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Top 10 memories from the Sydney Showgrounds

Discussion in 'The History Channel' started by Tornado 13, Dec 16, 2006.

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  1. Tornado 13

    Tornado 13 Registered

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    Let’s hear from everyone with his or her favorite Showground memories. Here’s mine:

    10. Len Brock and Johnny Stewart battling into the final laps, of the final race, for the Craven Filter National Championship

    9. The crowd rioting in reaction to Barry Butterworth receiving the black flag.

    8. Watching the trio of sidecar superstars Bob Levy, Doug Robson and Graham Young race each other with an incredible display of bravery.

    7. On any Saturday night watching John Langfield or Jim Airey, overcome a huge starting handicap, catch the field, and slice through it.

    6. Marshall Sargeant running deceptively quick with his super modified.

    5. Jimmy Sills cranking out 16 second laps in his sprintcar.

    4. Jeff Freman winning the 1965 Australian Grand Prix beating everyone including Tatts.

    3.Bob Tattersall running so fast in 1968, with the Kischell Offy, that the concerned promoter John Sherwood told him “ Bob there is no need to run that fast!”

    2.Johnny Stewart running the McGee Shell “Trackburner” up against the fence in the Bull Pens.

    1.Watching the annual Bob Tattersall introduction to the crowd with the slow laps, visor down, lights off, and several back-it-in hot laps. (Ollies description in the “Tattersall” book captures it best for those that never witnessed it)
     
  2. gambler

    gambler Registered

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    1)1st meeting ever and Peter Cunneen gets into wall when part breaks while leading A is thrown from midget and held by shoulder harness as car flips numerous times.Still cannot believe he survived (thankfully)
    2)The great Gary Rush blowing the midget stars of the day away to win the final meeting ever held at the venue.
    3)Jeff Freeman,Johnny Stewart,Peter Cunneen,Len Brock etc coming from the back of features week after week.
    4)Marshall Sargeants first appearance when he started the Beast up under the pit area and blew our minds with the noise and excitement.
    5)The Bryan Cunneen -Sherman Cleveland Match race.
    6)Bob Holts flip where he hit the lights above the track.Racing tracksuit:shorts and T shirt.
    7)Robson,Levy,Tyerman and company off 80yard handicaps on those crazy sidecars.Scarey.
    8)Airey,Kentwell,Kent,Sharpe,Guaso and the other solo stars that we watched in amazement doing things mere mortals could only dream of.
    9)Dick Briton and Bill Warner in the firebreathing modifieds running off big handicaps against great drivers such as Bob Tunks,Jim Winterbottom,Dave Lander,Don Pollock,Tony Ward,Don Fortune etc etc.What a show.
    10)The selfish morons who complained about Speedway interfering with their Chardonnay parties and had the joint closed down.
    Another ten would take about 2 minutes thought.Oh yes, cannot remember the after race drinkies out the front in Driver Ave so cannot list those.
     
  3. XR8

    XR8 Platinum Member

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    Being in the pits after engine starts, choking on methanol fumes, tears streaming down face, trying to check the car for problems, deafening roars of engines being revved, and the echoes bouncing off the walls.............. beautiful..........pmsl.........
     
  4. XR8

    XR8 Platinum Member

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    I'll post some more when I dry my eyes......lol:rolleyes:
     
  5. gambler

    gambler Registered

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    xr8 you make me choke up just thinking about it.And educated spectators who knew what they were talking about.
     
  6. Tornado 13

    Tornado 13 Registered

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    I remember twenty cars all warming up at the same time with the methanol fumes filling the pits. Also with so much concrete the noise was deafening.
    As for the Driver's Avenue gatherings, thats probably worthy of it's own top 10 list.
    I remember the Sherman Cleveland/ Brian Cunneen match race well. Max Linklater was sure upset! Sherman was actually a quiet guy off the track.
     
  7. leadfoot

    leadfoot Guest

    1. Being able to carry race parts into the pits for the first time legally for Max Bowen and proud to be on his crew.
    2. After Max stopped racing, being asked by Lennie Brock to be on his crew as 'goggles and teeth' man.
    3. As a spectator, being part of the 25, 30 thousand fans cheering the ambulance as it made its way to the plush green centre infield......everyone knew then that the meeting would begin.
    4. Hanging onto the concrete safety fence in the bowels of the pits, watching as many races between working on the car, inches away from the track as clods of dirt come flying off the cars as they tear past, turning away at the last minute so you wouldn't cop one in the face. (We had absolutely NO protection if any thing hit the wall!)
    5. The sweet aroma of methanol mixed with the heavenly fragrance of Castrol R that was like a drug to us.
    6. Watching Bob Levy, Dougy Robbo, and Billy Bingham do crazy things on their outfits.
    7. Watching Jim Airey, Gordon Guasco and Brian Collins do the same... hero's every one!
    8. Listen to the world's best announcers, Steve and Mike Raymond spin their magic over the microphone.
    9. The feature race for midgets every saturday night, Brock, Stewart, Freeman, Middlemass, Seidl, etcetcetc......
    10. Being on the crew when Len Brock won the AGP on the world's best speedway in 1967.
     
  8. gambler

    gambler Registered

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    Forgot the bells at the start of the show that meant ......."game on".What an atmosphere.
     
  9. Tornado 13

    Tornado 13 Registered

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    I'm real sorry that I missed the final races in 1996. Can't think of a better person to win than Gary Rush. I finally visited what remains of the Showgrounds when I was in Australia 18 months ago.I had forgotton about the bell. Been to a lot of big races around the world but nothing ever matched the atmosphere of the Royale.
     
  10. leadfoot

    leadfoot Guest

    And nothing Will match that atmosphere, Chris. Gone forever. No script could ever be written to match what happened at that last meeting. Garry Rush racing home to the very last feature race win in a car owned by the same people who gave him his start in midgets many years before, the Dark family. After the event light rain fell on the arena as folk drifted through all the competitors vehicles and the 30 plus vintage speedcars lined across the infield for a look one more time. I believe the light drizzle was tears falling from the heavens from the gladiators who gave their lives to the fans, sad to see that great arena closed forever. Thanks for nothing, professor Romsey!
     
  11. StevenG

    StevenG Guest

    I will just sit back and read some of the best writings i have seen on a forum anywhere
    Excellent work everybody
     
  12. leadfoot

    leadfoot Guest

    Thanks's G-man.
    Just for you and the Tornado kid;

    50 LAP WORLD TITLE - APRIL 27, 1996.

    1st. Garry RushEsslinger
     
  13. leadfoot

    leadfoot Guest

    2nd. Michael Figliomeni #A1 Fonatana.
    3rd. Jay Drake. USA#1 Fontana
    4th. George Ito USA#3 Fontana
    5th. GavinLeer #0 Fontana
    6th. John Church #10 V4 Sesco

    Non finishers;
    Joe Little
    Rod Bowen (tyre)
    Craig Brady (engine)
    Warrenne Ekins (crashed and rolled)
    Brooke Tatnell (crashed and rolled)
    Darren Jenkins (crashed and rolled)
    Brett Morris
    Adam Clarke
    Bob Holt
    Adrian Maher
    Ray Bishop
    Glenn Cox
    Steven Graham
    Alan Day
    Michael Kendall

    Memories these drivers will have forever as a very select few that raced at the famed Sydney Showground...for the last time.
     
  14. Dwight Clock

    Dwight Clock Registered

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    I was only there once but could feel that I was in a special place. As I mentioned on the History forum I attended the World Speedcar Championship there on 1 Mar 1969. I was in the US Army at the time and on my R & R leave from Vietnam service. I chose Sydney so that I could attend that event. The Royale was an arena unlike any I have ever seen in the USA. Seeing drivers I had only heard about before such as Barry Butterworth and Howard Revell along with the great Tattersall and Merle Bettenhausen. Tattersall had become a favorite of mine when USAC raced the midgets at my hometown track in Islip, NY back in 1963 and 1964. I have often thought of that night and wished that I could have attended more races there. It is one of my favorite memories.
     
  15. StevenG

    StevenG Guest

    And can I throw a couple in
    Len Bowes having the Sidecar Title shot to bits and blowing a clutch on the starting line in the 1974 title
    Sitting on My late dads shoulder at the First meeting I ever went to in 1965
    How did our neighbour leave 15 minutes after us and be parked in front of the Suttor Stand before us (My late Mum timed it one night )and dad was a quick driver
    Jim Airey Doug Tyerman race they were my heroes with Barry Butterworth
    Watching today heroes dads race there
     
  16. StevenG

    StevenG Guest

    And another one
    Kinser Wolfgang Sills Burton in Sprintcars around the Track
    Unbelievable
     
  17. leadfoot

    leadfoot Guest

    How about Mel Kenyon, Rich. Vogler, Larry Rice, Sleepy Tripp, taking on Howard Revell, Barry Graham. Danny Davidson, Johnny Fenton, and Gordon Benny in 1980? Now that was only HALF the feature race field!
     
  18. WooHoo Racer

    WooHoo Racer Registered

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    That's only six you idiot!!... or is this XR6? lol :D
     
  19. gambler

    gambler Registered

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    There are so many moments.After that final show I was walking the track with mates of mine who had come up from Victoria just to say goodbye when we came across the great Dick Briton scooping some of the track surface into a container.Needless to say he was getting it from up against the fence,the only place I can remember Dick running.
     
  20. Trippa

    Trippa Bourkey's Pitb!tch

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    I was only young when I attended the showground so I don't really remember much on track battles, I just remember seeing the bikes, midgets and sprintcars there, I remember being at the last meeting and walking the track collecting dirt from each corner, thats still sitting in my Dad's loungeroom.

    I've heard plenty of stories from my family and seen tonnes of photos and one very funny one has been printed in the new speedway book about the 70's! If you read it you've probably seen it, a good friend of my Dad's did a nudie run around the track on someones bike, all the riders helped keep him hidden so he wouldn't get into trouble. Although it happened before I was born I guess thats my story! LOL
     

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