initial events at the Fairbridge Farm airstrip, which launched formal drag racing in the Perth area, the 1320 Drag Club entered into arrangements with two businessmen – John Sulley and Keith Tyler – to construct a formal quarter-mile drag strip just inland from the small coastal village of Mandurah, south of the city.
The new strip, named Ravenswood Raceway, was opened in November 1969 and became an instant hit, attracting a growing core of quality racers and a steady following from fans. The management liked to promote the venue as the “most isolated drag strip in the world”, which it probably was, with the nearest track being at Whyalla, on the eastern side of the Nullarbor. Being located where it was it avoided many of the political upheavals which the rest of the sport around the Eastern seaboard endured over the years, and it allowed a more controlled range of track promotions, little influenced by what was happening elsewhere and thus sustaining a more managed growth.
By the late 1980s Tyler was looking to move on (Sulley had long gone) and three local racers stepped up and made the purchase. In the hands of part-owner Kevin Prendergast as manager, the track began a boom period which took it through the running of the 1990 Nationals, the biggest event run in the West, and a rapid growth phase, which saw the extension of spectator and corporate facilities and grandstands, the control tower, pit area and general landscaping of the venue.
Prendergast was succeeded by Gary Miocevich, another of the part-owners, who soon extended his title to cover the full ownership of the track.
Drag racing’s biggest Achilles heel always has been noise, and with the boom in popularity of the nearby Mandurah, which rapidly outgrew its village atmosphere, state and local government authorities decided that with demand for land in the area growing they wanted urban development along the neighbouring Mary River and Ravenswood had to go. However, rather than simply pulling the pin on the venue they began a search for an alternative location, eventually settling on a new site at Kwinana, much closer to the city and right on the major southern freeway.
The new government-funded track, Kwinana Motorplex, combining both a drag strip and a speedway, opened in 2000 and Ravenswood slipped into history, with its remaining facilities being sold off. As this article was written the venue was for sale, and has been used as a “lifestyle property and airport”, with just the asphalt surface and one remaining section of grandstand remaining.