last-minute inclusion of drag racing into his Surfers Paradise track gave Keith Williams grand plans to build similar facilities in all major centres around Australia, the first being that at Townsville. Named Savanna Raceway, the track was built on a swampy site close to the southern edge of town.
The joint speedway and drag strip complex opened its doors in July 1969 and formed a crucial link in Williams’ plans as an additional outlet to run his imported US racecars.
Williams sold the track in 1974 to a group of local businessmen and management headed by the capable Trevor Mobbs. But in 1975 it was leased to local racers, the Brosnan brothers. They ran the venue in a somewhat chaotic fashion and in August 1976 the racers banned the track and it was closed in October and all its facilities sold off in March ’77.
Mobbs bounced back with a new track on private property north of Townsville, near the Bohle River. To get around council red tape – since drag racing was not an officially recognised sport – the strip was for a time ‘officially’ run by none other than the Ladies Bohle River Cricket Club.
Local clubs and racers contributed time and money to establishing the track and when Mobbs decided to buy it he began to repay the debts. However, when he died the repayments stopped, leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Mobbs’ brother Ray and his wife took over management and sustained a low-level venue until the track was closed in mid-2012 by Townsville council due to encroaching urban development.