The Geelong Kart Club was formed in 1960 when a large group of enthusiasts met in a small hall behind the Geelong Motorcycle premises owned by Alan Hinchcliffe in Moorabool St. Alan Hinehcliffe was the Geelong agent for the Melbourne built ‘Hornet’ Karts and was selling as many as he could get with Karting becoming popular.Many of the popular Villiers Engine being the favourite. The first president of the club was Lyall OBrien a well known motorcycle dealer today handling Montesa bikes.
The youngest person present Max Findlay was 11 years old. We’d hate to think how many meetings he has attended since. The club used to organise afternoons at several sports ovals and finally a dirt track was built at a property owned by the Wiggs family off the Bellarine Highway. This venue proved popular but not permanent and a new circuit was established at the Caravan Park down on the Coast past Point Henry.
One memory from those days was when T.V. personality Hal Todd crashed and flipped over the fence. This track was home for the Geelong club for some 7 years where the club actually concreted the complete circuit of 500 metres by hand at ‘Working Bees’, (the Good Old Days weren’t any different from today). But unfortunately the property was sold after the owner deceased and the club was without a track, again.
The next track was built on the Belmont Common beside the Barwon River and this bitumen track was home for the next 15 years, a clubhouse was built and this was a popular venue except for the floods each year. The club was very strong under the then president the late Fred Purcell. Fred was a retired business man who enjoyed the sport and especially the engine tuning.
A popular engine in those days was the McCulloehs and Eric Walsh became famous as a tuner of these.
In the early Seventies the club almost folded with a lack of senior members during which time the club had almost become a Mini Bike club. The club survived those days and gradually we gained more members such as Graeme Meade, Stan and Mark Altmann, Craig Woolley and later on Robin Dines, Jack Thomas and others some of whom form the basis of our committee today. The track at Belmont deteriorated with each flood until we decided to run on the ‘Magnet’ now Bunnings Store car park and together with odd car park. Some very successful ‘Spring Day’ festival events were run including a visit from a team from New Zealand.
In 1979 we approached the Corio Shire to see if any land was available in their district as we felt a track on the Melbourne side of Geelong was more desirable, closer for Melbourne karters. We gained the area now occupied and the Geelong club combined with the Victorian Road Race club to build the first 750 metre sprint and 1km road race circuit on the Fast Coast of Australia.
This is not the first motor racing circuit to be here on this land. Back in 1948 a grass circuit was built here known as ‘Nash Park’. Many well known motoring identities have raced here including Len Lukey, Reg Hunt, Bib Stillwell, Stan Jones (father of Alan), Tom Hawkes, Bill Ackfield and Lou Mollinea. An unfortunate incident on April 27, 1951 saw Jack Cooper accidentally killed driving his XK 120 Jaguar and this was the last meeting held at Nash Park.
This was quite an achievement for the clubs and both experienced large growth in memberships.
The 1979 Victorian Championships were run at Geelong and proved a great success. Incidentally we raced in the clockwise direction on the track and the shape of the track went through the ‘S’ bends in the pit area today. The club decided it was time to tackle a new project, the 1986 Nationals and this proved a huge success with over 400 entries. In 1988 Geelong hosted the 1988 Bicentennial Kart Prix with current McLaren Mercedes Formula I driver David Coulthard competing in the Junior International class. Geelong is almost home to the Nationals in Victoria.
It seems like only yesterday that the 1992 event was held with 530 entries. At the 1992 event the stars included Adam Clarke, N.S.W., Garth Tander,W.A., Jason Bright, Mark Webber and Darren Hossack and six years earlier Drew Price, John Faulkner and Russell Ingals, who won the Reed Light event. There is no doubt that Australia’s future racing car talent will be here again.
Major improvements to the track and facilities in the 1997 included total track widening of 8 metres and the installation of a transponder system. The decade culminated when the Geelong Kart Club hosted the largest Nationals event in Australian Karting history with over 650 entries.
|Club Name||Geelong Karting Club|
|Circuit Name||Beckley Park International Raceway|
|Club Location||Beckley Park, Geelong Road Corio adjacent to trotting track/north of Geelong|
|Track Phone||0425 707 525|
|Club Contact||Dominic Albanese|
On board video from the Geelong Karting Club Beckley Park International Raceway
Historic Geelong Kart Club video
|Club Postal Address||Geelong Karting Club Inc
PO Box 950 GEELONG VIC 3220
|Club President||Dennis Hogan|
|Phone||0419 889 622|
|Club Secretary||Dominic Albanese|
|Phone||0425 707 525|
|Club Race Secretary||Dominic Albanese|
|Mobile||0425 707 525|
|Licence Secretary||Dominic Albanese|
|Phone||0425 707 525|
|0425 707 525|
|Track Name||Beckley Park International Raceway|
|Track Location||Beckley Park, Geelong Road Corio adjacent to trotting track/north of Geelong|
|Track Length||754 by 8 metres wide|
|Open Hours||Track available|
|Camping Facilities||New and modern colourbond cover for the outgrid, to protect drivers from heat and rain while waiting for their event.
New medical facilities, with members of racesafe as our resident medical officers, providing medical facilities and expertise that other clubs would envy.
|Canteen||New and improved canteen facilities, with new equipment and larger menu.|
|Electronic Score Board||Electronic lap scoreboard to make it easier for both drivers and spectators to monitor what lap the drivers are on.|
Geelong Karting Club details last updated 01/12/2015