts to give the thread some lifespan. Although I certainly hoped, and indeed still hope the likes of yourself, Paul, Wirra, Lynton, Ray, etc give it some legs - you guys were there. Which of course has begun happening to bring it together. Because like I mentioned in post #1 I couldn't find an existing thread title -'Warwick Farm circuit'. Even though the search simply as 'Warwick Farm' brought forward 13 pages of threads where it gets a mention (and I checked the 13 pages for one thread with the appropriate title to no avail).

As I also mentioned in the post covering the first part of the race dates - 1960 to the end of 1964 - it doesn't cover the AARC 'Clubbies' mainly because I didn't go looking hard enough to cover these dates. Everything that was published came from my collection of race programmes, but I haven't got them all yet. So for those missing 'open' meetings I went with a quite trusted source - Racing Car News and in some instances the SCW instigated Australian Motor Racing Annuals (these being the ones that started in 1964 and the last I'm aware being the 1976 edition). In respect to using RCN/SCW Annual as sources, it pretty much relates to many of the 1970s dates, because this is the period where most of my WF programme gaps are.

So cutting to the chase and your question of the November 18 1973 date. That one was published in the RCN Jan 1973 issue, where Max bravely published the motor racing calendar for the coming year. It however has no mention for the September 9 1973 meeting. But that is indeed covered in RCN Aug 73 at the end of the July 15 race report. So that is why I simply mention them as "penciled in, but not run". (well not as open race meetings anyway). I have briefly read through Paul's post and see he has added some personal insight. That's what it's about. Fraudsters like me, who were too young or too far away can't rely on personal insight for this, so we have to use other means (then hope we get it right).


David S,

The Fabulous Farm magazine has only Internationals/Tasman events from the 1960s in its content.


Wirra,

Great shot of a sad ending - at least it was recorded by your photo for prosperity.

Stephen

#37 David McKinney

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 15:51

Yes, thanks Wirra

I never realised WF was so close to the Hume Highway

#38 SJ Lambert

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 20:11

Yes, thanks Wirra

I never realised WF was so close to the Hume Highway



Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

It's very close according to this map if it's scaled correctly (and it looks pretty close according to the aerial shot). Must have found this map on another thread.

Edited by SJ Lambert, 02 January 2011 - 20:11.


#39 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 22:01

Originally posted by David Shaw
Thanks Ray :up: . I can go to bed not feeling guilty about thinking of spending money now.

Having a look at Wirra's labelling of the late 80's air photo shows me a couple of things. Where the car track crosses the horse track just after the Shell bridge in the esses is a new section of horse track. The cars didn't originally cross the horserace track there. You can also detect a change of colour in the turf.

Also, if you extend that part of the horse track back further (it is known as a 'chute' in horseracing parlance, not part of the track proper and only used for the start of a race) it has been cleared on the other side of Hume Straight. This would be where the current 1400m start is for horse races, so it is possible that the AJC realised that with the car racing gone that they could extend the chute from 1200m to 1400m (using a 1300m chute in the interim as in the photo), which would be rather desirable for them.


Couldn't have you suffering like that, David...

Good point about the horse track's extended chute. Yet I don't recall that it actually went back over Hume Straight when I was there with Roger a few years ago. But you can bet that this option was nagging at the AJC Committee and when they realised that they had the chance to dump all their problems and put in this new bit of track they would have been happy to do so.

Problems? Essentially, there were problems mixing horse and car racing there. It put pressure on the horse training people when there was car racing, they had to be off the track by a certain time so the crews could go to work clearing the crossings. There was also the growing issue of encroaching housing and noise complaints, which you can be sure would never go away.

Remember, too, that the circumstances of the AJC and Warwick Farm Racecourse had changed dramatically since 1960. The circuit had been built when the AJC needed more income, but the coming of the Totalisator Agency Board in the mid-sixties reversed that situation and they had money to burn. They had, also, by then learned that wet weather has a big effect on income from motor racing. A sodden '73 Tasman Cup meeting lost money while a good day would be the money-spinner of the year.

David, there was only literally a fence and a walkway between the lay-by on the highway and the safety barrier at Homestead Corner.

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#40 Catalina Park

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 00:43

Gentlemen, I draw your attention to an online map similar to Google Maps but a little better in some areas...
www.nearmap.com
As you can see there is not much left at all.




#41 David Shaw

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 01:29

Good point about the horse track's extended chute. Yet I don't recall that it actually went back over Hume Straight when I was there with Roger a few years ago.


Actually, after I posted I did check out Google Earth, and you are right in that the chute hasn't extended over Hume Straight as it appeared to me from the aerial photo that they were preparing to do.


#42 gray chandler

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 09:43

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Kel Carruthers Honda 250 four. Ross Bond and the Healey.

#43 Ian G

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 01:12

A few more observations on the demise of the Farm that may(or may not) be correct. The land sub-division behind Creek Corner was cheaper than similar blocks on the other side of the Hume Highway because of the Motor Racing circuit but the residents organised shortly after building to campaign against the noise. Geoff Sykes lost his passion for the circuit after the change to F-5000 and the end to the visiting F-1 drivers and increasingly took an interest in the aviation side of the AARC. Sections of the AJC Committee took an increasingly hostile attitude towards Geoff in particular and Motor Racing in general from 1972 onwards.
I played several games of Golf in the late 1970's with the former caretaker that lived in the cottage at Homestead,he had retired to Terrigal on the Central Coast and he said it was just one problem after another as regards the Motor Racing once the houses were built at Creek Corner,the Horse Trainers also become very vocal around the same time but little was done by the AARC or the AJC to find a compromise including adopting minor changes to the design of the circuit.
Whatever the truth is it was very sad to see it all fold.

Edited by Ian G, 04 January 2011 - 01:14.


#44 William Hunt

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 21:58

Is it true that the Australian GP at Warwick Farm was to be an official F1 World Championship race in 1970 but that it was canceled and it remained a local race?

#45 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 23:05

Essentially, yes...

The plans for a World Championship race fell through, but the date had been allocated to the Farm and so the race went ahead for F5000 and 2.5-litres.

#46 Paul Newby

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 00:06

Essentially, yes...

The plans for a World Championship race fell through, but the date had been allocated to the Farm and so the race went ahead for F5000 and 2.5-litres.


Ray, I had heard about the 1970 F1 race rumour. How serious were these plans? What was the stumbling block?

In your opinion, do you think it would have worked at Warwick Farm? Would it have made the circuit viable (in modified form I guess) into the 80's. A fascinating "what if"...

I presume that in those pre-Bernie days there would have been a lot of different parameters than what there are today.




#47 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 01:25

I believe Geoff Sykes was quite serious about it and working up to it...

I'm sure the finances for such an event would have taken care of themselves. Whether it was the AJC or local resident problems or whatever else that shot it in the foot, I have no recollection.

Someone should ask, perhaps, John Stranger. I'll see if I can do that.

#48 Ian G

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 22:33

I think the F-1 race would have been 'iffy' at best as IIRC Chapman was quoted as saying he would never return to Oz after the dramas with the Gold Leaf cars.Around the same time there was also a drama with racing in general at the Farm,the CAMS(may have been the AJC contacting CAMS) bypassed the AARC and contacted the AJC directly regarding issues they felt weren't being addressed. John Stranger may know if this had anything thing to do with the F-1 race.

Edited by Ian G, 19 February 2011 - 22:33.


#49 David Shaw

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 23:06

What were Chapman's dramas with the Gold Leaf cars? If that was to do with the advertising being forced to be changed, that was the 1968 Tasman Series, and they returned for the 1969 edition. CAMS had changed the regulations regarding advertising in mid 1968 so it was then a non-issue.

#50 Ian G

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 00:24

Thats correct David,i think the initial problem was the size of the Gold Leaf lettering at Lakeside in 1968 but the quote that he wouldn't be returning to race in Oz was much later than that,1970 or 71.After saying that there are people on this Forum that were more involved and have better memories than me so may be able to clarify,i stand by Chapmans quote as i remember the Mag. in question being on the counter at the AARC and causing quite a lot of fuss.

Edited by Ian G, 20 February 2011 - 00:25.