Tracey’s Speed­way

Australian Muscle Car - - Sacred Sites Special -

SSpeed­way Speed­way

rac­ing at Mel­bourne’s Maribyrnong Re­serve started af­ter the war. It soon be­came known as Kir­jon Speed­way, be­fore be­ing taken over by mo­tor­cy­cle racer Fred Tracey in 1951.

The most pop­u­lar pe­riod for Tracey’s Speed­way was in the late 1950s and early 1960s when the Hot Rod cat­e­gory took over from stock cars as the main at­trac­tion. These were based on the light­weight cars be­ing raced in Cal­i­for­nia, fit­ted with chopped and chan­neled pre-war bod­ies.

In Mel­bourne the Hot Rods ran clock­wise. They oc­ca­sion­ally raced on the Calder Park short cir­cuit when it opened in 1961.

The Ford Mer­cury V8 was the mo­tor of choice, prefer­ably fit­ted with an im­ported Edel­brock man­i­fold. A few were later pow­ered by the po­tent slant six from early Valiants. The won­der­fully-named Harry Dagg was one of the first to build one of these.

Other Mel­bourne stars in­cluded Graeme McCub­bin, Nippa Lacey, Billy Wil­lis and Al­lan Seddon. Fu­ture Bathurst star and Pro­drive Rac­ing Aus­tralia co-owner Rusty French be­gan his long ca­reer at Tracey’s, driv­ing a ‘34-model Ford that cost him 30 quid. The Hot Rods soon evolved into Su­per Mod­i­fieds, then the Sprint­cars that are still be­ing raced else­where to­day.

The speed­way at Maribyrnong had its crit­ics, es­pe­cially from home own­ers liv­ing nearby. The track closed in 1964 when man­age­ment of the Drive-In pic­ture theatre next door com­plained that the noise and dust was in­ter­fer­ing with their pa­trons’ view­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Maribyrnong Re­serve still ex­ists. A plaque com­mem­o­rates the brief pe­riod when cars and bikes raced here.

Mel­bourne then strug­gled to find an­other suit­able lo­ca­tion. Brenock Park Speed­way at Fern­tree Gully op­er­ated for a sim­i­lar pe­riod, while a track was also built at Brook­lyn but never at­tracted the big crowds that

Tracey’s did.

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