Old Hat


Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS - JIM SCAYSBROOK Ed­i­tor

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.

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