LAURIE FOX, who passed away in Mount Gambier on August 27, aged 90, lived for motorcycling.
Born and bred in the South Australian city, Laurie began his working life at 14 years of age at Walker’s Garage. He bought his first motorcycle in 1943, a small BSA. Laurie was a prolific competitor on both solos and sidecars, on and off road, and operated a successful motorcycle and car business from 1947. For a time he raced both a 250 Triumph solo and a 596cc Manx Norton outfit in South Australian and Victorian road races. On the Norton, he became a top sidecar competitor and a regular at Bathurst. From the time the Mount Gambier MCC re-formed in 1946 following WW2, Laurie served as club secretary, and in 1957 was made a life member. He was highly instrumental in the club acquiring property on which to build its own road race circuit, named McNamara Park, which is today the backbone of the sport in the area. And ever since that circuit opened, Laurie has played numerous roles in official capacity, notably that of handicapper for that event on each program. Every meeting, Laurie would be seen wandering about with his clipboard and stopwatch, calculating handicap times, and he was usually spot-on. He was in that very role on the day he died, suffering a massive stroke while preparing to time riders for the Sidecar Handicap. He was quickly attended to by the medical crew at the circuit and rushed to hospital, but passed away soon after.
While the grief over Laurie’s death was felt universally, all agreed that this was the way he would have wished to go. He was awarded an OAM in 2003 for 60 years of service to motor sports. For 40 years he wrote a motor sport column in the Border Watch newspaper, the last published just days before his death. A testament to the man’s universal popularity and esteem was the massive turnout for his funeral in Mount Gambier on Monday 4th September, with a large contingent of motorcycles despite the very wet conditions.