Before I get to my post about the Windsor RSL Speedway, I want to apologise for the long gap between posts. I had a huge indexing job that had a very tight deadline, which resulted in me working 6-7 hours a day for most of last week in order to meet the clearing deadline of last Friday.
Now that things have quietened down, I thought that I might mention one of the more personal and moving experiences that I have had in my research. Back in late 2001/early 2002, I was in the process of trying to track down as many ex-competitors as possible, not only to find out if they had any memorabilia about the speedway which they may lend/give to me as part of my research, but also to let them know of my plan to unveil a memorial plaque on the site of the speedway in mid-2002.
One of the ex-competitors that I located was Fred Tulk, who was one of the top speedcar drivers at Windsor in the mid-1960’s. Here is a photo of Fred in the Doug Donnelly owned and Holden powered #66 speedcar in the Windsor pits:
I spoke to Fred on the phone, and told him about my plans. Fred told me that he wanted to attend the plaque unveiling, but that he was pretty sick, and wasn’t sure if he could make it. I told him that I hoped that he could make it. A couple of months later I received a phone call from Fred’s wife Dawn. She told me that Fred had passed away due to a long illness. I passed on my condolences, and mentioned that it was sad that Fred passed away only a few months before the unveiling of the plaque.
What Dawn said next made my jaw drop to the floor. She had Fred’s remains cremated, and asked if there was any chance that she could bring them up to the plaque unveiling, and spread them on the location of where her husband raced 35 years beforehand. There was a stunned silence on my behalf before I said yes. I had no idea if this was legal or not, so I spoke to a local funeral director, who said that there was no law to stop anyone spreading ashes in a public place.
Obviously Fred had wanted to attend the plaque unveiling, and when he realised that he wasn’t going to make it, he gave Dawn instructions on what he wanted done after the cremation.
The result was that when I was at the site of the plaque unveiling early on Sunday morning, the 28th of July 2002, Dawn approached me in the cul-de-sac that has been built into the site of the speedway, along with the container with Fred’s ashes.
Dawn, myself and John Garey, who was a fellow speedcar driver at the same time Fred was racing, walked up to the end of the cul-de-sac, where Dawn opened the container and spread her late husband’s ashes. It was this event that really brought home to me how important the Windsor RSL Speedway was in the lives of the people who raced there.