THE PARRAMATTA PANTHERS
Class of 1952
Back Row l to r.: Jack Gorman, Noel Thorley, Len Steele, Doug MacLachan and the Doug MacLachlan Shield, Arthur Trudgitt, Bruce Croxon and Jack Eaves.
Front Row: Jack Neville, Phil Leth and Joe Peck.
Jack Eaves lost his life at the Bathurst Sportsground on 27/12/1954. Jack was Phil Leth's best man at Phil's wedding.
A Little Parramatta programme humor.
The Speedcar feature race of the evening was named " The Butcher's Picnic" It would be normally of 10 laps rolling start and feature on the average 12 cars. It was always "full on" and spectacular. I saw Dallas James go right through the fence one night ! In keeping with the Butchers theme, one evening the programme read,
Event 29. THE BUTCHERS PICNIC
Robbie Lamb ( Robbie Williams) Car 29, Butch Steak ( Butch Hair) Car 25, Col Pork ( Col James) Car 16, Spike Tripe( Spike Jennings) Car 30, Texas Sirloin ( Eric Morton) Car 24, Tommy Oxtail ( Tommy Bradshaw) Car 13, Hank Beef ( Hank Schmutter) Car 11, Smoky Mutton (Smoky Bennett) Car 3, Normie Chops ( Norm Jackson) Car 15, Jack Sausages ( Jack Ferguson ) Car 1.
The track circumference was increased several times from 428 yards to 435 yards and 452.66 yards.
On 1/ 11 / 1950 some track records were:
2 lap Rolling... 35 secs. Keith "Buck" Ryan
3 lap Rolling... 57 secs. Arthur Payne
3 lap Clutch Start. 54.8 secs. Bill Melluish
4 lap Handicap..79 secs. George Hutchinson
3 lap Clutch Start...59.8 secs. Jim Davies
4 lap Handicap... 85.8 secs. Bert Martin
The CUMBERLAND OVAL SPEEDWAY track stood in the 1930s, 40s and 50s WHERE THE CUMBERLAND OVAL FOOTBALL FIELD IS TODAY ( HOME OF PARRAMATTA CLUB)
Speedway Meetings appeared to start on 6th. February, 1930 ( bikes only ) and the track closed during the 1958/59 season. ( last recorded meeting researched is April 4th. 1959) The first midget meeting was at the start of the 1946/47 season. ( Dates thanks to Terry Fitzell )
The fabulous Jim Davies , inside outraps Bill Bingham and Doug Robson on the run into the first turn at Cumberland Oval. Bill passed away on November 1st 2001.
Left, Bert Martin and passenger with Jack Bissaker and passenger, Brian Moran at Cumberland Oval. Bert rode with a Harley engine and also had a stint in a midget. Jack lost his life in a midget at the Royale on the 21/10/1961. Gee, those passengers look young !
Brian "Bluey" Barnes and passenger, Tony Harrison. They were regular competitors at Parramatta. Both Brian and Tony lost their lives in a tragic accident at Westmead Speedway on 19/8/1956
Jim Davies, inside Jack Bissaker.
Always a popular rider at Parra, Bill Melluish. Bill represented Australia in some test matches.
Young local, Phil Leth honed his ample skills at Cumberland Oval. Phil used to ride with a tartan checked overshirt as did Neil McDonald.
A young Phil Leth at Parramatta in the 1950s and Phil in 2001
First corner Solo action. Noel Watson leads Arthur Trudgitt .
Harold Barnes, Supercharged Jeep # 5, at right angles while Charlie Parker in # 13 tries one wheel cornering.
Allan Marshall in the Jeep Special # 26 hits the light pole while Brabham in # 28 goes out of shot. In the full Byron Gunther photo, a light globe is captured in mid air on it's way to the track. Note the cricket site screen. Cumberland was also a cricket oval.
ERIC MORTON in the air cooled v twin # 24.
Tommy Bradshaw's car is a little worse for wear after hitting the fence at full speed. Tommy was taken to the Hospital where he had a enforced stay.
Young Cumberland Oval charger, Bill Shevill in Ron Ward's air cooled twin Windsor # 3. Bill first drove the Eric Morton # 24 twin at Cumberland and then struck up a deal with Ward to drive # 3.
Bill never got to run in the 1956 Sydney Cup at the Royale, neither did anybody else. It was cancelled due to the horrific accident in Event 17, the Final of the Speedcar Handicap. ( Also due to the fact that young novice Speedcar driver Brian Moles had been killed in a race accident in the Encourage race Event 13 earlier in the night) In Event 17 Bill Shevill in W3 and Werner Greve ( the German ace ) in 13 came together on Pit turn putting Bill into the fence, Bill's head hit the fence, and as a result he sustained massive head injuries. When car owner Ron Ward asked the Ambulance man to see his driver, the Amublance man said " you had better see him now, because he won't be with us in the morning! ". Shevill driving car 3 crashed on lap 3, he was taken to hospital and put in bed 3 of Ward 3 and the accident happened on the 3rd of November 1956. Is number 3 Bill's lucky number ? Bill never raced again. He is alive and well today and lives in Taree NSW.
Cumberland "old gun" leads Cumberland "young gun". Dallas James , an institution at Cumberland, in # 15 leads Bill Shevill in W 3. Bill ran 3rd in the World title at the Royale in 1956. (This photo was taken at the Sydney Royale in 1956.)
Jottings from the Speedway Royale programme on the night Bill's accident.
Bill Shevill, left and car owner Ron Ward, 43 years later at the 1999 NSW Vintage Speedcar Association's Cabaret. Shevill was honoured with the "Thanks for the Memories " Award for his contribution to Speedway
Only 3 lives were lost at Cumberland during it's years of operation as a Speedway. They were in Speedcars.
FRED LYNAM............ 6.12.1946
NEIL HAIR................... 3.1.1953
( Jack's accident was on October 29th 1955 but he lingered for many months and passed away at a later date.)
Normie Jackson V Twin # 2. A great favourite at Cumberland.
This incredible Byron Gunther photo of Terry Weinert in his air cooled V Twin midget at Cumberland always amazes me. What a great photo for the 50s.
Now there's a new page on Cumberland, click here for Page 2.
Cumberland Oval - Parramatta when Speedway was held at the venue. The Grandstand was built in 1936.
International Solo Speedway racing was held there in 1933. The last meeting was held on 4th. April 1959 and Cumberland Oval Speedway was no more.
Cumberland Oval as the local Football field in 1977. In 1981 idiot Football fans burnt the Grandstand down and wrecked the facilities so they could have a new Football stadium.
A new stadium was built and opened in 1986 and in 2017 it was pulled down to be replaced by another new Stadium.
November 1956 - World F1 driver Stirling Moss punts the road racing Jack Myers WM Cooper around the dirt track Speedway