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Monday, 08 August 2016 00:00

Lost tracks of NSW: Oran Park Raceway


In today's Oran Park Town, you can live in a street named after Peter Brock, Dick Johnson or Allan Moffat, or throw a frisbee in Wayne Gardner Reserve. This town, with its eye firmly on its motorsport past, is one of wider Sydney's fastest developing areas and expected to house more than 21,000 residents by 2036.

Well, Oran Park Raceway, the real Oran Park, used to pull that kind of crowd on a half-average day! When Brocky had his big retirement send-off there in 1997, a reported 40,000-plus punters turned up.

V8X Supercar Magazine issue #93 pays tribute to lost iconic circuits, now treasured memories in the suburban sprawl of New South Wales.

Issue #93 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.

CLICK HERE for more information on V8X Supercar Magazine issue #93.

Oran Park hosted its first meeting in February 1962 on its compact original 1.6km layout. In 1973 the challenging little circuit with its mix of sweeping turns and rollercoaster up and downs was extended to 2.6km, with the addition of a new section that incorporated the first loop and bridge in Australian motorsport.

Nearly every category imaginable raced at Oran Park, from Formula 5000, karts, motorcross to drag racing and motorcycling, even trucks. It was the venue of the 1974 and 1977 non-championship Australian Grands Prix.

It was a fundamental piece of the Australian touring-car calendar for decades, almost as ubiquitous and essential as a Bathurst or Sandown.

The track played host to an Australian Touring Car Championship round every year between 1971 and 2008, a long line of endurance-race events and every series finale between 1985 and 1998.

"The first interstate event I ever went to was Oran Park back in 1970... it was on 
my honeymoon, to be quite honest!" remembers Dick Johnson.

"It was a damn good racetrack. It had a number of opportunities for passing, it was great for spectators... it was just a very enjoyable place.

"There were some really, really good races staged there over many years and with the extra length in it... well, it was a real challenge."

CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of V8X Supercar Magazine issue #93 to read the full feature.