Charlie Spurgeon, one of our dirt track pioneers in cars. Not Midgets first up, but cars stripped down for dirt track racing, forerunner to our Midgets or Speedcars . He then went on to Midgets. Charlie, or Spur as his family called him, raced at Olympic Park in Mebourne in 1934 and was in on the early days of car competition at Wentworth Park ( 1933) and Granville Showground (1932) in Sydney. Charlie's Granddaughter, Jenny, has shared some of her memories, in pictorial form of her famous Grandad with us...Thanks Jenny.
Charlie Spurgeon ( left) talks with a friend at a race meeting.
Charlie(centre in # 4) lined up with rivals at Wentworth Park -Sydney - Circa 1933.
Charlie in a different type of racer.
A typical race car of the 1930s.
One of Charlie's regular rivals and a great competitor of the era, Archie Tuckett.
Bruce Leckie in a smaller car, starting to look more like a Speedcar.
One of the leading European drivers and car constructors of the 1930s, Jean Reville.
Reville raced at the first Speedcar meeting at the Sydney Royal on November 2nd. 1935
November 2nd. 1935 - Car meetings at Wentworth Park and Sydney Showground,
The Royal. Royal didn't have an 'E' ( as in Royale) in 1935.
A midget racer of the 1930s. Driver & car ID anyone ?.
A nice looking midget on the roadway outside the Spurgeon workshop at Croydon - NSW.
(I've driven up this road many times over
the years. Brian)
Charlie, on right, outside the workshop.
Charlie in action on the dirt in # 4 ( right).
On the track at Olympic Park - Melbourne - Victoria - 1934 - 1935.
At Olympic Park Melbourne.
L to R: Charlie Spurgeon - Tom Quinn # 3 - Archie Tuckett # 2.
Charlie Spurgeon - centre.
Race cars at Charlie Spurgeon's Garage at Croydon NSW.
Although car racing on oval dirt tracks was held at venues around Melbourne, such as the one mile Richmond Racecourse since about 1913 and the similarly sized Aspendale, it was not midget car racing, but the much larger dimensioned light cars that were something more akin to the American Championship cars. Likewise in Sydney an organization known as the “Dirt Track Car Racing Club” had been running speedway meetings on the half mile Granville Showgrounds track since 1932 and making quite an impression on the Sydney oval track scene. Again it was not midget car racing as erroneously thought by some Sydney speedway writers later,but somewhat bigger cars mainly powered by Rajo and Fronty Fords, Overland Millers and Morris Specials. They were putting on a good show on the large Granville track, but a dismal failure when tried on the quarter mile Wentworth speedway in November 1933.
A year later several leading drivers of the DTCRC, such as Bruce Leckie, Charlie Spurgeon and Archie Tuckett were to congregate in Melbourne with the rest of the pioneering members of the “Midget Car Drivers Association of Australia” to inaugurate the highly successful new sport on December 15, 1934. All the MCDAA members were well known competitors from the ranks of road racing car drivers, former motorcycle and sidecar riders from the old concrete saucer days and dirt track speedway sidecar riders who would all be unfamiliar with midget car racing.
Quote from Kevin Emmerson 2002 from Ken Wylie article.
An early Spurgeon midget chassis at the Croydon workshops.
What a great sight ! Midgets being repaired and constructed in the 1930s at the Croydon workshop.