50 years and still racing
HOW many race tracks also have fishing, model boat racing, pocket bikes, driver training and cycling?
Lakeside International Raceway — now Lakeside Park — turns 50 this year and is set to include even more active sports such as BMX.
The historic circuit on Brisbane’s northside has been the stage for epic touring car battles between Peter Brock and Dick Johnson and hosted the Australian Grand Prix in 1966 and ’69, plus rounds of the legendary Tasman series and the Australian Superbike Championships with riders such as Mick Doohan and Wayne Gardner.
The V8s last raced there in 1998 and the track closed in 2002. Queensland Raceway owner John Tetley took over the lease and reopened it in 2009 after several years of dealing with issues of noise and heri- tage listing. The track was resurfaced and the facilities updated at a cost of $3 million.
‘‘There aren’t many tracks in the world that are still operating after 50 years,’’ says Tetley, who believes it is also the oldest track in Australia still operating. The track was opened on land owned by the Sakzieswki family on March 19, 1961, after the Queensland Motor Sports Club members put their blood, sweat, tears and money into the project.
‘‘The track was built on donations and borrowed equipment,’’ Tetley says.
The club went bust, but the Sakzieswki family continued to run the facility until 2002.
It is now owned by the Moreton Bay Regional Council and leased to Tetley on a 30-plus-10-year agreement.
Tetley has planned four special race meetings this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary. Each event will include guests who competed or volun- teered at the first event in 1961, such as original clerk of the course Ken Peters and competitor Beryl Sakzieswki.
The first celebratory event will be ‘‘The Originals’’, which is open to all cars manufactured before 1969.
The April 8-10 meeting is bound to rekindle some fond memories. Among those racing will be Richard Anderson, 60, who raced a 1964 EH Holden at Lakeside in 1969.
‘‘Not much has changed since then,’’ Anderson says. ‘‘Most of us still have bench seats, but now we have seatbelts.
‘‘The track is also largely unchanged, but there used to be two big bumps under the bridge that would move you two feet sideways.’’
Queensland Raceways has invited several original participants but is keen to hear from anyone who knows of others who should be invited to attend.
Contact: (07) 5461 9100. Visit: www.qldraceways.com.au