• The Classics:

Murray Bridge

Gillman Events

Adelaide Auto Expo

  • Reunions:

Rowley Park 25 Yr

Point Pass 40 Yr



Researched and submitted by Rod Webb

Start of Speedway  - Australia

(For more information on Australian Speedway History on the top right corner, click on “how it all began”)

It is accepted around the world that Speedway started at Maitland Showground, New South Wales on Dec 15th 1923.

But from all over the world there is evidence that motorcycles were raced around ovals on dirt well before this date.

Johnny Hoskins promoted Maitland and was the first to really grasp the potential and hold regular motor cycle speedway events at which the riders rode for prize money. The sport then took off all over the world.

South Australia - The Early Years

South Australia was no different, from the 1900s onwards there was motorcycle racing around ovals and on horse racing tracks and beaches.

A lot of these tracks were big tracks up to a mile in length. These were well organised and were called “sporting carnivals”.

As early as 1914 at the Jubilee Oval (now part of the Adelaide University grounds) there was a race between four unknown riders around the dirt track on the outside of the oval during such a “Sporting Carnival”.

Such events were common all over the State.

Probably the meeting held at Thebarton Oval 1923 before Maitland could have been deemed “Speedway”. But for various reasons it was not successful. This was an obstacle that had to be over come before racing started at Speedway Royale. (Wayville Show Grounds)

Smithfield SA 1926 was the first club owned and promoted track in the world. Up until then speedway had been held at showgrounds ovals & horse & dog tracks.

Speedway Royale (Wayville Show Grounds) really put speedway on the map in SA. The track bought interstate and overseas riders and drew very large crowds.

The big advantage of Speedway Royale was good spectator facilities and most riders said the track was one of the best and safest in the world.

Speedway Royale was a true Speedway in that it was 400 yards approx in length and a true loose heavy dirt surface. (My how things have changed!)

Early Speedway Tracks

Around 1926-29, tracks sprung up all over the State, some did not last long and a lot of these tracks were large in length up to a mile long, but about the1930s the defined 400 yard speedway track evolved.

Some purists would call these early tracks "Long Tracks" and not "Speedway", but I think they were important in the evolution of “Speedway”. Australian Titles held at the longer tracks to this day are not recognised.

Appilla - 1927

A meeting was held Jan 1st 1927.

Location and details unknown

Naracoorte Showgrounds - 1929

Reports mention several meetings either at the showgrounds or the horse racing track

Blink Bonnie - 1929?

This one is a real mystery do you know were it was?

Parafield Aerodrome - 1932

One meeting was held in 1932.

A great deal of work went into making the Parafield track, but the meeting was far from a success.

Burra - 1927

Max Hall was prominent rider there.

Pt Pirie Memorial Oval - 1927 – Town Oval

Very popular with meetings held each month from 1927 until 1930s

The speedway shifted to the edge of the town as the Pt Pirie mile later it was shortened to half mile.

Elliston - 1928?

Location and details unknown

Speedway Royale - 1926 (Wayville Show Grounds)

This was the speedway that put Speedway on the map in SA

Riders from Interstate and overseas rode there and crowds of up to 20,000 were common, it was known as one of the best speedways in the World.  

Jubilee Oval Adelaide - 1929

As mentioned various forms of motor cycle racing was held in the early 1910s and speedway was held in 1929.

This track was very unusual in shape. (See photo below).

Smithfield - 1926 to 1930

It also has the distinction of having Light Cars race there, the start of car speedway in SA?


Loxton - 1926

 A meeting was held on September 25th 1926 & October 23rd 1926

Its location is a mystery if I had to guess it was either at the Showgrounds or a horse racing track nearby.

Strathalbyn- 1927

1st meeting April 25th 1927

Again exact location a mystery but the track was built from Smithfield plans.

Moonta/ Kadina Oval - 1926

A meeting was held Dec 27th 1926 called Moonta Speedway but held at Kadina Oval?

Thebarton Oval - 1923

Reports indicate speedway type events started to happen as early as 1923! and continued at least to 1928

Imagine if that first event was successfully SA may have been credited with the start of speedway!

Mt Gambier - 1931

News report from a local paper.

The first meeting will be held on Saturday next (31st January 1931). Nominations close at Walker’s garage on Friday night.”


Mile Handicap:  R Lock (1 minute 56 seconds) 1st    R Haig


2 Mile Handicap:  R Lock (3.10) 1st, G O’Neil


Cigarette Race:     F Umpherston


3 Mile Handicap:  G O’Neil (5.34), R Lock

1 Mile Side Valve: G O’Neil (2.5), R Lock

Several meetings were held at Recreation Oval before council put a stop to it due noise and dust. (Sound familiar?)

(There were reports of a couple of meetings at Umpherston's property at Yahl a bit earlier)

Waikerie - 1926

 A Speed meet was held on July 1st 1926.

Charlie Gray aboard a super x Harley Davidson with a Floatette sidecar in front of 1200 people won the all powers Sidecar Handicap, with his speed on the straights was around 80mph.

AJ Moyle won the Waikerie Championship on board a 3& half AJS.

They held regular meetings up till 1930 location unknown.


Hopefully this list and details about the tracks will grow. As you can imagine locating and documenting details of these tracks is very difficult and information can not be guaranteed to be correct.

If you know anything about any of them, or know of more tracks, please contact the Webmaster.

The webmaster is in the process of obtaining information, photos etc for this page, but if YOU CAN HELP, please email the Webmaster with any appropriate material and any other information that mat be applicable to the Web Site.

Email: Webmaster@Speedway in SA 

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Last modified: July 11, 2015 07:44 AM

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