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Video: 50 years of Lakeside Raceway 1961 – 2011

Submitted by on June 4, 2011

Lakeside Park, formerly known as Lakeside International Raceway is the spiritual home of Queensland motorsport.

The circuits was built by volunteers and borrowed machinery and opened in 1961. The 2.41 km (1.50 mi) circuit was closed in mid 2001 and re-opened on 5 April 2008, with a race meeting held the following day.

The circuit was the venue for a wide range of racing series including the Australian Grand Prix on two occasions, the Australian Touring Car Championship, the Australian Superbike Championship and the Tasman Series, playing host to such names as Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Jack Brabham, Graham Hill and Chris Amon.

The fast and challenging nature of the circuit was an education for a generation of Queensland racing drivers and riders, from Will Power, Dick Johnson, Tony Longhurst and five time world motorcycle champion Mick Doohan. “If you can learn to race a motorbike at Lakeside, you can compete at any race track in the world.” said the 5-time 500cc Motorcycle Grand Prix World Champion.

Touring cars were a mainstay of the circuit’s popularity, with the venue hosting the single race Australian Touring Car Championship titles in both 1964 and 1967. Following the change to a series format, Lakeside staged rounds of the ATCC in most years from 1970 to 1998. For much of the circuit’s life these meetings were the largest of the year and played host to some brilliant racing, the highlight of which was the 1981 title showdown between local hero Dick Johnson and reigning champion Peter Brock featured in this video. Despite a wounded car Johnson won the race and the title in front of his home crowd and secured for himself a future in the sport after almost 20 years of battling at times just to compete. Touring cars left Lakeside after the 1998 season, increasing the circuits decline as a venue.

Although national championship racing was still being held at the circuit in July 2001 declining revenues, mounting debts, court proceedings, an increasingly hostile local council and competition for event with the nearby Queensland Raceway led to the circuits closure in 2001.

The circuit re-opened during 2008 strictly as a local racing venue, and the new operators, the owners of Queensland Raceway, have no ambitions to hold national level meetings, preferring to use the better quality facilities at their sister-circuit for higher level meetings. Lakeside is presently holding club meetings again.

Video Via: BowdensOwn.com.au

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