Windsor RSL Speedway#2

I have mentioned that I would be making some posts about my research into the history of the Windsor RSL Speedway. I had thought of doing a straight chronological approach, but that would be boring. Instead, I think it would be more interesting to have “snapshots” of various events during the history of the speedway. So to start things off, an event listed in a Windsor program for the 23rd meeting of the 1965 season, which was held on the 26th of September.

           EVENT 10 – 50-50 STOCK ROD CHAMPIONSHIP

                                    50 CARS – 50 LAPS

                        JOHN VASSALLO TROPHY

            KEITH AND BARBRA NEVILLE TROPHIES

 

                                    WINDSOR

 

66                   Ian Robinson                                     Gate

28                   John Tatnall                                       Gate

29                   Steve Anderson                                 20 yards

27                   Joe Tatnall                                          30 yards

31                   Ron Smith                                          40 yards

6                      Bob Drake                                          20 yards

39                   John Davis                                          20 yards

47                   K. Wantle                                           30 yards

43                   T. Bennetts                                         40 yards

19                   Ben Sellers                                         50 yards

32                   Phil Powell                                         50 yards

35                   Jim Keats                                            60 yards

55                   John May                                            60 yards

26                   Greg Williams                                    130 yards

—                     Phil Skepper                                      120 yards

4                      Gwes Bowen                                      150 yards

9                      Bill Smith                                            170 yards

49                   Bill McNaughton                                180 yards

48                   Ken McNaughton                              230 yards

14                   Noel Finch                                          310 yards

3                      Ken Barlow                                        330 yards

 

WESTMEAD

 

17                   Stan Rodgers                                     Gate

104                 Jack Barnes                                        Gate

83                   Kevin Welfare                                   10 yards

93                   Wally Gordon                                     30 yards

111                 Bob George                                        50 yards

45                   Allen Harris                                        50 yards

33                   Ron Dixon                                          70 yards

37                   Col Hodgkiss                                      90 yards

127                 John Parker                                       110 yards

101                 Graham Hooke                                   130 yards

70                   Ron Gordon                                        170 yards

88                   Dennis Simms                                    150 yards

7                      Neville Bowman                                170 yards

103                 Peter Loadman                                  190 yards

91                   Roy Walker                                        220 yards

98                   Ellis Forster                                        220 yards

95                   Ron Boyd                                            240 yards

15                   Bob Rolfe                                            280 yards

0                      Gordon Martin                                   300 yards

34                   Noel Ryan                                           320 yards

119                 Sid Byers                                            320 yards

86                   Lyle Healey                                        330 yards

11                   Brian Barton                                      340 yards

108                 Allen Brien                                         380 yards

58                   Steve Brazier                                     400 yards

 

By the mid 1960’s Stock Rods had become one of the major categories in speedway in Sydney, especially at the two circuits that ran in the winter months of the year (Windsor & Westmead).  Their genesis was to have a non-contact division that featured cars with relatively standard bodies. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Hot Rods had such bodies, but by the mid-1960’s the bodies had become much more functional and streamlined, and thus did not look like road cars. Stock Rods started at Windsor in 1963, and were originally called “Jalopies”, but this was quickly changed to stock rods. Body styles ranged from the late 1940’s up to the mid to late 1950’s. Older model cars were allowed to remove the separate front and rear mudguards, but some of the later cars, such as mid-1950’s Ford Customlines, had to run the standard body. Some engine modifications were allowed.

The popularity of Stock Roads at Windsor in the mid-1960s can be seen by the fact that they were divided into two categories – “A” and “B” Grade. Similar huge fields raced at Westmead at the same time, so it was only natural that an attempt to have the best drivers from both circuits competing in the same race was mooted. SCODA (Stock Car Owners and Drivers Association), the promoters of the Windsor RSL Speedway, did so, and the 50-50 race became a reality.

One interesting feature of the race was that it based on handicaps. Handicap racing was a major feature of all categories in speedway racing at the time, along with scratch races, where all cars started bunched together. The main aim of such racing was to give everyone a chance to win, irrespective of driving skill or car. The aim was to have the whole field coming together in the final lap or so, and to see if the “backmarker” would be able to pass all of the other competitors and win. In short races, the handicaps were very important, but in this 50 lap race, a handicap of a couple of hundred yards would be picked up by the backmarkers within the first few laps. Still, this race would have been an impressive site, with the front markers on the front straight on the start/finish line, and then the other drivers being placed around the circuit. The backmarker in this race, Stan Brazier, would have been giving the starters on the start/finish line a 2/3 of a lap advantage. To ensure that the cars lined up properly, the various handicaps were painted on the safety fence. This race would have been held on the “long” track, rather than the “short” track. These Stock Rods would have been able to pick up a fair turn of speed on the long straights, and with the faster cars working their way through the field, the racing would have been spectacular! Unfortunately I don’t have the results for this race, but based on similar races, the Westmead drivers would have held the advantage, as their cars had slightly more modifications allowed than the Windsor cars.

This was the case the following year, 1966, when Windsor hosted the inaugral “Australian Stock Rod Championship”. One of the competitors in this 1965 race, Allen Brien won the title from another Westmead driver, Brian Halpin.

Stock rods morphed into “production sedans” in the late 1960’s, which featured more modern body styles, and which were a very popular category at the Liverpool Speedway, which was the only winter speedway in Sydney after both the Windsor RSL Speedway and Westmead Speedway  closed down in the second half of 1968.

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Windsor RSL Speedway#2

  1. Hi Graham, I know the racing at Westmead was over a winter season. Do you know more exactly when the season started and finished?

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