River Bend

Australian Muscle Car - - Sacred Sites Special -

Drag

rac­ing in South Australia had been hum­ming along hap­pily at Ade­laide In­ter­na­tional Race­way, opened in 1972, but the suc­cess of the racer-owned Wil­low­bank track in Queens­land sparked en­thu­si­asm among a core of rac­ers in SA. In 1978 they an­nounced the con­struc­tion of a new quar­ter-mile track at Tailem Bend, not far from Mur­ray Bridge.

The first event at what was known as River Bend Race­way was staged in April 1979, and things looked rosy from the out­side. Events rolled through one af­ter the other, though many were ham­pered by bad weather, un­til just eight months later when debtors fore­closed on the venue, leav­ing rac­ers and oth­ers un­paid.

The track was put on the mar­ket and pur­chased by Mit­subishi Mo­tors as a mo­tor ve­hi­cle test venue and op­er­ated un­til lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing wound up. Grass­roots mo­tor­sport re­sumed at the re­named Tailem Bend Mo­tor­sport Park in the ‘noughties’ thanks to Motorcycling SA and the Sport­ing Car Club of SA. This in­cluded short-lived ‘off-street’ drags. Own­er­ship of the venue passed to the Shahin fam­ily’s Pere­grine Cor­po­ra­tion in 2013, which re­cently un­veiled grand plans to es­tab­lish the site as the state’s pre­mier per­ma­nent mo­tor­sport venue, in­clu­sive of drag rac­ing.

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