West­mead

Australian Muscle Car - - Sacred Sites Special -

Dur­ing the boom pe­riod sev­eral states had a sep­a­rate speed­way track re­served for win­ter rac­ing. The most fa­mous of these was at West­mead, home of the Par­ra­matta Show­ground, in Syd­ney’s western sub­urbs. In fact, there were enough cars in the Syd­ney re­gion to sup­port two win­ter tracks, with an­other one 30km fur­ther north-west at Wind­sor. West­mead’s Sun­day af­ter­noon meet­ings drew the big­gest crowds and were even tele­vised at one stage. The speed­cars were spec­tac­u­lar (some would say sui­ci­dal) on a rough oval track that was close to a half-mile around. On wet days, the top sur­face of mud was scraped off and dumped on the in­side of the track, which was about as dan­ger­ous as it sounds. It was of­ten muddy at West­mead and ex­pe­ri­enced spec­ta­tors brought an old pic­nic blan­ket to hang over the fence, then duck be­hind it when the cars came past. The spec­tac­u­lar speed­cars were the main at­trac­tion but most of the kids loved the stock­cars in events billed as the De­struc­tion Derby or the like – usu­ally the last race of the day be­cause half the com­peti­tors would be up­side down by the fi­nal lap. Pho­tos show that sub­ur­ban houses were just across the road from the pits area where race­cars, mi­nus muf­flers in those days, warmed up be­fore rac­ing. It’s amaz­ing that rac­ing lasted as long as it did. By 1967 it was an­nounced that this prime real es­tate would be taken over for a pro­posed chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal. Win­ter rac­ing was then trans­ferred to a new track be­ing built at Liver­pool.

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