- Wednesday 28 October 2015
A dedicated group of racing enthusiasts including local racing identities Ray Austin, Des Atkinson and Rod Collins were the driving force behind the establishment of a local car racing venue.
The move followed the closure of an unofficial track at Sugar Road, Maroochydore and resulted in the construction of a 400-metre clay, oval-shaped track in cleared scrubland on the Wappa Falls Road between Nambour and Yandina.
This marked the beginning of the Nambour Speedway referred to as the Yandina Speedway and later renamed the Sunshine Coast Speedway.
The original speedway track was the work of this dedicated group, who formed the Nambour Saloon Car Club and held their first official race meeting on Sunday, August 16, 1970 with C class, B class and A class motor cars speeding and avoiding the trees and stumps around the track.
Posts and tyres provided the initial safety fence on the spectator straight while safety was ensured by the attendance of the Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade, along with race club members trained by the Nambour Fire Brigade.
Track marshalls and box staff played their respective roles, a local 4NA radio announcer provided the commentary, and a canteen catered for refreshments.
Admission to the speedway was $2 for adults and children under 14 were free.
Two years after presenting their first official race meeting, the Nambour Saloon Car Club disbanded and on August 22, 1972 the Sunshine Coast Speedway Club formed.
The speedway site had initially been leased from Kev Kirby and was purchased by Des and Dulcie Atkinson who redeveloped and officially re-opened the track as the Sunshine Coast Speedway on June 3, 1973.
The opening meet was the first time a race meeting was held at night and run under floodlight.
The program featured a grand parade with about 80 cars and was attended by drivers and supporters from clubs all over southern Queensland.
The club now had 30 driving members, including two ladies, and with the remodelling and fencing of the entire track it was classified as a professional track and registered with the Australian Saloon Car Federation.
Over the years, the Sunshine Coast Speedway was acquired by several different owners who continued to improve the track and surrounds.
During 2004 and 2005, the speedway was temporarily closed and in June 2011, following council approval to subdivide the land into residential blocks, the speedway site was finally cleared.
Since its beginning the speedway has been known for its family friendly environment and for over four decades the local racing venue, with its spectacular racing and bumper line-ups, thrilled and entertained both competitors and spectators alike.
Learn more about the Coast’s unique history by reading our Backward Glance series. There’s a new story every Wednesday.