Home Contact Us Stadia Pix Articles All About You Riders to Remember
DVDs Books Pictures Archive Dream Teams Programme Generator
28/02/2021
2020 Review - Part 4
Still Flying High
Your Feedback
 
21/02/2021
2020 Review - Part 3
Harold MacNaughton
Your Feedback
 
14/02/2021
Olle Nygren
2020 Review - Part 2
Your Feedback
 
07/02/2021
2020 Review - Part 1
Your Feedback
 
31/01/2021
Debut: Joe Screen
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
24/01/2021
Review: Blood & Cinders
Your Feedback
 
17/01/2021
Tai Deserves a Gong
The J.A.P is Modern Art
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
03/01/2021
Snapshots of Yesteryear
Snapshots of Yesteryear
Snapshots of Yesteryear
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
27/12/2020
The Polish Problem
Mauger, Nielsen. World Finals.
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
16/12/2020
Simon Wigg Racing Plus!
 
10/12/2020
Review: Saving Speedway
 
06/12/2020
Great Races of the 70s/80s
The BLRC 1984
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
22/11/2020
Book Review: Dave Jessup
The BLRC 1983
Leif "Basse" Hveem
Your Feedback
 
15/11/2020
When Did it Start to Decline?
The BLRC 1982
Tracking Down the Swagman
Your Feedback
 
08/11/2020
Review: Before Air Fences
THE BLRC 1981
Dagenham
Your Feedback
 
01/11/2020
Review: Who Gates Wins
The BLRC 1980
Owlerton in the Sixties
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
25/10/2020
Doyle's Triple Crown
The BLRC 1979
Your Feedback
 
11/10/2020
New Cross Album 1936
The BLRC 1978
Your Feedback
 
04/10/2020
Sheffield 60s & 70s
The BLRC 1977
John Pilblad
Your Feedback
 


Stonecliff Speedway
By Allan J. Baker

Stonecliff Speedway, Clergate, NSW

My Father's family came from an area that centered around the Orange area of New South Wales. Our tribe came from within the boundaries of the Fish River, Spring Hill, Blayney, Tarana and westward through Orange out to a place called Clergate.

Clergate had a general store (Garage, Post Office, Store all in one), a railway platform (One carriage in length), a general hall, a school and two visible houses. Yep, oh, and the Clergate Cricket Ground (Only available for use after harvest). That's it, that's town.

Clergate was reached by leaving Orange and travelling along the March Road towards Mullion Creek. A few miles from Orange you had to turn right into the Clergate Road. A dirt road that took you up to a railway crossing. At the railway crossing was my uncle's house, the now non-existing gatehouse. I stayed here for regular vacations.

When the Railway phone rang, it was a signal that a train was on its way. We ran out and closed the old manual pipe framed crossing gates to stop motorists from being mowed down by fast moving freight trains powered by massive Pacific or Garrett Class steam locomotives. Even the daily "Silver City Comet" Railcar would have destroyed a road going automobile.

I must have been about six years old back then. As I clung to the gate and roared back at the passing train, I heard cars pull up behind me. Not just cars, cars with trailers. Not just trailers, but trailers with things on them. Bikes, bikes with funny platforms on the side, and those four wheeled things with numbers on them. (Later I learned that they were solos, sidecars and Formula 500s).

Some 50 years later the memory still sits there in my brain, a lonely memory 'cause everything else in there seemed vanish long ago.

Those cars, with their trailers of strange apparatus, drove across the now opened gates and took off down the dirt road past the Clergate Public School. (Thirteen kids, grades Kindy to 6th grade and only one teacher). A way down past the school I saw them turn left and disappear.

A few days later curiousity got the better of me and I stole my cousin's pushbike and took off down the dirt track in search of the those trailers with funny things.

It wasn't long before I came across a kidney bean shaped track in the middle of a farm paddock. No fences and kinda dipped in the middle. I was never told the name of the venue, if I was, then it's now lost like so many other things.

So about 15 years later I went to see a movie at a theatre in the Sydney Suburb of Ashfield. A shopping Centre now stands on the site. That Theatre was then owned by former Solo rider Johnny Langfield. That I remember, the Movie, well .......... no, I have no idea.

Being the Speedway fruit cake that I am, I saddled up alongside Langfield and started talking about, ..........do I really need to say?

Later the subject began to include Langfield's Short Circuit feats, I told him my memories of clinging to the gate at Clergate and in turn Langfield told me the story of a meeting at that same venue.

It was almost half way through the meeting when a fire broke out in scrub along the back straight. The organisers called for an early intermission and while spectators watched, competitors raced over and beat back the flames anyway they could.

The battle between the Sportsman and the elements was eventually to go in favour of the competitors. Intermission ceased, competitors went back to racing and all were very happy with themselves.

I then eagerly asked Langfield if he could recall the name of the Venue back then.

He thought for a while and then said "No, I have no Idea"

Bugger You Langfield, I thought you were supposed to be a hero ha ha!

It wasn't Towac, that's the other side of Orange, but if anyone knows the name of the Venue PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know. You could be a bigger hero than Johnny Langfield.

And this story folks is true, only the needle has been changed to protect the record.

Yes dear, I'll get off the computer now. Grrrrrrrrrr

The response from John Langfield

 

Quite a story Allan, amazing really.When I was about 10 or 11 years old I used to stay for regular holidays at my uncles place at a railway siding called Crowther which is on the Olympic Highway between Cowra and Young. This consisted of a Post Office store, fuel distrubition shed, a railway platform ( one carriage in length ) two houses which could be seen from a distance and a gate keepers cottage beside the railway line. The road between Cowra and Young was gravel in those days. I too used to run out to help open and Close the gates when the train was coming to watch it roar by.

How's that for coincidence?

I think the movie at Ashfield was Superman.

I don't remember you telling me about Clergate or I would have told you about Crowther.

I do remember the race meeting when the bush fire stopped things for a while. That place was called Stonecliff Speedway. Had to call on my mate Terry Poole to remember that for me. He still has sashes he won there.

Please forward one case of Tooheys for this information.

 

After speaking with Terry Poole himself, I was informed that the promoter of the venue was a chap named Guss Randall from Orange.

Competitors usually raced at Bathurst on Saturday, stayed overnight and then took the short drive to Clergate the next morning.

This is early 1960's and many competitors of the day are no longer with us. No history of Stonecliff Speedway has been recorded in the past

Some of those who raced at Stonecliff Speedway were...

John Langfield
Terry Poole
Billy McDonald
Clive Bennett
(First name required) Mitchell (English Grass Track Rider)

Sources

Allan J Baker
John Langfield
Terry Poole

If anyone has information about this venue please e-mail me at

West Coast Speedway News on facebook

westcoastspeedwaynews@gmail.com

or

rubbletruck08@hotmail.com

 

This article was first published on 15th July 2012


 

  • Steve Harland:

    "Brilliant story - really enjoyed digesting it. I hope someone finds a photograph though highly unlikely. "

    [ Use Mobile Version ]
     

     

    Comment on this Article | Contact Us | Go Back to Main Menu

  •    Please leave your comments on this article or on the site as a whole