Speedway stalwart, Car Builder
Born: May 2, 1913; Adelaide
Died: December 5, 2010; Adelaide
ALEX Rowe, a leading figure in the heady days of Rowley Park Speedway, became a legend of the sport.
The chequered flag didn't fall on this genuine character until he had attained the age of 97.
Remarkably, until his final few months, "Rowey" was still quite sharp and in touch with the sport that had played a major part of his life.
Alex was raised at Hindmarsh, living near where the Entertainment Centre now sits. His father ran a mechanical business and at 14, Alex had his first motorbike.
He courted his future wife Helen on that bike, carting her around in a sidecar. They were to marry in 1937 and lived in a couple of Adelaide suburbs before building a house in Morgan Ave, Melrose Park.
Helen died 25 years ago but Alex remained in that house for many more years.
Motorbikes were his main passion early in life until Alex saw a notice in The Advertiser in 1935 from the company running "midget" car racing at Camden Oval.
It was seeking people to build race cars which would compete at that inner suburb's speedway track.
This mechanically minded man took an immediate interest and became involved initially in constructing these small midgets, even competing briefly.
Alex struck up a partnership with Aub Ramsay, an early top-line driver, and the Ramsay-Rowe Specials proved formidable in competition, taking Ramsay to several championship titles.
When World War II interrupted speedway, Rowe helped the war effort, serving as a foreman at a munitions factory.
After hostilities ceased, Rowe again resumed as a car builder, being involved at Kilburn Speedway and later Rowley Park Speedway.
He was also an early member of the Racing Drivers' Association founded in 1936, serving a term as president.
He built many competitive speedcars, one of the best-known being the yellow No. 2 Peugeot "Wonder Car" which Bill Wigzell drove.
Other drivers to earn a ride in Rowe race cars included Pete Maltby, Phil Herreen and latterly Steve Stewart, who piloted the white Rotary Mazda at Speedway Park in the 1980s.
In 1987, Alex was nominated for, and received, an Order of Australia citation, mainly for his services to motorsport - an honour he never sought, but was immensely proud of.
In later years, Alex holidayed outside Australia, visiting the US.
Last year, 2009 he was inducted into the Australian Speedway Hall of Fame, joining other legends including speedway world champion and fellow Adelaide man Jack Young.
A committed motorsport man, Alex never lost interest in the sport he helped foster more than 70 years ago.