Researched and submitted by Rod Webb
Start of Speedway - Australia
(For more information on
Australian Speedway History
on the top right corner, click on “how it all began”)
It is accepted around
the world that Speedway started at Maitland Showground, New South Wales on Dec
But from all over the
world there is evidence that motorcycles were raced around ovals on dirt well
before this date.
promoted Maitland and was the first to really grasp the potential and hold
regular motor cycle speedway events at which the riders rode for prize money.
The sport then took off all over the world.
South Australia - The Early Years
South Australia was no
different, from the 1900s onwards there was motorcycle racing around ovals and
on horse racing tracks and beaches.
A lot of these tracks
were big tracks up to a mile in length. These were well organised and were
called “sporting carnivals”.
As early as 1914 at
the Jubilee Oval (now part of the Adelaide University grounds) there was a race
between four unknown riders around the dirt track on the outside of the oval
during such a “Sporting Carnival”.
Such events were
common all over the State.
Probably the meeting
held at Thebarton Oval 1923 before Maitland could have been deemed “Speedway”.
But for various reasons it was not successful. This was an obstacle that had to
be over come before racing started at Speedway Royale. (Wayville Show Grounds)
Smithfield SA 1926 was
the first club owned and promoted track in the world. Up until then speedway had
been held at showgrounds ovals & horse & dog tracks.
(Wayville Show Grounds) really put speedway on the map in SA. The track bought
interstate and overseas riders and drew very large crowds.
The big advantage of
Speedway Royale was good spectator facilities and most riders said the track was
one of the best and safest in the world.
Speedway Royale was a
true Speedway in that it was 400 yards approx in length and a true loose heavy
dirt surface. (My how things have changed!)
Early Speedway Tracks
Around 1926-29, tracks
sprung up all over the State, some did not last long and a lot of these tracks
were large in length up to a mile long, but about the1930s the defined 400 yard
speedway track evolved.
Some purists would
call these early tracks "Long Tracks" and not "Speedway", but I think they were
important in the evolution of “Speedway”. Australian Titles held at the longer
tracks to this day are not recognised.
Appilla - 1927
A meeting was
held Jan 1st 1927.
Naracoorte Showgrounds - 1929
several meetings either at the showgrounds or the horse racing track
Blink Bonnie - 1929?
This one is a
real mystery do you know were it was?
Parafield Aerodrome - 1932
One meeting was
held in 1932.
A great deal of work went into
making the Parafield track, but the meeting was far from a success.
Burra - 1927
Max Hall was
prominent rider there.
Pt Pirie Memorial Oval - 1927 – Town Oval
with meetings held each month from 1927 until 1930s
shifted to the edge of the town as the Pt Pirie mile later it was
shortened to half mile.
Elliston - 1928?
Speedway Royale - 1926 (Wayville Show Grounds)
This was the
speedway that put Speedway on the map in SA
Interstate and overseas rode there and crowds of up to 20,000 were common,
it was known as one of the best speedways in the World.
Jubilee Oval Adelaide - 1929
various forms of motor cycle racing was held in the early 1910s and
speedway was held in 1929.
This track was
very unusual in shape. (See photo below).
Smithfield - 1926 to 1930
It also has the
distinction of having Light Cars race there, the start of car speedway in
Loxton - 1926
A meeting was
held on September 25th 1926 & October 23rd 1926
Its location is
a mystery if I had to guess it was either at the Showgrounds or a horse
racing track nearby.
meeting April 25th 1927
location a mystery but the track was built from Smithfield plans.
Moonta/ Kadina Oval - 1926
A meeting was
held Dec 27th 1926 called Moonta Speedway but held at Kadina Oval?
Thebarton Oval - 1923
speedway type events started to happen as early as 1923! and continued at
least to 1928
Imagine if that
first event was successfully SA may have been credited with the start of
Mt Gambier - 1931
News report from a local paper.
first meeting will be held on Saturday next (31st January
1931). Nominations close at Walker’s garage on Friday night.”
Mile Handicap: R Lock (1 minute 56 seconds) 1st R Haig
Handicap: R Lock (3.10) 1st, G O’Neil
Race: F Umpherston
Handicap: G O’Neil (5.34), R Lock
1 Mile Side Valve:
G O’Neil (2.5), R Lock
meetings were held at Recreation Oval before council put a stop to it due
noise and dust. (Sound familiar?)
(There were reports of a couple of meetings at Umpherston's property at
Yahl a bit earlier)
Waikerie - 1926
A Speed meet
was held on July 1st 1926.
aboard a super x Harley Davidson with a Floatette sidecar in front of 1200
people won the all powers Sidecar Handicap, with his speed on the
straights was around 80mph.
AJ Moyle won the
Waikerie Championship on board a 3& half AJS.
regular meetings up till 1930 location unknown.
Hopefully this list and details about the tracks will grow. As you can imagine
locating and documenting details of these tracks is
very difficult and information can not be guaranteed to be correct.
you know anything about any of them, or know of more tracks, please contact the
webmaster is in the process of obtaining information, photos etc for this
page, but if YOU CAN HELP, please email the Webmaster with any appropriate
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