Sa­cred Let­ters

Australian Muscle Car - - Sa­cred Let­ters -

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

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