Remember Marshall Sargent in Sydney

Sargent Sizzles

January 22, 1966. For those who can remember and for those would never witnessed this man’s greatness. I have reproduced a report from the Australian & Overseas Speedway News from January 22, 1966

Sargent front page new January 22 , 1966

Sargent front page new January 22 , 1966

Bill Warner in the  absence of Dick Briton with his Corvette not yet completed) was expected to be the “Wilde Wheel s “ main challenger, but Billy Sportsman just wasn’t handling—or going well—undoubtedly due to his working day and night late in the week to carry out alterations. On top of this wasn’t driving well and his overall efforts was a spin before his record attempt, another at the start of the match race with Sargent and another one at the top corner on the second lap after the restart and a fourth in the feature

Marshall Sargent

Marshall Sargent

Garry Rush moved to a handy lead early and looked a possibility when Tatnell half spun at the pit on lap 5 and Nev Wills spun to miss. The race was “wrecked “when a red flag was shown.Rush and Bob Tunks were restarted 1-2 all right, but Tatnell was put in fourth spot after being approximately 9th at the of lap 4.This cost Don Parker, looking the best of the back boys and Clive Sevenoaks all chances as, not only did they lose good margin over George and see him in front of them, but Sargent was positioned on their heels.
By lap 7, Sargent had made “mincemeat” of the opposition and shot under Rush to lead .Rush dropped out after striking trouble in the bullpens on lap 9, with Tatnell and Sevenoaks dicing for second spot.
Parker was holding off Warner, until Bill rode over his front wheel, bending Parker’s axle-be spun entering the next corner. By then, however, the interest was over, with Sargent easily wheeling his wide-tyred, ugly monster with the same on-off throttle control a half lap clear. Tatnell, Sevenoakes, Warner and Stan Phillips trailed the Yank in.” End of story, author Dave Booth
Special notes. This story was reproduced “word for word “from the orginal Speedway New date January 22nd , 1066. Tatnell is George Tatnell, father of current World Series Sprintcar Champion Brooke. Dick Briton and Bob Tunks have only recently been honored during the March Month of Money at Valvoline Raceway.

This Saturday night another legand Jim Winterbottom will be honoured at Valvoline Raceway . .

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Blair Shepherd’s report on his Kiwi tour 1966

Remember when

January 22nd 1966 Legendary Queensland and Australian Speedcar champion Blair Sheperd writing in a column in “The Australian & Oversea Speedway News “about his tour to New Zealand January 1966 with fellow Queenslander Bill Goode

. I reproduce the story from the January 1966 edition of Australian & Overseas Speedway news as it is as current today as it was way back then.
The experience of both Bill Goode and Blair Shepherd during their racing tour echo’s those of our recent tourists Nathan Smee, Adam Clarke and others. The message is clear under no circumstance should you ever under estimate the Kiwis.


“Hello Australia,

It’s great to be back on solid earth after two weeks on the Shaky Iles.I, for one am still getting over the shock received on arriving there.From the reports we had received both Bill Goode and myself went there not expecting such tough competion, but from the moment racing started it was staggering .

Top driver in New Zealand without a doubt is Barry Butterworth , who drives the immaculatedly preparedOffenhauser owned by Fussell and Cartwright , Aucklands leading car dealer .

A very strong field of repco Holdens and V8-60’s provide hard and fast competion in all races .Unlike Australia New Zealand put their top cars and drivers together in all the races, so that the four heats have the same fields racing as the feature over 6 laps .

Match races have anything up to 10 cars in them so you can see it’s no pleasure pinic, but really top racing .I must admit I went there a little unprepared for the onslaught and was caught napping .

Merv Neil another top driver there, came out the last week  of our tour in a twin cylinder car and set a new 6 lap record.Merv received burns to his arms the first week after his V8-60 blew a radiator hose .

I was disappointed that I could’t make Sydney last week m but my car needed alterations and was unable to be finished in on time .

Bill Goode was most disappointed on his showing  – all through the wrong gear ratio.

That’s it for the momentfolks,

regards to all, Blair Shepherd ”

Blair Shepherd #99 and Bob Morgan at the Ekka in the 1960s

Blair Shepherd #99 and Bob Morgan at the Ekka in the 1960s








The picture of Blair Shepherd and Bob Morgan is from

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The Bob Tattersall Challenge -Grundy County Speedway

Grundy County Speedway –Illinois remembers Bob Tattersall

Bob Tattersall

Bob Tattersall

Morris- Illinois July 26th Saturday night the Grundy County Speedway ran the “Bob Tattersall’s Challenge“. The Bob Tattersall Challenge honors the memory of the Pennsylvania born racer.

Tattersall’s home base was Streator Illinois and from here is where his super career started. Bob Tattersall was inducted into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame for his achievements during his career that included 2 UARA Midget Titles in 1956 and 1959 plus the prestigious USAC National Midget Title in 1969 with owner Jack Stroud

.While Tattersall is remembered today in Morris at Grundy Speedway fans in Australia and New Zealand will never forget the 13 winters that he toured down.

Aggressive , bold and take a no prisoners approach to racing was at a level never before seen down under .I remember the first time I watched him wheel his imported Offenhauser race car around the Sydney Speedway Royal . I was speechless. I could not believe his car control, the ability to back the race into the corners, ride the high side of the narrow Sydney track and blast to race wins from the rear of the 24 car feature race fields.

Tattersall won many the major races across New Zealand and Australia, no track presented a problem and in those early years it may have been true that he had a few haters, over time I know Speedway fans in both New Zealand and Australia gained the greatest respect for him and we have never seen his like again. Many have come close but Tatt’s or Two Gun’s as he became known was one special racecar driver.

The race on the pavement at Grundy Speedway was won by Austin Prock from Kyle O’Gara and Nick Baran
The trophy presentation was mad by Bob’s window Mrs. Dee Tattersall
It’s wonderful to be able to remember and honor Bob Tattersall

Presentation of the Bob Tattersall Challenge to Austin Prock by Mr  Dee Tattersall

Presentation of the Bob Tattersall Challenge to Austin Prock by Mr Dee Tattersall

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Monday Memories – Graham Standring win 100 at Western Springs

Monday Memories –Graham Standring New Zealand Speedcar Champion

Saturday night December 6th 2010 and the 55year old evergreen Kiwi Champion Graham Standring takes his 100th win at Western Springs Speedway in the no 3 Wendy’s Spike/Esslingen.

Standring being interviewed after his 100th win at Western Springs

Standring being interviewed after his 100th win at Western Springs

Watch as Graham Standring completes his 100th win at Western Springs

Standring an inductee into the New Zealand Speedway Hall of fame has been a prolific winner across Speedway in New Zealand with three New Zealand Championships in the mighty Midgets. Standring raced in both Australia and the US with success.

Eleven years after Barry Butterworth won his first USAC race Standring took the win at Kokomo Speedway, August 8, 1990

Standring was super aggressive on the track, off track smart and very professional in the presentation of his race team. During the course of his career he received support from many Corporations, notably valvoline, Century Batteries and XEROX.

Graham Standring sharing his success

Graham Standring sharing his success

No stranger to controversy during his career the Kiwi was well tagged as Mr. 100% .During a trip to Australia for the 1995/6 Australian Championship Standring blitzed the field at the now defunct Newcastle Motor Dome only to suffer car failure a few laps from the finish and hand the Australian Title win to Sydney’s Craig Brady.

A racing career that spanned 30 years has seen Standring recognized as one of New Zealand’s best.

Standring pedal down

Standring pedal down

Following his retirement Standring joined Western Springs Speedway as an infield announcer bringing a drivers view of the racing to the crowd. Although retired from active racing Standring still runs shake down tests for owners, in particularly the Lendich owned Wendy’s USA3 in preparation for Jerry Coons Jr visits New Zealand for the International meets.

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Monday Speedway memories

Monday Memories

Date line Sydney Showground Speedway January 23rd 1965

Saturday night January 23rd 1965 was just like every other Saturday night as the boys prepared to head out to the Sydney Showground Speedway. All done up in our cool gear, jeans, white T Shirts and Dunlop’s on the feet. Fuelled up the Morris 840 and after watching Johnnie O’Keefe 6 O ‘Clock Rock on the television we were pumped for an exciting night.

Dirt in the eyes, the smell of methanol in the air. Meat pie and coke what could be more perfect. For those who can remember here is the front page of the program. Cover price was just 1/- (10cents in today’s money

Front cover program date Jan 23 1965

Front cover program date Jan 23 1965

Back in those days we were lucky to have a program of Solo bikes, Sidecars Speedcars and Stockcars.

Featuring on that Saturday night were international Solo riders ,Greg Kentwell remember his red leathers ,Brian Collins ,Billy Bryden .Sidecars were headed by Bill Bingham, Doug Robson ,Doug Tyerman and Ted Preston .

Speedcars, the mighty Midgets  were running a 20 lap Feature with Johnny “Super ” Stewart in his McGee-Shell Special. Pitted against Stewart were Peter Cuneen in the Yellow M&D Holden , len “Lead foot “Brock in a Mackay Offy, Lew Marshall in the Wells –Esso and Bryan Cuneen in the Yellow Linklater 55 Holden.

The back makers on that night off 70 yars behind were Johnny Stewart and Jeff Freeman in the RC Phillips Offy.

The battles between Johnnie Stewart and Jeff Freeman were not to be missed .

The track records from that time ,

Track records Sydney Showground Speedway Jan , 23 1965

Track records Sydney Showground Speedway Jan , 23 1965

Speedway Jottings from that night: A short introduction to race fans on US Champion Bob “Two Guns ” Tattersall , Tatts as he was  known was the most spectacular US racer to visit our shores and was the master of the the difficult Sydney Showground track ..Aggressive , colourful best describes the racer from Streator Illinois .

The Sydney Showground Speedway was closed on April 27th 1996 it is now an Entertainment complex owned by Fox Studios.

Speedway Jottings Jan 3 1965

Speedway Jottings Jan 3 1965

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Hot Rods in Speedway

In the early 1950s sedan cars on Speedway  started to leave their footprint when we saw the introduction of Stock Car Racing . Sedans straight off the street or better direct from the wreckers yard. Cars were fitted with roll cages bars and all sorts of protective armour. and they needed all the protection they could weld on to the chassis. The main purpose was to roll, smash and put the opposition out of the race . Massive rollovers , huge crashes and wild spins made for out of this world crazy excitement .Changes had to be made if only for the safety of drivers and eventually we have the friendly fender benders of today.

Stock Car

Stock car crash

Stock car racing saw the birth of legionary racing families .The Tatnall Family and the Braziers with Brooke and Garry among the best Sprint Car drivers in Australia today.

Stock Cars became Stock Rods and many years ago,too many to remember my brother and I entered our 1934 Ford Coupe for races at Westmead . Bright red number 31 with sponsorship from the Forest BP  Service Station  Arncliffe. The sponsorship was fuel, big deal to us and of course we had a Champion Spark Plug sticker on the car , yes we received our Spark Plugs., sort of cash for comment !

A very smart car with a locked diff and big winter tread tyres.and a good old Ford flat head V860 with Edelbrock heads., we were on the money. .

Old Day Photo's 008_crp

Racing at Westmead with the red 31 Ford in front, as it should be.

Things change quickly in motor sports and the favorite cars of the time were Fords and the old Hudson Terraplanes with their straight 8 .All the drivers young and old had the one goal, more speed and better handling . I remember Freddie Otten , hard charger in his Terraplane and it was a handful .


Fred in his quest for speed started to rebuild the old no 12 Terraplane in his fathers work shop in Hurstville. . Mr Otton was the Fiat dealer in Hurstville and with help from his hard working underpaid team,who got paid in those days anyway, created the Fiat Special and then dominated the shows at Westmead.. With the big straight 8 , light weight body it went like a rocket and to ever one’s  surprise it went the way Fred pointed it, huge relief. .

Otten Rod

A fantastic car even by today standards , classy .As the class become faster the desires of the racers for more speed continued . Strong influences from the US had a dramatic change and the era of the super modified started to emerge . Local rivers developed their own chassis and the choice of power moved from the flat heads and straight eight to the bigger , lighter and more powerful overhead cam Ford and Chev V8s..Visiting Americans like Marshall Sargent , Larry Burton and Garry Patterson brought monsters to race our boys.

Marshall Sargent Super mid

From this point on the Super Modified car was being built across Australia with names like McCubbin , Britton and Warner . They raced at Tracey Speedway in Victoria,  Rowley Park in Adelaide and both the Sydney and Brisbane showground Speedways.70 sprinters

The early era of Sprint Cars had begun with Garry Rush taking the drive in the first sprinter to arrive in Australia the Johnnie Andersen car. The Master Blaster as he became known was an immediate success and the foundation for his fabulous career had been set..

70sRush Andersen sprinter

The Sprint car today :46288

While I remember with great fondness those early cars the thrill one gets from a Sprint Car event will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. The sight of 20 odd cars thundering down the straight into that first corner, drivers doing their best to tame these howling cars that are likely to step out or hit a rut at any time . You have gotta get to a Speedway now!

Old Day photos are courtesy of   David Batten’s Old Time Speedway web site .

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The Old Days

My Speedway 001

You  just had to be there, the growling deep throaty sound of the Offenhauser’s. The dirt flying up over the fence and getting into your eyes and hair , and they are only on the introduction laps .

We  would drive to the Speedway at the Royal , Sydney Showground every Saturday night ,full of youthful enthusiasm ready for another night of Speed Car action hoping our favorite driver would blow away the field . The action would never stop and when ever the Yanks were in town the locals headed by Johnnie Stewart , Jeff Freeman found the loudest pedal to challenge and head the Yanks to the finishing line . .

There were many stars and every fan had their special driver , just like today.  Many great American and New Zealand drivers toured Australia from the late 1930 and they continue to come down under.

While many of the touring Americans were at the height of their USAC careers there was no one that could match the performance on the Sydney Showground of Bob “Two Gun  ” Tattersall. This was one mighty driver able to put his car in spaces that no other driver could or would even attempt . Inside or passes around the outside hard up on the fence .

Tatt’s was an expert race mechanic who knew how to tune his car and every one had a thumping sound ., he was the man to beat.

The picture above was painted by the late Alan Puckett to celebrate the end of an era .  Alan  passed away on the 9th October, 2009, after a short illness. He was 86 years old and painting right up to the final weeks. The photo is courtesy of Giles Puckett .

Alan Puckett Motoring Art worth a look a very talented man with a brush ,

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