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Thunderbird Raceway Virginia ?????

Discussion in 'The History Channel' started by Dream Machines, Jan 22, 2010.

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  1. Dream Machines

    Dream Machines Registered

    Could anyone tell me about Thunderbird Raceway at Virginia, SA
    I have lived in the Virginia/Penfield Gardens area for 35 years (37 now) and never once ever heard of, been too or seen until today, anything to do with this track

    Discovered Rowley Park speedway website and saw some photos of a car in the pits, a program from it in 1971.

    All I ever knew there was, was Rowley as thats where we were each week as my father was a photographer there in the 1970's


  2. spiderweb

    spiderweb Registered

    I hope I am on the right track here but Thunderbird Raceway was the concrete oval at the Adelaide International raceway, half mile oval i think.
    I have vauge memories as a youngster atteneding meetings there. I am sure I have some programs somewhere, most of the speedway drivers and classes at the time raced there but the carnage when they hit the concrete wall was huge.

    Out of interest there was a speedway in Virgina itself where the footy oval and the bank is now.
    Fairfield it was called . If you use the seach button in this section you will find a thread on it.
  3. Oscar

    Oscar Peter Physick

    Thunderbird was at Virginia, not AIR. They did race on the pavement at AIR but Thunderbird was a dirt track set up and promoted by Doug Sunstrom, son of Arn and proprietor of Sunstrom's Car Radios on the Port Road. Arn was killed at Rowley Park in the 58/59 season.

    The following link may help.

    Smartcarby- Historical Speedway -Cars

    I can still vividly recall standing right up at the fence watching the midgets strut their stuff .....
  4. girlonthehill

    girlonthehill Registered

    Don't think that link is working or is it just me?
  5. spiderweb

    spiderweb Registered

    Thanks Oscar I had a feeling i may have got them mixed up but wasnt the speedway at Virgina call Fairground or Fairfield?
  6. spiderweb

    spiderweb Registered

  7. Oscar

    Oscar Peter Physick

  8. spiderweb

    spiderweb Registered

    Thunderbird was at Virginia, not AIR. They did race on the pavement at AIR but Thunderbird was a dirt track set up and promoted by Doug Sunstrom, son of Arn and proprietor of Sunstrom's Car Radios on the Port Road. Arn was killed at Rowley Park in the 58/59 season.

    Peter Thunderbird Raceway was at AIR
    Virginia Fairgrounds wss the dirt speedway which is now the football oval
  9. Jim Kirkwood

    Jim Kirkwood Registered

    Thanks for that link Peter. Made for some great reading and great memories.
  10. Oscar

    Oscar Peter Physick

    Hmmm.... Adelaide International Speedway (AIS) was at Adelaide International Raceway (which I acknowledge as also being at Virginia) and it was on the bitumen oval. I am not aware of it ever being called anything but AIS.

    See this program image from the old Rowley Park website. http://www.rowleypark.com/plugins/p17_image_gallery/images/497.jpg

    Thunderbird Raceway was at the Virginia Fairgrounds and was definitely known as Thunderbird.

    Again, see this program image from the Rowley Park historical website. http://www.rowleypark.com/plugins/p17_image_gallery/images/621.jpg

    I went to just about every meeting at Thunderbird and still have every program.
  11. Dream Machines

    Dream Machines Registered

    wow thanks for all the info guys. I live about 4 minutes from the virginia footy oval and clubrooms. For all these years I've lived in virginia, I never knew that it was previously a speedway. if it ended in the early 70's, that probably why I never knew about this "fairgrounds track" or thunderbird. I came into the world in January 1973 and only remember rowley park as dad worked there for years as he had a photography business for many years and worked at marchants in gawler during the 60's

    anyone who has the rowley park reunion video that John Briggs of Panda video did in 2000, will see the back of me in my mothers arms up on the grandstand (probably 4 or 5 then) and will see my father on the infield taking pics of sidecars and bikes I think) which is shown during the "IN THE PITS" segment which I believe shows footage from the mid 1970's

    Such great times they were. if it wasnt for dad working at rowley, I wouldnt have this huge passion for speedway that I have today.
  12. lienus76

    lienus76 Platinum Member

    The Virginia Fairgrounds track was promoted by a bloke who lived at Semaphore in 69-70 whos name escapes me , I rode there in the winter of 1970 and had to go to his house to pick up my $6.80 prizemoney one day, I still have the pay sheet . For some reason I think financial they did not continue in 71 and it was taken over by Doug Sunstrom and renamed Thunderbird Raceway running only cars. AIR was called AIR and they also ran cars on the bitumen both tracks are at Virginia not that far apart.They are two different tracks in the same area.
  13. HoldenV8

    HoldenV8 Registered

    Just for the record, the 800m long paved bowl at AIR was known as the Speedway Superbowl.

    ---------- Post added at 01:55 ---------- Previous post was at 01:54 ----------

    Also, as far as I'm aware, Thunderbird Raceway was definitely the Virginia Showground track which, as already pointed out, is now the local football oval.
  14. dirtslinger

    dirtslinger Registered

    i remember riding our push bikes out there from elizabeth as a kid lol in that last race on the page i went on to race against 6 of the names in that field at speedway park later on in the early 80's .
    it always seemed like a long ride back home after a meeting my old man would have tanned my hide if he knew we had ridden that far away from the house lol.

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