BUNBURY SPEEDWAY (WA)
1950 BUNBURY CAR CLUB
The Bunbury Car Club was a club that was formed in the 1950 by a small group of enthausist that worked hard for a living, owned family cars and wanted to experience a bit of motorsport, Long before the club was an incorperated body the families were spending week ends at hillclimbs in the Maidens or Car trials around the South West.
But as is in many other clubs there are a few members that aim for a lot more than just a fun weekend, Some members of the Bunbury Club worked towards the rally section of motorsport, that was the Around Australia reliabiliy trial in the 1950's, the Bunbury Club volunteers manned check points in the North West while Mr Walton and Gardiner from the local Holden dealership entered the race in a new 48 series Holden.
As time passed the Club expanded into different forms of racing, Mud and sand scrambles at Paddy's Blunders and at a few Eaton Tracks, then on to Blicks Raceway, the clubs first attempt at a hard track speedway.
When Blicks closed and the Bunbury Car Club moved to there new home, a swamp on the North Boyanup Road, it was thought by most members that another daylight club day speedway was going to be build, well thats how it started, sometime into the project a man by the name of Tom Dillon had convinced most that Bunbury had the potential to open a full on night time speedway just like Claremont.
After a seemed like a very short period of time the Speedway was built and opened in November of 1972, the first year of operation to the public seemed fantastic, meeting after meeting the big names appeared, some from Claremont and some from the other side of the world, World class riders and drivers all at Bunbury, the place was packed every night,
So what happened was it a case of Tom Dillon should have been happy with another daylight hot rod track as some have said, Or was he too many years ahead of his time as others have said, Or was it unfair to judge the first years management based on the first year, lets face it the first years trading had to pay to build the venue and then run and bring to us the best speedway competitors in the world.
At the end of that first season the Bunbury Car Club replaced Tom Dillon as manager while he was in Adelaide promoting Rowley Park Speedway.
As history showed the speedway nearly folded and Allan Blake took over the management of the speedway, within a few meetings the speedway was back on track and making money.
The story of this finance crisis was well documented at the time through to press, we present those stories.
over time we will follow this story through the South West Times on this page.
MAYOR'S STERN WARNING TO SPEEDWAY CLUB
Bunbury Speedway has been put in jeopardy by financial trouble in the Bunbury Car Club.
The town council which owns the speedway land has called for a full and audited report of the clubs activities.
The club is reported to have paid out for the lease of the land from only one of its 11 meetings.
Mayor Mr P.J Usher has givern the club a stern warning about its handling of finances and other councilors are talking in terms of stronger action.
Works committee chairman Cr I.M Robertson told the last council meeting that the clubs finances were in shocking condition.
"From a financial point of view they should be thrown out" he said.
The club is heavily committed to its ambitous speedway project.
It has managed to pay off about $18,000 after a highly successful first season but still owes $70,000 in loans which have not been guaranteed.
It is also committed to $800 a month in repayments on a bank loan and 15 per cent of its last 10 gate receipts in lease money.
Councilors are worried about the administration of the club.
They were told that the present board of managment was fed up and in some cases unpopular with members.
Mr Usher told the Times that the council realised that the club was running into difficulties and wanted the organisation to be put on a more businesslike footing.
According to speedway manager Tom Dillon they club will employ a professional accountant next season to tighten its operation costs.
He said that the future of speedway in Bunbury was very bright in spite of the financial difficulties.
"I would say its prospects are second to no other form of entertainment" he said
Mr Dillon discounted the idea that the club was aiming to high.
[During the season British and American track stars were paid between $500 and $1000 each in appearance money to race at Bunbury]
" The town has not had proper speedway before and must be educated to the sport" he said.
"The money to pay for these appearances was raised in raffles and donations from businessmen, it came from a completely seperate account.
" We will have to keep up the same standards to meet our commitments. Experiance at other speedways has proved this" said Mr Dillon.
A number of car club members have privately accused the council of being too greedy in asking for 15 per cent of the gross gate takings.
Mr Dillon declined to comment on the accusations bur said that the club would prefer to use its 15 per cent payouts to buy the council owned land rather than lease it.
Speedway finance crisis
COUNCIL MAY HAVE TO OFFER HELP
Bunbury Town Council may be forced into committing $80,000 to save the Bunbury Speedway project.
The alternatives could be an uncertain arrangment involving private enterprise, or a complete fold up of the speedway complex.
In spite of the financial crisis, Bunbury Car Club President Mr Mick Triplett insists that racing will get under way on schedule on October 13.
The Council is expected to make a decission some time this month on the speedways future.
Last year it attracted some of Bunbury's biggest ever sporting crowds but failed to show a working profit, Bunbury Car Club is reported to owe $72,000 on its North Boyanup Road complex.
In an attempt to streamline its operations the club has appointed a finance board of three local men to control the purse strings in an honorary capacity.
The members are accountant Mr Sid Taylor, land agent Mr John Coote and retired businessman and farmer Mr Len Reading.
According to Mr Taylor there are four possibilities of raising the finance to keep the club in operation.
* A loan to be raised by the council and repaid by the club.
* A Gvernment guarantee for a bank loan to cover the existing debts.
* Private guarantee's to allow borrowing from a finance company.
* A time payment arrangement between the club and its creditors.
But not all of the creditors share Mr Taylors optimism, some of them are prepared to take over the running of the speedway as a business, concerned if the council is not prepared to put up the money.
They are worried that other sources of finance could mean to much in interest payments for the club to meet its commitments.
The land is owned by the council and therefore provides no security for the club to meet its commitments.
As far as the club is concerned, it has a case for council support. It maintains that the council has agreed to self supporting loans for other sporting organisations and should therefore give speedway the same concideration.
But there are several hurdles to be cleared before the council can provide finance for such a venture.
Firstly, it has to have government approval, something that Local Government Department officials believe will be very difficult to get, secondly, it has to have ratepayer approval, even though the club would set out to repay the loan and individuals would guarantee it, technically ratepayers money would be risked.
Property owners have the right to raise a petition and force a loan poll on the issue.
If local government finance fails, the club will try the State Government, but at present the Government is facing criticism for tying up too much money in risky guarantees.
Failing government or council backing, the club will have to convince the creditors that it can repay all the debits under its own steam.
Mr Taylor said this week that the budget had been prepared for this season's racing, the organisers would have to work inside specific financial limits.
1973 Letter to the editor
Speedway "good clean fun"
Regarding the attitude of the Bunbury Town Council on the application by the Bunbury Car Club for a self supporting loan.
I would like to know what the council has against speedway. Its a good clean sport that keeps its members occupied for some conciderable time preparing vehicles etc.
Speedway has brought thousands of people to Bunbury. They have needed accomadation and meals, this is money in the town.
Speedway has helped Bunbury in many ways.
The council supports all other sporting bodies in Bunbury, so whats wrong with speedway? No other sport brings the following that speedway does.
So the car club did things the wrong way- build first pay later. It was a big mistake which they now realise. But what about some support from everyone to help keep this truly popular sport in the town and continue to bring bussiness to Bunbury.
It would pay for itself in a couple of seasons and then keep its money in the town and for charity, as the club would operate as it did at Blicks Raceway- all profits to local charities.
So come on all you councillors, Please help the club.
"Speedway fan" (name and address supplied)
Loan rejected, but speedway goes on
A request for an $80,000 loan to rescue Bunbury's financially troubled speedway project has been rejected by the town council.
But the rejection will not stop the local racing season starting on schedule on October 13 according to Bunbury Car Club president Mick Triplett.
The council has agreed to major changes to the lease agreement in an effort to put the car club's operations on a profitable basis.
It will charge rent of $500 A year instead of 15 per cent of the weekly gate takings meaning a possible saving of $5000. The rental charges will be reviewed every year.
The club will be allowed to sub let the spectator bar area, provided Local Government Minister Stubbs agrees, the concession would give the club a valuable rake-off from speedway liquor trade.
Mr Stubbs has also been approached for permission to extend the lease of the speedway land to 15 years-a move that would allow the club to borrow private finance.
Mayor P. J Usher said that the council had done what it could within the limits of its powers to help the club.
"This may enhance the clubs prospects of raising finance from other sources" he said.
Mr Usher said that the council did not believe that an $80,000 loan would be allowed under the terms of the Local Government Act.
The club originally asked the Council for a loan when it was pressed by creditors to repay some of the $72,000 in outstanding debit.
Last year the club failed to show a profit on a $60,000 turnover.
Some of the creditors have talked of taking over the speedway project and running it as a commercial concern if the council were not prepared to make a loan.
But they would first need to get council approval to lease the land.
The clubs biggest creditor, Mr Roman Kozyrski, said last week that the group was unlikely to take any action at this stage. He was disappointed that the council had refused the loan request.
Club president Mr Triplett said that the club was looking into other avenues of raising finance to pay off its creditors as quickly as possible.
"They have done the right thing by us and at the end of this year, I think they will be more than pleased that they did sit back" he said
Mr Triplett said that concessions offered by the council would be a big help in stabilising speedway operations.
It was still planned to start the speedway season on October 13. "Weather permitting we will be opening on time" he said.
Tom Dillon Takes a crack at critics
Mr Tom Dillon, who as manager played a prominent part in the launching of Bunbury Speedway last year, yesterday accused some members of the car club of being ir-responsible and making wild allegations.
Announcing that he did not expect to be the manager next season, Mr Dillon said: I am fed up with the bickering and with the un-founded and malicious allegations directed at me by certain ill-informed and irresponsible members of the club.
"ther determining factors have been the insecurity of the job and the constant reversal of decisions by the car club committee which seemed incapable of knowing exactly what it was doing."
"owards the end of last season I was re appointed manager, The at the Annual General meeting a new committee was ellected which acting on advice of the finance committee decided to re-advertise the poition."
Mr Dillon claimed that he supervised completion of the track and facilities and promoted speedway meetings to the very best of his ability " In spite of friction within the club, limited finance and constant criticism by poorly informed members.
He said "Speedway has always had its hard core of enthusiasts but you need more than that to make it successful."
"You need to entice the public and to do that you must give the public what it wants - top class performers."
"his is what I was able to give Bunbury last season - National and International stars like the Eastern States Sidecar aces, American production car expert Gene Welch, Scottish Test rider Bert Harkins and of course, World Champion Ivan Mauger."
"But some club members, showing a lament-able lack of vision, were against this and opposed bringing these stars to Bunbury, opposition sometimes coming even on the eve of their appearance."
" had to go cap in hand to local business people whose generosity ensured giving Bunbury the very best in Speedway."
"But my point was proved, Capacity crowds flocked to see the stars and gate receipts were overwhelmingly higher than when run-of-the-mill meetings were staged"
He added " I admit that I made mistakes last season, my first experience of running speedway, But they were honest mistakes."
"I Devoted myself 100 per cent to my job, often to the exclusion of my family life and leasure time."
"Appreciation has come mainly from outside the club, not within it and I thank sincerely the countless people who vindicated my beliefs by supporting the speedway."
"Within the club I was known to some members as "Big Mouth", Perhaps it hurt them to hear the truth from someone who has principles and is determined to stick to them.
"Many of the things I predicted would happen have come about because certain people chose to ignore my warnings."
ADELAIDE SPEEDWAY POST FOR DILLON
FORMER Bunbury Speedway manager Mr Tom Dillon (36) has been appointed to one of the top posts on the Australian Speedway scene.
He has been givern the job of manager-promoter of Adelaide's Rowley Park Speedway one of the biggest money-making circuits in Australia.
It was recently bought out by a syndicate of South Australian businessmen who approached Mr Dillon little more than a week ago, The racing attracts average crowds of 15,000 a week.
It is home base for 3 current Australian champions including, World solo championship finalist John Boulger.
Mr Dillon was Bunbury Speedway manager during its first crutial season when racing attraction produced Bunbury's biggest ever sporting spectator crowds, before hand his only role in speedway was an " avid spectator."
According to Mr Dillon the Bunbury track has more potential than any other in the southern hemesphere, "I beleive that with the right promotion, It could be made into one of the most famous in the world,"he said
I would like to see it go on to bigger and better things and I would also like to thank the people who have helped me in the last season.
Mr Dillon will leave for Adelaide this week, his wife Beverly and two children will follow.