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Amaroo Park NSW Australia


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#1 275 GTB-4

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 08:45

I was surprised to find that no thread has ever been dedicated to Amaroo Park raceway in NSW.

An outline of the track is at http://www.racingcir...AmarooPark.html

The circuit was a little Mickey Mouse in its layout but some great racing occured there over the years. How sad to have such a busy Motor Racing venue replaced by this:

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The Cul de Sac is at the end of the main straight...... :

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#2 mctshirt

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 09:38

In happier times...
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Round 8 of the 1988 ATCC grid
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Peter Brock in a BMW M3 at Round 8 of the 1988 ATCC
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John Bowe and Dick Johnson enjoyed a 1-2 finish at Round 8 of the 1988 ATCC

#3 Catalina Park

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 10:16

Notice the two roads going off at the top right corner of the pic? (near the lake) That was part of the never finished "Grand Prix" circuit.

A great track. I miss it a lot. :cry: I got my licence there and years later I competed in the last race meeting there. I also helped to dismantle the place.

#4 275 GTB-4

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 10:18

brilliant shots...those were the days (and of course a lot earlier than that). The Sierras would have been quick around there I would imagine :up:

#5 Gary Davies

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 11:21

Thank you, 275 GTB-4 and mctshirt. Wonderful, distant memories. Always tight racing, views over a great part of the circuit, very close to the cars at, what ... 65% of the track, terrific atmosphere.

So glad I arrived in Oz in time to see racing at Amaroo and Warwick Farm.

Oh, and the Sydney Showgrounds!

#6 275 GTB-4

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 11:51

Originally posted by Vanwall
Thank you, 275 GTB-4 and mctshirt. Wonderful, distant memories. Always tight racing, views over a great part of the circuit, very close to the cars at, what ... 65% of the track, terrific atmosphere.

So glad I arrived in Oz in time to see racing at Amaroo and Warwick Farm.

Oh, and the Sydney Showgrounds!


Welcome Vanwall...but...too early to hijack the thread on Amaroo...I too spent many a night at the Showground Speedway as a lad... :cool:

Amaroo certainly had atmosphere even although the facilities for spectators can only be described as primitive!! :lol:

#7 Gary Davies

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 12:38

Primitive! Hmm. I'm also sufficiently old to remember Silverstone with horizontal rain, north-easterly winds and the mercury hovering just above the 32º mark.

And ... the prospect of hitch-hiking home. :lol:

#8 275 GTB-4

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 12:53

Originally posted by Vanwall
Primitive! Hmm. I'm also sufficiently old to remember Silverstone with horizontal rain, north-easterly winds and the mercury hovering just above the 32º mark.

And ... the prospect of hitch-hiking home. :lol:


horrie-bloody-zontal rain!!! Thats what I expect to see next week at Wakefield Park Goulburn BUT with a top temp of probably 5-10 degrees C not counting the tremendous wind chill :(

I usually sat up on the cliff at Amaroo with some mates...you had to be careful where you perched yourself, very rocky and a fair way to roll down the hill if you slipped! :blush:

#9 Catalina Park

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 13:11

I always said that the safest place at Amaroo was on the track! We always thought that a car would go over the fence and into the pitlane. Me and my brother were behind the armco in the pitlane with our backs against the chain wire fence when a wheelnut came off an RX7 and passed between our heads and through the chainwire and hit a bloke on the cheek. :eek:

It was funny how that if you raced at Oran Park you would get a lot of panel damage but when you raced at Amaroo you would go home with a straight car (and usually a trophy)

#10 Paul Newby

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 10:10

Talk about a coincidence, I was just going past there today and thought I would go down memory lane one more time.

The road on the left is called fittingly called Amaroo Park Drive and the only remnants of the track that I could see was the ablutions block that used to be in the carpark behind the pits. I'm pretty sure the new road is parallel to but further in than the original track. As for the pit end of the track, that is served by Hillclimb Drive which comes off an offshoot of Blue Gum Road. It dips down (where the Motocross track was or near the start of the hillclimb?) and finishes near the top car park.

The Amaroo Seafood Restaurant is housed in the old ARDC Clubhouse. The "Stay Upright" Motorcycle Training Centre and Nathans Body Repairs that both used to be at the circuit have moved down the road to Rouse Hill.

Ah, the Grand Prix circuit. I read an ancient SCW (1963?) that spoke about GP circuits, speedway and the like. Its such a rough and hilly area you wonder how they built the track in the first place let alone think of a GP track. Plus you wonder how it could be that attractive for housing really!

I never got to race around there, just lap dash. But I saw plenty of racing over the years - a great spectating venue!

The biggest danger at Amaroo Park? Being bitten on your arse by a bullant! :eek:

#11 275 GTB-4

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 11:15

I remember those Bull Ants!!

Excellent Amaroo stuff can be found through a link to a current thread on another forum :confused:

http://www.ten-tenth...ighlight=amaroo

#12 Catalina Park

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 11:45

This shot shows the braking area into the Lake Corner (Stop Go corner/ Speedway corner) In the top left of the photo you can see the track going over the top of the hill.

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I love this photo as I am driving the black car as I was on my way to take my only win at Amaroo.

#13 john medley

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 12:44

Congratulations on the win!

And if you had turned left instead of right, you would have been on the GP circuit, eventually parallel to the short straight the Holdens are about to attack but high on a ridge visible from the top of Bitupave Hill. When I last looked, Oscar Glazer's 1960s grader marks were still visible on the sandstone.

I loved Amaroo, raced there often from the early 1970s on, enjoyed most of all the awed look on the face of newcomers after practice, and the way you could get in the groove so blissfully. I ran the Last Amaroo and was wrapped to get under 60 seonds despite the damp surface so that's a class lap record I hold in perpetuity.

#14 Joe Bosworth

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 14:57

And the most sickening experience I ever saw at Amaroo was the Historic Meeting of Aug 1982 which saw the ex Gulf Team GT40 spin out going up the main straight hill, get out of shape on the last bend and destroying itself comprehensively starting against the earthen bank on the left and on and on shedding bits as if in slow motion. Probably the most expensive destruction to ever occur at that track.

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#15 Paul Newby

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 00:02

Yes, I read the Ten-Tenths thread with some serious contributions from Ray Bell. I was certainly interested in his theory of how the ARDC had the ability to come along and run an existing circuit and then, though a variety of reasons, cause its demise. Its a long list: - Mt Druitt, Catalina, Bathurst (I know it survived...) and Amaroo. Ray wonders how long Eastern Creek will last under ARDC's patronage :)

I wonder whether Ray is able to draw us a diagram of the "Grand Prix" circuit superimposed on the circuit that we all knew and loved. I still can't quite picture it, though I imagined that if if was ever built it would have been something special.

#16 smithy

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 03:30

Oran Park is about to go the same way. The owner sold it to property developers for over $500 million.

#17 Catalina Park

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 07:54

Here is the plan of Amaroo taken from Sports Car World, July 1959.

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#18 Catalina Park

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 08:17

A lap of Amaroo in pictures....

Out of the pit exit onto the main straight.
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Over the hill.
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Into the Loop.
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Out of the Loop.
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Exit of Mazda House.
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Honda corner.
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The short straight to Stop Go (or what ever you want to call it) Corner.
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The braking area for Stop Go (The GP circuit would have turned left at the end of the tyre wall)
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The short straight into pit corner.
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Through the corner onto the main straight.
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These pictures were on the ARDC website when Amaroo closed.

#19 275 GTB-4

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 10:39

Originally posted by smithy
Oran Park is about to go the same way. The owner sold it to property developers for over $500 million.


Interesting also that the current owner has said "he thinks OP will stay open äbout another three years" and that he wants to build another circuit! :up:

BTW belated congratulations Mike on your big win...very good incentive to stay in front with that angry pack bearing down on you :wave:

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#20 Paul Newby

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 08:29

Originally posted by Catalina Park
Here is the plan of Amaroo taken from Sports Car World, July 1959.

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Gees, when one considers the topography and those rock faces at Amaroo Park, this seemed wildly ambitious. It would've been a hell of a track, quick lots of elevation and next to no run off. (Not unlike the circuit that came to be, except quicker!)

#21 Macca

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 14:52

Originally posted by Vanwall
Primitive! Hmm. I'm also sufficiently old to remember Silverstone with horizontal rain, north-easterly winds and the mercury hovering just above the 32º mark.

And ... the prospect of hitch-hiking home. :lol:



So it was summer then? It's just 20 years since I went to Silverstone for the bike GP in exactly those conditions - at least I didn't have to hitch home (actually I wimped it and went by car, not bike).

And it was the same weather the following year and they made a thumping loss, which is why it moved to Donington in 1987.

But Thruxton in March with snow on the ground for the first round of the British Superbikes - that used to be where you saw the real enthusiasts. Bull ants? Polar bears, more like!

;)

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#22 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 06:32

Originally posted by Catalina Park
Here is the plan of Amaroo taken from Sports Car World, July 1959.

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Only in your wildest dreams, drunk in the carpark of the Vicar of Wakefield, would you consider this anything like a diagram of what was intended to be!

There are very good maps somewhere of Oscar's original plans. The whole lot was formed, by the way, just never sealed. It included some of the best corners you could imagine in its 2.6-mile length... and the bit over the hill and through the Loop on what was built was intended as the extension to make it a full three miles.

You can almost see the whole line of the circuit in the Google map, by the way. The climb up the hill diverges from the road that's now there...

#23 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 02:20

Did many internationals race there? This was the 84 Historic meet.

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#24 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 02:28

Just found this one too, this may be a couple of years earlier, I failed to make a note on it and now its just in a pile of 100's of others I took.

Good Parking Spot!

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& while I am at it, 1984, Fred's car with some lucky Pom behind the wheel,

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#25 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 03:07

Thanks for that... I'm sure I never saw Freddy's car so animated!

I must have missed the '84 meeting. I was in Canberra those days.

And that's the Sabrina, isn't it?

#26 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 06:39

Yes I was wondering but not being very good on Aussie cars I wasn't sure, in which case its 1982 and driven by Terry Cornelius, thanks Ray.

#27 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 06:56

It's not Wally Gates?

I supplied the engine for that car, by the way. There's a story attached... but not now.

#28 Catalina Park

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 10:11

Originally posted by Andrew Fellowes
Did many internationals race there?


F1 drivers...
Hulme
Hailwood (bikes and cars)
Perkins

#29 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 21:48

Wally Gates? no I don't think so. I have the 82 programme and the number matches. Have we had a thread on Aussie specials? -tempting very tempting, engine? more stories, one day perhaps?

So Hulme & others did race there, not a circuit you heard much about in the UK. Others may not agree but I think it made Paddock Hill Bend at Brands look tame, what with the corners, the ants and the January heat, but those were big historic meets, very social on a Sunday evening too.

Lastly I should have credited the photo of the Silverstone to my old friend Paul Cross.

:wave: see you later, the snow beckons.

#30 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 22:52

The story of the Sabrina forms part of another I've posted here before...

Ah! Sabrina... have you seen Terry Cornelius' story of his love affair with that car?

The tale intertwines twixt this car and that, but the reference to the 'huge jugs' on Sabrina, along with the reference to having seen the original example at Albert Park, opposite the pits...

I was a small part in the reconstruction of Sabrina, too. Wally Gates, knowing my stockpile of 3-litre Austin engines, asked me if I had one for him... that same week a gent came to a screeching stop in front of my place, having seen the sedans the engines were in...

"I'd like one of those for a Demolition Derby," he said, "they'll cop more of a bashing than a Holden... How much?"

My response, as I told him, was geared to the value of what he might damage that I still wanted when he was done... "The radiator is worth $25, and you just give me the rest back when you're done." He was about the tenth last car knocked out... the fuel pump fell out of its bracket and shorted out!

One day, in what John Medley would refer to as an 'alcoholocaust' we - the demo derby guy, his mates, Wally Gates and myself, stripped out the bits and the engine went away to become the basis for what Sabrina wore for her return.

For the benefit of the Yanks reading, Sabrina was a lithe sports car on a fabricated twin-tube chassis... she had the engine as described, together with a huge crank-driven air-pump up front with twin SUs (those 'jugs')... something of an 'Old Yella' look and attraction about her... she was yellow, and she went like stink.


...and in Terry's own words...

IN 1960, Laurie Knight was someone I had never heard of . . . Sabrina, however was someone everyone had heard of. At fourteen years of age, and with my hormones in a tangle, I was lucky enough to be at the pit counter, directly opposite the VIP stand where she was guest of honour, at Albert Park. I remember being part of the line of binoculars trained in her direction across the track.

I digress. I had never heard of Laurie Knight, who lived in Benalla, but two of my best friends were his cousins, as coincidence would have it. Not that that meant anything then, anyway.

From an early age, my Dad must have taken me to every motor racing fixture within a day’s travel - and some beyond. By age 16 I had a very well developed sense of appreciation of mechanical contrivances, and most of my private fantasies dwelt not only on girls, but also the svelte and sexy curves of the Maserati 250F. But here I was at Tarrawingee (history will show that it was November 6, 1960), and I found myself entranced by the sight, the sound, and the glory, of the nude Sabrina.

She was everything I ever desired, and I followed her every detail as she moved lithely across the pits and into the dummy grid area. I couldn’t take my eyes of her two beautiful big jugs . . SUs of course . . . mounted on that big supercharger thrusting Phallus-like in front of the Healey 3000 motor . . . Minus a body, she might well have been unfinished, but she was a mechanical delight! After witnessing its hugely successful debut that day, I was part of the large admiring group gathered around Laurie Knight and his creation, when someone asked him why he called it Sabrina. Without hesitation he announced that it was because “she was always so very far out in front!”

Unfortunately, Laurie was to crash Sabrina at Hume Weir two months later, putting him and the car out of commission for some time. The story goes that, semi-conscious in the ambulance, Laurie’s only concern was . . “how is the supercharger?”

WINTON, 1962, and I again beheld the spectacle of Sabrina, this time making her second debut, and this time with her clothes on. Laurie had repaired the Hume Weir damage and continued the construction process to its logical conclusion . . . A smooth and delightful fibreglass body! Now the name matched the body . . . or did the body match the name? Certainly, both namesakes were very curvy.

The car seemed to be even more desirable because it was road registered, and I couldn’t help conjuring up images of terrorising the neighbourhood with tyres, supercharger, exhaust and passenger screaming in unison!



#31 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 04:19

:up:

#32 racer69

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 06:53

Other internationals to race there, Do Jones and the Brabhams count?

Not a race, but when the Schnitzer BMW 635csi was flown out to Australia for the 1985 James Hardie 1000, the car was tested at Amaroo before the race by the race drivers Roberto Ravaglia and Johnny Cecotto.........if it wasn't for the European Grand Prix clashing with Bathurst, the two drivers in that car at Bathurst (and the Amaroo test) would likely have been Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet.

#33 john medley

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 07:41

The Sabrina has recently spent some of its life in Western Australia, but 2 weeks ago was bought by a near neighbour of yours, Andrew , namely Barry Naylor.

#34 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 08:30

Indeed, Alan Jones raced tintops at Amaroo, Larry Perkins drove the Gary Campbell ANF2 Elfin (winning, of course...), Geoff Brabham ran in the FF series there and also in ANF2, these were current day racers...

Moss, Hailwood, Hulme were more or less in demonstration events, I would think, though maybe Denny drove a BMW in the August enduro?

#35 Paul Newby

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 04:19

Didn't Jacques Lafitte test a Ralt RT4 prior ro the AGP at Calder Park. Was it 1982?

I had a look at the SCW article with errornous GP circuit layout and was amazed at the optomism shown by the owners and author Pedr Davis. However, there wasn't much in the way of motor racing circuits in Sydney at that time being between the closure of Mt Druitt and the opening of Warwick Farm

Also Ray you were going to provide us with a "correct" diagram of the Amaroo GP circuit. I would love to see it! :)

#36 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 08:12

I'd like to... but you're closer to it than I am...

For one, it was published in the Monday motor sport column of The Sydney Morning Herald at some time in January 1963. Or it may have been in the Sun Herald.

And if you think the rough outline above is adventurous, then the real thing will blow your mind. To go around where the circuit was actually cut out and formed (just never sealed!) is even more amazing.

I guess you would remember the old dirt circuit (near the go-kart track, right across the valley from the top spectator area on the circuit that was built... on the run around towards the hillclimb?

The main straight went right through the guts of that...

#37 eldougo

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 09:43

:wave:

Having been out of touch for awhile . I thought i would add to this list of driver that have taken a lap around this once great track (And one that i won a couple of race in my formula Vee .)Just love that track ,and in the wet it was just unreal. :up:

In1981 when working for Graham Watson's Ralt Australia we went testing at Amaroo there with Nelson Piquet and Roberto Moreno. And Nelson lowered the out right lap record by nearly 3 secounds and Reberto was just a little slower. http://www.ralt.com.au/ click Images for proof.

Also no body has mentioned that the other great F1 driver was Frank Gardner :cool: ,we tested there once a week when he drove for the Team BMW,our workshop backed onto the pits area.It was fun to drive them up the drive way and into the circuit(speed humps and all) very SLOW.

#38 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 12:16

Of course... and Frank G raced the Corvair there too, didn't he?

#39 eldougo

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 11:46

:)

I never got to see that car race, it sure changed the lap records at many tracks. :up:

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#40 john medley

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 12:19

Eldougo
The Nelson Piquet story is a GEM. Great stuff!

#41 eldougo

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 11:29

:wave:

#42 Amaroo Park

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 08:47

Originally posted by Andrew Fellowes
Did many internationals race there? This was the 84 Historic meet.

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The man holding the small child is the one and only Colin Bond

#43 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 10:13

To the left is the everpresent Robyn Bond...

#44 Amaroo Park

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 10:15

Thats how I picked it Ray

#45 Terry Walker

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 11:14

I gather there used to be some hot sports sedan racing at Amaroo in the early 80s. Dick Ward used to tow his Fiat Abarth (mit Mazda rotary engine) all the way from Perth to Sydney (2000 + miles) just to race there. Then tow it back to race at Wanneroo Park.

#46 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 12:04

At times... but the usual run of it was such that someone wanting to get some good placings on their CV without facing an ASSC field could do all right.

#47 repcobrabham

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 05:16

did an advanced driver training course there, just after i got off my p-plates ... i now realise what an honour it was to do so!

interestingly, we drove around anti-clockwise - maybe they wanted to discourage anybody from going for a lap record...

#48 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 05:37

Backwards, eh?

That would make a lose at the bottom of the straight look pretty interesting to the people standing in the area beside the control tower!

#49 repcobrabham

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 06:31

funny you say that: that's where we did a lot of the braking drills. i vividly remember a guy in a gemini (you know, those really boxy old ones from isuzu) getting catastrophically sideways in a manner that seemed to contradict the laws of physics ... the instructors were alarmed and baffled, i think they wanted to condemn the car on the spot!

#50 2Bob

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 21:32

There was a dirt track for 1 car at a time sprints at Amaroo - was that part of the proposed GP circuit? I have vague memories of running there and a photo to prove it on the autopics site but it doesn't show much of the track.