Speedways in South Australia


  • The Classics:

Murray Bridge

Gillman Events

Adelaide Auto Expo

  • Reunions:

Rowley Park 25 Yr

Point Pass 40 Yr

Acknowledgements

Bill "The Wizard" Wigzell, as he was known, the wizard of Speedway racing in South Australia on both solo's and cars was one of only two speedway racers that raced both the first ever race meeting at Rowley Park Speedway in 1949 and the last in 1979, the other being Laurie Jamieson.

Bill went to school at Wellington Road Primary School where he finished grade 7 and went to work as an apprentice Prosthetic Technician. He loved messing with cars, hotting them up etc. so his boss at the time suggested he meet with Alex Rowe who quickly snapped up Bill as an apprentice mechanic working with race vehicles.

Bill then pitted for Speedcar Racers from all over the country at Kilburn Speedway before his first ever Speedway meeting at the age of 18 in March 1949.

Prior to this he started his racing career in road racing on a motor cycle at the age of 16 in 1946 and was racing twice a week at both Rowley Park Speedway on Wednesday nights and Kilburn Speedway on Friday nights.

Bill was successful as a Solo rider representing South Australia all over Australia.

Kym Bonython, Promoter at Rowley Park asked Bill if he would like to race a speedcar built by Sir Jack Brabham and owned by Kym for the 1954/55 season.

Bill proved himself right away that he was to be a force on 4 wheels immediately qualifying for the South Australian Speedway Championships during that season.

In the following season Bill Wigzell took out the Chas E Sconce trophy for Speedcar handicaps along with other features.

The following season Bill had an accident at work which kept him out for the season. In the 1958/59 season he struggled however,  the following seasons improved where he had a lot of success.

In 1965 Alex Rowe asked Bill to drive the yellow number 2 Ford Consul powered Speedcar that was later to be driven by various drivers including Colin Hennig, Steve Stewart and was then later powered by a Mazda rotary engine driven by Steve Hennig at Speedway Park.

Bill finished third behind Kym Bonython and Dean Hogarth in the Rick Harvey Memorial, then won the Harry Neale Memorial, the Golden Fleece 50 lap derby and the 40 lap South Australian round of the National Speedcar Drivers Championship.

It was then that Zeke Agars who was driving the Kevin Fischer Super Modified known as "Suddenly" decided to form his own team leaving the seat open. Kevin Fischer from Fischer Ford of Murray Bridge who originally purchased "Suddenly" from Graeme McCubbin of Victoria offered Bill the drive that was to become a great team.

Bill "The Wizard" Wigzell - A True "Gentleman" of Speedway in Australia

Glen Dix on the side of Suddenly 88 at the last meeting at Rowley Park

Bill standing alongside "Suddenly 88" at the Rowley Park 25 Year Reunion

 

Bill and "Suddenly 88" (a 427 Chevy powered engine) won his first race at meeting number 3 and won 7 of the remaining 14 feature events for the season.

In 1970 he won the Australian Super Modified Championship in NSW and then won 3 successive Craven Filter National Titles in 1972, 73 and 74 along with so many other titles in both Super Modified and Speedcars.

At one stage the combination held every lap record at Rowley Park Speedway.

In 1979 Bill Wigzell was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for service to the sport of motor racing.

With the closure of Rowley Park, Bill went on to race at Speedway Park in a Sprintcar still winning various races and then retired in 1986 going on to help Terry Wigzell (his son) who is successfully racing speedcars after a successful Moto Cross career.

He was inducted into the Australian Speedway Hall of Fame in 2008.

Bill passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, 15th November 2012 aged 82 years old. He was survived by his wife and family.

His funeral took place at the Murray Bridge Speedway, where he was a patron on Friday, 23rd November 2012.

More information can be found about Bill using the links below:
Facebook Fischer Motors - Suddenly 88 - The car that made him famous Gillman Speedway Talking Footy SA Forum Posts
Speedcafe.com You Tube Tribute by Paris Charles Thursday Thunder RIP Murray Bridge Speedway Patron

Photos

(Most Photos are Thumb nailed, so click on the photo to see it in a larger size)

Bill - The Person:

Bill in his younger days

 

L-R: Bill, Glen Dix & Dick Briton

 

L-R: Bill & Dick Briton

 

Bill with his "Speedway Hall of Fame Trophy

Rowley Park 25 Year Reunion

L-R: Alex Rowe, Bill & Kym Bonython

 

Bill with some of his Grand Children

       

Bill - The Competitor: Solo Motorcycle Racing

Bill on his Solo

(Photo compliments of rowleypark.com)

Bill involved in a accident

     

Bill - The Competitor: Speedcar Racing

Bill in Speedcar No 22

Bill won a 4th Place in a Championship race

Bill making an inside pass of Bob McMillan

Bill passing under Kym Bonython as he was crashing into the safety fence

Bill driving the Alex Rowe Supercharged Peugeot

Bill driving the "Roadster" that he drove on bitumen speedway for a short time

       

Bill - The Competitor: Super Modified Racing in "SUDDENLY 88", the car that made him famous

Bill with the Fischer Family with Suddenly 88

Suddenly 88 in the showroom at Fischer Motors at Murray Bridge

Bill in the well presented "SUDDENLY 88"

Bill doing what he did best, in front of the field

Suddenly 88 on display at one of Bill's Fan Days

Bill in action

Bill passing Phil Hereen on the outside

Bill using all the power and "doing it" on 3 wheels

Glen Dix on the side of Suddenly 88 at the last meeting at Rowley Park

 

Bill - The Competitor: Sprintcar Racing

Bill in the Sprintcar before he retired

       

Bill - The Patron at Murray Bridge Speedway: An Annual Event was named after him " Bill Wigzell Battle of the Bridge 410 Sprintcars"

Presentation to the Winners

Presentation to the Winners

"Bill Wigzell Battle of the Bridge 410 Sprintcars" Nomination Form & Race Details

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Last modified: May 27, 2014 07:53 AM

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