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Idle Torque: Fast and furious in Goomalling
Idle Torque. Jack Nelson, fifth from the right, with the Nicholson family who he stayed with during the weekend of the 1949 Goomalling Centenary Speed Classic. Supplied picture

Le Mans, Monaco, Goodwood and Goomalling. The odd one out is obvious but in the middle of last century Goomalling, too, had its share of hard-fought motor racing action.

Now, 57 years after the last official race was run on its dusty streets, a locally produced book has been launched which documents those races.

The book, called Goomalling's Classic Racers, is the latest publication on West Australian motorsport to be written and researched by local motoring historian Graeme Cocks.

The original racing at Goomalling only took place over a relatively short number of years - between 1949 and 1955.

However, it was fast, furious and fantastic.

Goomalling was a prominent motorsport venue in the postwar years, taking over from Dowerin as one of the Wheatbelt's motorsport hubs.

Pure motor racing thrills were high on the agenda, but another key reason for the racing events at Goomalling was fundraising to pay for a new swimming pool in the town.

The popularity of the racing in Goomalling was down to this and community spirit as a whole, and was driven by three motorsport- mad returned servicemen - Milton Royal, Ted Nicholson and Charlie Dent.

All were air force officers during World War II.

Idle Torque. Koorda farmer George Best on his way to second place in the 1952 Goomalling Speed Classic in his Cooper. Supplied picture

According to Cocks' book, in 1939 the trio formed the Goomalling Sporting Car Club so they could compete as a team in the motor racing events at nearby Dowerin.

That year the club also held a small event at the abandoned Goomalling horse-racing track before its three founding members were called away to fight for their country over the skies of Europe.

It wasn't until 1949 that motorsport returned to Goomalling, but the comeback was stronger than ever.

That year the races attracted sports cars and specials ranging from MG TCs, Morgan 4/4s and an MG PB through to the Plymouth Special and the Salmson-based Bartlett Special.

The book is not just a record of Goomalling's motor racing past; it's a glimpse of how motorsport united a dusty WA town through its people's can-do attitudes and the fascinating anecdotes they generated. I wasn't even alive at the time, yet the book seemed to transport me there.

Cocks has done a fine job of researching and compiling a valuable and extraordinarily detailed record of a time and place in WA motorsport history which could have been lost forever.

The book is available, for $39.95, through the Goomalling Shire.

MOTOR MOMENTS


JULY 1
American Independence Day Run, Success to Whiteman Park.
See americancarclubofwa.com.
JULY 8
York Motor Show, from 10am. Email leoyork@westnet.com.au.
JULY 15
Super Model Car Sunday, Cusack Road, Malaga, from 9am to 4pm. Phone 9448 0110.
SEPTEMBER 2
Father’s Day Hot Rod Show, St. Patrick’s Primary School, Fremantle, from 10am to 4pm. Phone 0417 767 566.
Shannons One-Day Classic Rally, Perth and surrounds. See classicrally.com.au.

Send event details to acforro@gmail.com