Our new Sacred Sites section has been a hit with readers. So far we’ve revisited the following defunct race tracks of the muscle car era: Oran Park ( AMC #72), Surfers Paradise International Raceway (#73), Catalina Park (#74) and Longford (#75). Amaroo Park is covered from p110 in this issue. Here’s a sample of the recent correspondence Sacred Sites has generated.
Catalina Park 1
Great Catalina Park story in issue #74. Here are some images from the Katoomba circuit.
The picture of the leading Laurie Stewart Mini shows the steep bank up to the town in January, 1967. Often the steep, rocky tracks down to a viewing spot defeated cars going back up, so we exited at the lower end of the track. I don’t recall there being any toilets, water or food available at the town end of the track.
I’ve included a picture of the Ian Fergusson crash in April 1968. He remained in the car for some seconds when it then erupted in flames. He leapt out with clothing alight, rolling on the ground. [ED: Fergusson raced on for many years after this crash.]
The Cortina shot shows the crash that [same day which] killed New Zealander John Ward. His car collided with the gold Falcon GT on a steep decent and the Falcon pushed the Cortina down the slope on its side down before it could stop. As spectators, we did not know at that moment he had died, but the shocked reaction of the rescue crew is telling. The sad thing about these accidents is if there was the roll-cage protection that is available now this would have been just two damaged cars.
I remember the 1960s/1970s race meetings with up to 20 races on Sunday with a great variety of cars and driving skills. Mike Terakes Email
Catalina Park 2
It's a shame it’s closed but on the plus side you can still walk the track which is a must if you are in the area. I really enjoyed my walk around the circuit as there is lots of history that you can still see.
Catalina Park 3
It is stories like these about Catalina that bring back memories for the lucky ones who were there at the time. They also provide a moment back in time for the younger enthusiast, to see what all the fuss is about.
I have included a shot depicting the scene of John Ward’s fatal crash at Catalina referred