Speed really did kill at Maroubra

Riley Riley

Back in the day Sydney was home to many racetracks.

One of them was Maroubra Speedway, officially known as the Olympia Motor Speedway which opened in 1925.

Dubbed the “killer” track because of the lives that were lost there, the Speedway was eventually demolished in 1947 after it fell into disrepair.

The site was used to build 1100 housing commission homes.

All but forgotten in the march of time, Maroubra Speedway and its faces are remembered in a book by Bill Boldiston to be launched this Saturday at Coral Sea Park, Maroubra — once the site of the track infield.

Among those who competed at the first race meeting back in 1925 were two women: Marie Jenkins, of Melbourne, in a Brecia Bugatti, and Mrs. J.A.S. Jones, of Lithgow, in a Crossley Sports.

At the speedway’s third meeting, on Saturday, January 2, 1926, Jenkins was the first woman to win a final race — rather than just a heat.

The one mile banked concrete bowl was the scene of some large and successful race meetings before a decline in attendances saw the track close in 1927.

It reopened many times in the 1930s.

Despite the banked turn being too steep to walk up, it was still not steep enough for the speeds achieved, and four competitors lost their lives going over the top.

Three others also died at the circuit, two of them motorcyclists.

The deaths led the media of the day to dub it a “killer track” which did little to improve the fortunes of the venue.

On display this Saturday at the launch which gets underway at 10.30am will be race cars and bikes that actually competed at the Maroubra track.

The launch will be an opportunity for enthusiasts to catch up on all the history of this significant motor race circuit and to hear about the Maroubra Speedway Musical.

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