Remembering Warwick Farm on the 60th Anniversary of its First Race Meeting

The grid for the main trophy race of the first meeting at Warwick Farm

By Peter Schell, Photos thanks to John Ellacott

On the 18th of December, 2020, the HSRCA will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first race meeting held at Warwick Farm. Enjoy these photos from the meeting, with thanks to John Ellacott, and read on for some of the history of the circuit with thanks to Peter Schell.

Although plagued by constant rain, a gathering of the best drivers in Australia competed in seven events in front of more than 20,000 spectators. The challenges and character of the day were recorded in excellent photos captured by John Ellacott. Fortunately, John enjoyed the shelter of one of the three grandstands, while those in the paddock area and the spectators lining the fences were rain soaked by the regular showers.

Winners on that memorable day were David McKay (Morgan Plus 4), Syd Howard (MG TC), Ian Geoghegan (Jaguar 3.4), Bib Stillwell (Cooper Climax), Frank Matich (Lotus 15) and Gavin Youl (Porsche).

Ex-David McKay Morgan Plus 4 at the Summer Festival

Ex-David McKay Morgan Plus 4 at the 2020 HSRCA Summer Festival

The Morgan driven by McKay was on display at the recent HSRCA Summer Festival. We would like to send a special ‘Thank you!’ to John Hurst, who is the current custodian of the car and who very kindly brought it to the meeting and endured the tremendous heat on Saturday.

The interest and enthusiasm generated at the first race meeting at Warwick Farm raised the profile of the sport to socially acceptable levels never experienced previously. It also paved the way for the Sydney populace to enjoy the spectacle of local heroes dicing with the cream of visiting overseas drivers for more than a decade. Significantly, every world champion driver between 1959 and 1971 competed at ‘The Farm’.

Warwick Farm Inagural Race Meeting in 1960

The start of the first race at Warwick Farm, won by David McKay in a Morgan Plus 4

In 14 years of operation Warwick Farm hosted four Australian Grands Prix and numerous Australian championship races and rounds. The level of international interest led to the formation of the Tasman Series in 1964. The glory days, or those golden years, were honoured by the HSRCA through the four Tasman Revival meetings held between 2006 and 2012.

Historic racing had its genesis at ‘The Farm’ with the establishment of an annual ‘Vintage and Post Vintage’ race as early as 1962. The annual trophies awarded for each historic category commemorate not only the memorable racing of the earlier era, but also the herculean efforts of those pioneering drivers.

By Peter Schell

Warwick Farm Inagural Race Meeting in 1960

The start of the grand touring car race

1 thought on “Remembering Warwick Farm on the 60th Anniversary of its First Race Meeting”

  1. My brother, Warwick, along with Wayne Paterson and I sat in the grandstands. Initially, we thought, in our collective ignorance, that the 4/4 was an MGTF. It is wonderful to see that the car has been restored and was present at the 60th anniversary. I enjoyed competing in a number of races in a Sprite, Mini Cooper and two Formula Vees over the years. I was also an instructor with the Peter Wherrett Advanced Driving School, the proprietorship of which Gaye and I took over in late 1980. We closed the gate on Hume Straight for the last time after a course on that section.

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