Down on the Farm
our Sacred Sites section in issue #81 we visited the old Warwick Farm circuit. The story prompted the memory of our chief photographer, Ray Berghouse, who drew our attention to this GIO Car Insurance ad which ran in Racing Car News magazine back in the early 1990s. The action photograph of the Bob Forbes Racing GIO Commodore VL touring car depicted in the ad was taken by Ray at a special sponsor day in mid-1990 – at Warwick Farm.
While the Sydney circuit closed in 1973, and large sections of it were bulldozed in the early 1980s to make way for a second horse track, the short circuit remained intact. The Forbes team was able to gain permission to use the venue, and driver Mark Gibbs took a privileged handful of sponsors and journos on hot laps of the old track.
The road surface was still in near-perfect condition but the track was understandably a bit dusty – struggling for grip, the 5.0-litre V8 Holden Bathurst racer was sideways most of the way around the course. Look closely and you can see the dust being blown up by the car.
So it was that 17 years after the last race was run, the sound of a racing engine being used in anger echoed around the old grandstands at Warwick Farm for one final time.