Past and present racers gather for a drive down memory lane

IT SAYS a lot about a club that it's been around for 55 years.

Why? Because as anyone who knows anything about building something that lasts will tell you, it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of great people.

More than 150 members and friends of the Maryborough Sporting Car Club will gather Saturday and celebrate the 55 year milestone.

It's the joint oldest sporting car club in Queensland, and there's little doubt, the memories those in attendance share will not be about the speedway or the club at all - they will be about the people.

They will be about people like Ron and Maureen Prove, Bill Stiler and Margaret Moller - people who helped build the place. People who were there from day-dot and helped cut the cake when the car club turned one.

They are the club's four most senior life members, and when they gathered on the Maryborough Speedway track earlier this week, something remarkable happened - the young people who were there listened.

They listened to Ron tell them about how the place was transformed from a cow paddock into a racetrack.

"There was 720 post holes and more than 9000 bolt holes drilled through six inch boards and the post. There was a post every two feet," he told them of the safety fence. "It took three years."

They listened when an old FJ Holden was started and shifted so it could be used in a promotional photo for the 55-year anniversary.

"I used to race one of those. Mine was yellow and black and called the rising sun," Ron told them. "I tore my right arm off on Mother Mountain in Gympie with it the first year racing it."

The scars reveal Ron wasn't lying, and the crash-talk quickly had eyes wide and ears pricked.

The group of about 10 people - young and old - spent the next few minutes boasting about how high they have got up the wall or how mangled their vehicles have been.

Then Stiler spoke: "There was the bad accident. A wheel came off an FJ Holden - with the axle - and it hit a Brisbane guy's car and flew over the fence into the crowd. It killed two spectators."

Records show the accident happened on September 26, 1971. But those that were there haven't forgotten.

Darren Tye, one of the club's younger members, had a fully restored midnight blue Gnat racer on the track to be used in a promotional photo for tonight's event.

It's of the type that was raced in the late 50s and it belonged to a former member - you could tell because it had the tribute: "In memory of Ron Joseph", hand-painted on its side.

It's the first time the car has had dirt under its wheels and because of the morning showers, the granite and clay surface coated the tyres as they rolled.

A few jokes fly around about how Tye will leave the dirt on the wheels, take his little piece of the track home, put it somewhere safe. He laughed, only half joking.

Life members of the Maryborough Sporting Car Club, Ron Prove, Bill Stiler, Maureen Prove and Margaret Moller.
Life members of the Maryborough Sporting Car Club, Ron Prove, Bill Stiler, Maureen Prove and Margaret Moller. Robyne Cuerel


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