award for the first Australian bitumen speedway in the modern era goes to Portland, in the south-western corner of Victoria. Speedway has always been strong in this region. Warrnambool and Mount Gambier (just over the border in South Australia) are still part of the current sprintcar schedule.
Portland’s speedway, about 15 kilometres out of town on the Princes Highway, was initially known as Hi-Pine Raceway.
It was a typical 370-metre country circuit, used predominantly for stock cars and threequarter midgets before the organisers decided to give it a makeover in 1971.
In its new state Portland made the cover of Speedway Racing News in 1972, with the headline, “We test the first asphalt track!”