And not forgetting...
forgotten today is the existence of the fabulous Arthur Park speedway in a section of bushland near Beaudesert Road at Calamvale, on the outskirts of Brisbane. Does anyone remember going there?
This unique track was built in 1966 by speedway promoter Frank Arthur, a champion motorcycle racer who made a fortune riding in England before the war. Old Frank had a handson approach. He personally drove the grader that carved this circuit out of the scrub. This was a new concept, a one-mile speedway including different radius corners and uphill and downhill sections. It was wide enough for cars to race six or seven wide. Some spectacular crashes occurred, notably a Mini which ended up upside down in a dam. The unconscious driver was rescued just in time.
As good as it sounds, Arthur Park never took off, partly because of the unpredictable Brisbane climate, which included the occasional flood. Most competitors decided that it was too dangerous to race here, especially the few brave souls who tried the circuit in an open-cockpit speedcar.
When Queensland developer Keith Williams’ built the Adelaide International Raceway complex on the Main North Road on the outskirts of Adelaide he incorporated a banked half-mile speedway as part of the road race circuit, with a connecting link to the main straight. Speedway cars ran in the opposite direction to the circuit racers. The Superbowl, as it was called, was first used for racing in March 1974. A large crowd attended although most of them never returned.
A few drivers built cars especially for the Superbowl, notably John Hughes and his lightweight HX Monaro. This machine was closer to a sports sedan than the typical dirt track machine. It soon became obvious that you’d have to build a special unit for the pavement. A dozen or so pavement sedans were built but never enough to make the Superbowl a viable concern.
The AIR speedway was later used for NASCAR and AUSCAR racing. A feature story on the Superbowl was in AMC #55. These days the complex is occasionally used for drag racing and drifting.
This feature was not meant to be an allencompassing, definitive history of metropolitan speedways in this country, as there were many more with fleeting histories that we could not illustrate.
Next issue we’ll look at some of the more notable regional and country speedways from the muscle car period.