HISTORY (Go to Video Section)
Snow Morris in one of the famous cars of the 1930s through to the 1950s
Other successfull drivers to race this car were Swede Lindskog USA,
Jack Fitzgerald Aust, Roly Crowther, Ross Goonan, Des Herrick, Fay
Taylour England, and Ron Butler. This car won three straight NZ Campionships 1945, 1946,1947 and is now owned and restored by
lance elliott.and Alan Scott..
Barry Butterworth winning the 40 lap USAC feature race at Haubstad speedway USA 24th august 1979
A J Foyt and Mel Kenyon at Western Springs 1974 -75 season
Barry Butterworth in his first midget, the Ron Hogan built Ford V860
won the feature race on his first night out at Western Springs 1961-62
Aucklands first Modified, The Graham Gould Corvette driven by Gary Running. Photo tacken during a demonstration run at Western Springs 1969.
Johnny Missen built the first New Zealand TQ in 1950-51.
Pioneer TQ midgets. Johnny Missen & Vern Davenport 1955 season.
Frank Brewer"s two midgets of the 1940s, An exact replica of the car in the forground is now in the process of being built by master buider John Stanley.
Roly Crowther on the night of his induction into the Western Springs Speedway Hall of fame enjoys being behind the wheel of his old #3 midget restored to how he drove it in the 1946-47 season. The car is now owned by Lance Elliott. Roly won many titles in this car
Roly Crowther in the ex Swede Lindskog Rugby Continental midget shown here as the Tip Top Special 1946-47
Now here is a photo that will be hard to equal. A nostalgic moment when the three good guys got together. In fact they never really were apart. They are life long friends but that’s not all, Roly Crowther 85yrs in the centre is pictured with the first midget he owned almost 65 years ago and his loyal crew. To his right Colin Waite 79yrs and left Norm Sutton 93yrs. The third member of the crew is John Riley not pictured resides at Maraetai. They still attend speedway regularly.
A fantastic photo sent to us by Garry Baker Melbourne of American, Australian and New Zealand midget racers in Auckland during the 1938 season at Western Springs. Thanks Garry
Ted Sutherland at Western Springs 1948 in the Ford V8 powered #44 This midget was later lengthend and became the Gee Cee Ess Special.(see story on Blogger's Corner.
The Stanley Morris duels of the late 60s were excitng to watch, with both drivers comming from the back of the field & dueling their way to the front , John in the Revell Holden & Trevor in the Fussel & Cartright Offenhauser.
First American to race at Western Springs after the war was Lowell Sachs from San Diego during the 1962-64 season. standing in the background left to right are Lloyd Nutt, Barry Handlin, & Norm Sutton
Ken Sager in his Studebaker powered midget.
John Stanley at Western Springs 1968-69. This is the ex Ray Revell offenhauser powered by a very fast Holden and was the last rail frame midget to win a feature race at western springs, winning four straight during the 1970 season.
What can one say? How beautiful is this car??
Offy Engine room
Photo’s and paintings of the beautifully restored #54 Midget Hollywood Spring and Axel Kurtis Kraft Offy raced in New Zealand by the great Bob (Two Gun) Tattersall during the1964-1965 season. This car has a history dating back to when Frank (Satan) Brewer raced it in the USA then the car was #60. Tattersall drove this car to huge success in New Zealand and Australia then sold the car in Australia where it remained until John Stanley brought it back to New Zealand and restored it to the pristine standard of superb workmanship he applies to all of the cars he restores.
The paintings by Gordon McIsaac show Tattersall in the #54 car racing against Australian Jeff freeman. The black car was Freeman owned while the Blue and yellow #10 car, Also a Kurtis Kraft was originally brought to New Zealand by Lowell (Leadfoot) Sachs, the car then #1 powered by a V8-60 was painted pearl white with blue and red trim and an American flag on the tail. After Sachs returned to the USA, Merv Neil bought it and Tattersall helped re-power it with his spare Offy. The painting records the incident when Freeman driving the #10 car drove over Tattersall at the apex of Pine Tree Bend in a match race crushing the hood of the #54 car and leaving tyre marks across Tattersall’s shoulder. Amazingly both drivers finished the race with Tattersall in the #54 car the winner. Contrary to the grudge conception that was promoted between the two racing stars, they were actually great mates and after the race, they could be seen in the pits both beating the hell out of the crushed bonnet so the #54 car could make the next race. The #10 car was purchased by Fussell and Cartwright and re-numbered 7 and continued on to be the car to beat for more than a decade with drivers Barry Butterworth, Ian Holden, Trevor Morris.
John Stanley also, beautifully restored this car to the Fussell and Cartwright era and it is now owned by the Drinkrow family. Promoter Harley Arthur was the inspiration behind bringing theses great drivers and cars to Western Springs.
USA Driver Bob (Two Gun) Tattersall inside of Australian Jeff Freeman
Freeman drives over Tattersall in match race (both cars finished)
Frank "Satan" Brewer and Rolly Crowther at Western Springs 1947.
Midget star of the 1940s Dave Lichtenstein, drove the V860 powered Kinghorn special. This photo was taken in1947 when the car was powered by a Rugby engine
Early pioneer midget driver Hughie McKenzie at Western Springs 1945. On the left is a young Bob Leikus who later drove midgets and became one of New Zealands top racing mechanics.
Des Herrick runner up in the 1946-47 N Z midget championship. note the large crowd in the background.
Midget racing at Western Springs 1947-48 season. Bill Cosgrave leading Beau Thornton, Dave Lichtenstien, and Snow Morris.
Ross Reid in the Ford model A powered #9. Grandfather of Jonny Reid, Ross was top point scorer at Western Springs in 1948 and 1949 .
Bill Massey in the 49 Rugby powered midget. This car is now owned by Allan Wolfe.
Frank and Ivan Brewer at Western Springs 1940-41 season.
Snow Morris 1948 NZ midget champion with Western Springs promoter George Smith.
The good old days of racing. Earnie Maber leads, Beau Thornton, Dave Lichtenstein, and Fred Davies follow. Note: The crowd.
Photo of Ian Holden in his second midget 1947-48
The very first night at Western Springs Speedway November the 30th 1929.
One of the first midgets built in New Zealand,"Popeye" was powered by a Harley Davidson engine.
This car was built about 1935 and never actually raced.
Driving in this shot is Alf Mattson the first New Zealand Solo champion and motorcycle road racing legend.
Duane Carter, the first man to win a midget race at Western Springs on Christmas day 1937.He was one of the best drivers in America when he came to New Zealand. He later competed in the Indy 500 and become a legend in American motor racing.
This car remains in the loving care of Gordon McIsaac in the red number 9 guise of Ross Reid who later owned and drove it. This car has a rich history and takes pride of place in Gordon’s private museum.
With sleek curves like a classic pinup girl, this is one of the most glamorous cars one will ever see.
Gerry Mathieson the first New Zealander to ever win a midget race,on Christmas day 1937.
A former big car racer,he owned the only "miller" to ever come to New Zealand.Gerry was a pioneer beach racer(mainly at Muriwai)and was dominant at this countrys first race track, Hennings Speedway in Mangere which was a 1 1/4 mile oval dirt circuit carved into the base of Pukakai Lagoon.
The men who made history.
Pioneer midget drivers who staged the world's first ever international midget races, at Western Springs on December 25th 1937.
Western Springs is the only Speedway in the world to have such an event and this is the only sport in which New Zealand competes against the U.S.A every year.
World war two forced a break of some years for all competition and Australia has missed some years due to conflicts with their local competitions.
From left two right are: Swede Lindskog(U.S.A),Duane Carter(U.S.A),Vince Podurgiel(U.S.A),Beal Simmons(U.S.A),Gerry Mathieson(N.Z),Roscoe Turner(U.S.A),George Beavis(Aust),Paul Swedburg(U.S.A)and Arch Tuckett(Aust).
This photo is taken at the now extinct Monica Park Speedway in Christchurch, where the troupe also raced.
Archie Tucket, one of Australia's pioneer midget car drivers who raced in the world's first International meeting on Christmas Day 1937.
This is the first car to win a race at Western Springs and was then driven by Duane Carter numbered 99..
It was purchased by Archie, painted black renumbered nine and raced successfully in Australia before returning to New Zealand.
This shot is taken in Australia during the 1939 season.
Kids have always been "speedway mad” This picture taken in 1948 shows an keen group of aspiring drivers about to tackle Parawai Cres in Ponsonby. On the pole line is Gordon McIsaac who also took on the Bullock Track in this trolley and lived to become a very successful kart racer.
He also didn’t grow a lot taller!
Stan Cotter in “the wasp”.
Stan wasn’t the greatest driver but he had one of the all time best paint jobs. The car was only painted in this guise for half a season, but it will never be forgotten for its stunning appearance.
This car still exists and as it changes hands many members of the Vintage Speedway Club try to convince the new owner to restore it to its former glory.
At present it is a rather ordinary red number twelve. Come on somebody “eat a bowl of adventure” for breakfast and put on the stripes.
Two legends.Frank"Satan"Brewer down low with Roly Crowther opting for the outside line (1954-55).
Frank was New Zealand’s first professional motor racing driver long before Mclaren,Hulme and Amon.He remains New Zealand speedway's most successful ever driver and was the first man to win the New Zealand Midget Car Championship.
Roly won the New Zealand title 3 times and is one of our all time greats. He was driving speedway before he was allowed a road license and in the early years caught the tram to meetings!
Irish lass Fay Taylour poses with Des Herrick. Fay toured the globe racing speedway motorcycles, sports cars and midgets. She began racing midgets after women were banned from racing motorcycles, just before the Second World War.
Touring New Zealand racing both motorcycles and midgets she attracted large crowds and earned the respect and admiration of many fans and fellow competitors. Many of whom she beat!
Early t.q action. Ray Armstrong leads out Doug Culhane and Barry Butterworth in number 18, the second car built and raced by Johnny Missen.
"Muzza" also built New Zealand’s first t.q, became a national champion and an acclaimed speedway artist.
Trevor Carnell winner of the first 50 lap race in 1968.He would round off a fine career by winning the Auckland Championships in 1952 and 1955 then place second in the New Zealand Champs in 1970 and 1972.
Trevor was one of only a few to ever claim the scalp of the legendary “Satan” Brewer and earned a great deal of respect from “the great one” in doing so.
This car was re- purchased by Trevor some years ago and both are regular’s at the Vintage Speedway Club track, where the combination of Mr. Carnell’s longer right leg and the ford model A’s throaty cough are pleasurable to the senses.
These cars are weighty by today’s standards and all came equipped with “Armstrong steering” it is no surprise that at first glance, Trevor’s forearms appear to be two Christmas hams wired into elbow joints!
Drivers and cars are not built the same these days.
Bryce Subritzky, star of New Zealand speedway who also had success on the highly competitive English circuit.
Bryce has been posthumously honored,
having the Rosebank Road Speedway track renamed after him.
Ross Goonan: superstar driver. He along with Ian Holden dominated midget car racing in New Zealand during the fifties and early sixties, wining 6 tittles a piece over a seventeen year period.
Bob Tattersall.One of the greatest midget drivers of all time. He etched his memory in the minds of an entire generation in the sixties and still inspires generations today.
His driving style changed the sport of midget racing both here and in Australia.
A true superstar who still fills conversations at racetracks around the globe.
Barry Butterworth. The man many regard as our best ever. He drove a huge variety of cars over four different eras and could beat the best the world had to offer.
One of the most loved and respected drivers in New Zealand Motor sport.
A true racer who loved his sport and loved to win.
Many, myself included fell so very privileged to have watched him race
Trevor Morris. A four time National Champion who was tragically killed in a road accident, at the peak of his career.
Roger Bertram has competed in Sprintcars,Midgets and Modifieds.
He is a multiple national chamion in both sprintcars and modifieds.
Many of us middle age spreaders vividly remember this car.
"Cyclone"Ted Tracey hunts down Owen Shaw.Owen become a champion in midgets and sprintcars while Ted became one of our greatest ever midget drivers, enthawling crowds and terrorising drivers everywhere.
Ted won 7 national titles and many other major races.
He is living legend and very well respected by drivers and fans alike. He probably spends his time these days building mantle peices to put his trophy's on.
Ivan Mauger,Ole Olsen and Barry Briggs pose with the spoils of victory and a sassy Air New Zealand Hostess.Solo racing was at it's peak in the 1970's and Western Springs Speedway attracted the biggest names in the sport.
Barry is wishing this bike had two seats!
Sidecar racing always drew crowds.The 70's and 80's were the most competitive period for the class, with close high speed racing and handicaping often providing nail biting finishes.
Johnn Jones(JJ)and Bob Blomfield lead out the pack including the Lew Findlay,Don Munday Combination(11).These pairings were dominant during the late seventies early eighties and often started from a 150 yard handicap.
Number one was the first sidecar at Western Springs to run a Japanese engine,a kawasaki 900.Built and raced by Nevile Lowe in 1973-74 then passed on to John Jones who went on to set many lap records,win 69 races from 261 starts and become the first man to win 3 Auckland Championships in a row.
Vic Neal altering the fence line in spectacular fashion.
After the crash this car led a diverse life, firstly as a jigsaw puzzle and later as coke cans!
Prime Minister David Lange trying a bike for size.
Mr Lange and his government were always supportive of the activities and sporting events which the greater community enjoy.
In 1974 two of the greatest drivers in the history of motor sport came together at Western Springs Speedway.
Mel Kenyon (61) and A.J Foyt (1).
Mel Kenyon is widely regarded as the greatest midget driver of all time. He has won 7 USAC championships been runner-up 8 times and won a total 111 USAC features.
He ran in the Indy 500 from 1966-1973 with a best finish of third in 1968.
A.J Foyt is regarded as the greatest American race car driver of all time
He was the first 4 time winner of the Indy 500 and is the only driver to win this title, the Daytona 500 and the 24 Hours of LeMans.
He has also won races in NASCAR, USAC stock cars, midgets, sprints, and IMSA sports cars.
His driving career embraces 12 national titles and 172 major races.
Stan Fox & Sleepy Tripp
Stan Fox(9) collected 19 USAC feature wins including the Turkey Night Grand Prix in 1990 & 91.He also won the Copper Classic twice, the Rex Easton Memorial three times, the Rodger Mauro Classic twice and the 4-Crown National at Eldora once.
Stan was the Badger Midget Champion in 1979 and won the Belleville Nationals in 1979 and 1980.
The Indianapolis 500 of 1995 will always be remembered his horrific crash, one of the worst in history and the fact he survived was a miracle.
Ironically he was to die in a simple road accident on the desert road 200 miles south of Auckland.
Stan had spent many years traveling to New Zealand making many friends, and racing like a champion.
A born and breed American, he is still remembered and loved and as one of our own
Ron”Sleepy” Tripp(3) obtained his nickname as a young racer in quarter midgets as he would often fall asleep while waiting for the start of a race.
He won the USAC National Midget Championship in 1975 -76 and was Western States Champion in 1983, 1985, 1987,1988,1990,1991 and 1992
59 National Feature wins places Sleepy 10th on the USAC all time feature win list.
“Sleepy” was always drew the crowds with his flamboyant driving style.
Chris Woodward aka “Joe Lunchbox”.
Mr. Lunchbox was a successful sidecar passenger forming one of the top teams in the seventies with rider Ray Pratt before taking up racing three quarter midgets.
This car won the National championship with its cargo of lunch at Khikihi in the 1981-82 season and was powered by a cut down two cylinder 675cc VW engine.
Jeff Gordon visited us for the 1987-88 season his sprint car in such an authoritive fashion, that the great Barry Butterworth remarked “we’ve been shown how to drive by a schoolboy”. Jeff was only 17 and we were privileged to have seen the beginning of a great career.
He was USAC Midget Car Rookie of the year in 1989, won the title the next year and in 1991 moved to USAC silver crown ,cars becoming the youngest winner of the title at age 20.
In 1992 Jeff captured 11 pole positions and won his first NASCAR race, the Hooters 500.
Yet another rookie of the year award was earned in 1993 and two years later he won the first of 4 NASCAR Winston Cup Championships, joining an exclusive club with greats Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
The only driver with four Brickyard 400 victories, Jeff Gordon is regarded as one of NASCAR’s best because he has achieved so much and has only just turned 35.
The future leaves plenty of time for Jeff to move up from his current position of 7th, on the NASCAR all time greats list.
A very small look at McIsaac's Speedway Museum.
Gordon is contactable on (09)3762880 and admission is FREE!
Go and see it, you won’t believe it.
If you have or know of any memorabilia that needs a loving home for future generations to enjoy, please contact Gordon on the aforementioned number or Jason on 0212667246.
Involved in a project requiring information, photo’s or film footage? We may be able to help you.
This photo “borrowed” from http://bobandrewsspeedway.tripod.com/ a great site on early speedway motorcycle racing.
The winners of the midget international highest points named on the Herman Tros Memorial Shield are:
Three car shoot-out 1962-1977
Ross Goonan NZ, Ian Holden NZ, Barry Butterworth NZ, Bob Tattersal USA, Bob Tattersal USA,
Blair Shepherd AUS, Blair Shepherd Aus, Merle Bettenhausen USA, Dave Strickland USA, Dave Strickland USA, George tattnel AUS, Mel Kenyon USA, Mel Kenyon USA, Barry Butterworth NZ.
Teams Racing while Herman Tros was alive. 1978-1995
Mel Kenyon USA, Keith Watson NZ, Barry Butterworth NZ, Barry Butterworth NZ, Ted Tracy NZ, Sleepy Tripp USA, Sleepy Tripp USA, Sleepy Tripp USA, Stan Fox USA, Brett Horrobin NZ, Brett Horrobin NZ, Brett Horrobin NZ, Sleepy Tripp USA, Sleepy Tripp NZ, Graham Standring NZ.
Trophy Shield Presented to Drivers after the passing of Herman. 1996-2007
Sleepy Tripp USA, Jimmy Sills USA, Jimmy Sills USA, Michael Kendall NZ, Justin Insley NZ, Michael Kendall NZ, (Lance Beale NZ, Michael Kendall NZ equal) , Bryce Townsend NZ, (Dave Darland USA shoot-out), Michael Pickens NZ, Scott Hatton USA, Shaun Insley NZ, Michael Pickens NZ.