Brooksfield Dragway founders celebrate 54th anniversary

Fifty-four years ago, a bunch of blokes and sheilas full of enthusiasm built South Australia’s pioneering drag strip

Photographers: Troy Barker

DUBBED Brooksfield after the paddock’s owner, Mr Brooks, the dragway’s success was largely due to the young, hard-working car club volunteers, who were all in their teens and early 20s.

Those original founders may be a little older now, yet the sparkles in their eyes remained as they reminisced about Brooksfield Dragway’s opening on 31 October, 1965 at a celebratory reunion held at Two Wells.

“The eighth-mile track was just a thin layer of bitumen; it was destroyed on that first meeting and we had to re-lay it,” said Dennis Boundy a former Crusaders Hot Rod Club member. “To start them, we held a hockey stick at the tyre, then at the finish line were two guys with hand timers and walkie talkies. If they read slightly different times, we’d just split the difference.”

Another founder, Laurie O’Connell, piped in: “We had 70 to 100 entries per monthly meet and 5000 spectators – it was packed. The whole length of one side of the track was four-deep and they were all standing behind a single strand of wire. If anyone had come unstuck it would’ve been bad.”

Brooksfield closed in 1969, and, while the paddock has since been reclaimed as working farmland, the site has been markered with a carved rocked thanks to South Australian vintage racer enthusiast Kym White.

Kym was the architect behind the 54th anniversary gathering and has become somewhat of a co-ordinating networker of local nostalgia racers and their vintage cars. He brought along ‘Outlaw’ (SM Hot Rod 2014) to represent with fellow tribute race cars ‘Pulsator’, ‘Dirty Harry’, ‘Exterminator’ and ‘Wynn’s Munster’ – a visual delight that was not lost on this crowd.

“It’s just like it was back then, with the old FJ race cars everywhere,” said Graham Flavel, Crusaders member and the owner and builder of the original Pulsator.

This amazing group has a treasure trove of stories and photos that are vintage racing gold, and we look forward to bringing you more of them both soon in Street Machine.