Without doubt the most consistently popular regular feature of this magazine is the Tracks in Time segment. When this was first envisaged for issue number 1, I figured that there might be a couple of dozen, thirty maximum, of these stories to be told. Here we are 13 years and 81 issues later, and we’re still going.
This incredible run is thanks to the assistance of countless people, some prominent in the sporting field, others just keen spectators or amateur photographers. The suggestions for these tracks come from far and wide, and in many cases the tracks themselves have been lost for generations, buried under housing estates or shopping centres.
A good case in point is the story from issue 80 – The Big D, or the Morgan Mile to give it its official title. This began as a welcome submission from Geoff Nuske, with recollections, information, and some photos. It wasn’t enough for a full story, but it was a good start. By casting the net wider and contacting a few friends such as Charlie Edwards, the story grew, but it really came to life when Barry Sweetman rummaged through his photo collection and came up with some real gems, such as the aerial shots of the site. There were also other shots of race action and pit scenes, absolute classics and exactly what was needed to take this story from concept to reality.
Since the publication of the Morgan Mile story I have received a stack of correspondence by letter or email from former competitors, spectators and officials, most of whom never expected to see anything about the venue again. It just goes to show what’s possible with a little effort. It also shows there is more out there. Some former tracks, such as, say, Oran Park, or one-off venues like the Laverton TT, are obvious, but many, many others have slipped off the radar completely. Or almost completely. In photo albums, boxes of old programmes, or scrap books are traces of such tracks. For example, Sydney was littered with dirt tracks such as Vineyards, Arcadia, and Glenorie – that’s three for a start. And following on from the Morgan Mile, there is certainly a story in the similar Port Pirie Long Track just waiting to be told.
It’s all down to archives and enthusiasm, so we encourage everyone out there to help us continue this feature for quite a while yet. Dig out that nostalgic material, however insignificant it may seem, and let us know about it. It may not always be usable, but you never know, from little acorns big trees grow.
The opening spread of Tracks in Time from Issue 1.