The Exhibition Grounds Speedway in Brisbane , Queensland , Australia was affectionately known as "The Ekka" The first Speedway meeting was held at the Ekka in 1926. It never really had a Final meeting.... the Brisbane fans didn't get a chance to say..farewell.
A controversial Speedcar feature race at the Ekka.
It was Saturday night, November 10th 1962, the Speedcar feature race and Roy Didlock in the Golden Fleece sponsored Holden engined midget Q4 had his outside rear wheel seize, dragging him into the fence. Chief Steward, Eddie Brennan, turned on the flicking red light meaning cars must slow down and hold positions until the track is cleared. Four flag marshalls around the track held out the red and white checked flag for this purpose.
But Chief Steward Brennan said that while some drivers slowed, others immediately tried to improve their positions, so he had no alternative but to stop the race. On went the red lights. Two flag marshalls switched to the red stop flag, the other two didn't. The drivers, with the exception of Bill Goode in the Falcon engined Golden Fleece Special Q5, ignored everyone. Brennan then disqualified the field and awarded the race to Bill Goode.
One of the worst demonstrations seen on the grounds followed. Drivers claimed Goode had broken down and stopped because he had to. Offers went floating through the air of 100 pounds to see him start up the Falcon again. Other drivers refused to leave the track. One sat on his front wheel and said" The first man who lays a hand on this car, gets it!" The crowd threw bottles and paper bags full of track dirt. Police were called onto the track. Drivers still refused to move until Promoter Frank Arthur took long strides to the cause of the trouble and told them to get off the track in two minutes or risk not ever getting back on again. Then they went.
Goode's Falcon in fact had blown a piston. He did not know this at the time and had pulled in because the lights were on. The lap scores show he was lying in ninth place when the race was stopped on lap 15. The disqualified drivers, Allan Belcher, Kevin Jefferson, Barrie Watt, Des Kelly, Brian and Ian Finglas, Blair Shepherd, Aub Knowles and Alan Taylor were still smarting the next week. Then came the Q.S.D.A.'s bombshell.... the nine had been suspended by the committee for two racing nights for refusing to obey official's directions to leave the track.
Drivers were openly mutinous. There was talk of breaking away and forming their own club. But Promoter Arthur made it quite clear that he backed the committee's decision all the way , even if it meant no Speedcars for three seasons. Drivers then appealed against the committee's suspension claiming they were being excessive to the extreme. On the appeal night fireworks were expected, but only Kelly got up and damned the committee. There was no support for his vehemence, although some cool headed assistance for his ideas. The committee considered .... and reduced the suspensions to a fine of 2 Pounds 10 Shillings each with 10 Shillings costs of appeal. Kelly again jumped up, told the committee he would not pay the fine and would not drive again. Again there was no support, other drivers deciding to pay the fines " under the strongest possible protest." Goode then offered the prize money he received from the feature win towards the fines. This was refused.
BILL GOODE and the notorious Falcon Q5. Goode won 5 Feature races at the Ekka in this Q5. 3 with the Falcon engine and two with the Repco Holden engine. Goode won 56 Feature races at the Ekka during his career.
The next meeting ( November 24) was a shambles. Kelly, his Irish well and truly up, kept his word and stayed home. Jefferson broke an axle. Watt burnt out a piston. Goode blew a head gasket. Didlock broke a radius rod. Knowles had a speck of dirt lodge between his points when he was a mile in front, and had to withdraw. And Brian Finglas hit he fence so hard the concrete foundations shook and the outside front wheel was imbeded in the side of the cockpit. This brought the race to a stop and the boys all pulled up within 40 yards !. By the end of the month things were back to normal. Well, as normal as they could be !
Bill Goode in the Falcon Q5
Bill Goode in the Repco Q5 being pushed through the Pit gates at the Ekka.
Kev Jefferson, left, inspects his broken axle with John Mulcahy and Roy Didlock.
Davidson # Q6, Wanless # Q76
McClure # Q27
Bill Goode Offy # Q5 & Gus McClure Repco # Q27
( the ex Goode Q5 Falcon )
Gus McClure in the ex Bill Goode Falcon Q5 car now Q27 with a Repco engine.
Des Kelly # Q11 leads Brian Tracy # NZ8 and Bill Goode in Q5.
Barrie Watt in Q3 runs with Bill Goode in Q5
I hope you have enjoyed the Ekka page, if so tell me your thoughts in my Guest Book. If you have any photos you would like added to this Qld. page either e mail me a copy or post them and I will post them back.
One of Queensland's greatest solo riders, "Little Boy Blue", Keith Gurtner. He rode in blue leathers.
Kev Jefferson gets pushed away in Q60
A great study of Kev Jefferson in action in the Studebaker powered midget Q60.
Youngster ( ? ) Bob Morgan in the Jim Cross Holden # 54
Blair Shepherd in the caged car.
John Stanley, an ex Brisbane resident and Ekka fan has been kind enough to share his photos of those years with us on "Vintagespeedway" Click on John's name.
A great aerial view ot the famous 1/4 mile Exhibition Grounds Speedway track.
Joanne Denton sent these pics of Jack Jorgensen's A Model Ford Midget # NR56 for the Ekka page.
Jack and friends built the car in 1946/47 at Wacol in Brisbane and raced the red and white midget for 2 to 3 years. Joanne says Jack remembers Ekka well and now in 2007, Jack is 88 years old.
Thanks Val......great photos from the Ekka pits.