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Rowley Park Speedway .... 'The place where champions gathered'
Driver Profiles

Joan Miller.

Joan Miller was born 10 / 10 / 1941 and is married to Stan.... Joan and Stan have 2 children Stephen and Bill and 1 grand child Krystie.... Joan Miller was born at Hindmarsh and grew up at West Croydon.... Joan went to Croydon Primary and Woodville High School's.... She worked for Adelaide Brake Service before starting the family business Blair Athol Auto Parts ( Blair Athol Automotive Centre Pty. Ltd: ) with husband Stan Miller. Son's Steve and Bill later joint the very successfull business that has been running for over 35 years.... Joan was one of only a few ladies that competed in Production Cars ( Mini ) and Super Sedans against the guys at Rowley Park and Speedways across Australia.... Joan Miller raced the number 7 pink Blair Athol Auto Parts Mini, an XD Ford Falcon then went on at Speedway City in a Pontiac.... Favorite moment was winning her class in the Australian Titles at the Melbourne Superbowl in the mid 1980's and was 2nd outright..... Other highlights was winning a feature at Speedway City and just the thrill of competing and beating the guys.... Joan Miller after about 3 decades in the sport retired in 2007.... Joan and Stan Miller have 2 very successfull Son's that are currently racing Speedway after a Moto Cross career....Bill winning the State Super Sedan Titles and Stephen competing in Grand Nationals, Super Sedan's and even built his own Speedcar.... Well done to Joan and the family....

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Tony Orlando.

Tony Orlando began his Speedway career in the 1966 / 67 season. Tony Orlando started in a Mark 7 Jaguar Saloon. Tony was the South Australian Stock Saloon Champion in 1976 / 77, Driver of the year in 1976 / 77 and the highest point scorer in all sections again in 1976 / 77. Tony Orlando was the R.D.A. number 1 in three seasons. Tony had a great association with the Coca Cola company who sponsered him for a lot of his career....

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" Gentleman " Jeff Ongly.

Jeff Ongly in the South Australia number 88 T.Q. / Formula 500. Jeff Ongly started his racing career in the 1977 season and immediately had success notching up several placings in Speedway Championships around South Australia and completed the 1977 / 78 season by winning the South Australian Championships.... Jeff also finished 5th in the Victorian T.Q. Championships in the following season.... " Gentleman " Jeff Ongly was a very forcefull T.Q. Speedway driver....

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Ray Skipper.....

Raymond William Skipper passed away on Sunday 13th of January 2007 at the Royal Adelaide Hospital aged 71 years. Ray was farewelled at a private funeral service on Thursday 17th of January, it was at Ray Skipper's request. Ray started his Speedway career in 1956 and was well respected at Speedways all over the Country. Ray Skipper even after his retirement from Racing was always involved in Speedway one way or another.....

.............A True Champion sadly missed..............

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Steve Stewart.

Steve Stewart was born 30 / 12 / 1948 and met his wife Wendy through Rowley Park Speedway.... Wendy and Steve have 2 children.... Steve was born at the Northern Community Hospital and grew up at Ferryden Park.... Steve Stewart went to Ferryden Park Primary School and then to Angle Park Technical High School.... Steve was employed at E.T.S.A. ( Electricity Trust of South Australia. ) for 32 years.... As a teenager Steve went to Rowley Park Speedway with his mates in aproximately 1967 the night Harry Denton was tragically killed, but Steve was still impressed with Speedway Racing.... Steve Stewart started his Speedway Career in Production Cars in the ex Graham Benneche number 20 L.J. Holden Torana... He then purchased the number 13 L.J. Holden Torana ( pictured below ) from Ron Urlich of Canberra.... Steve Stewart won many heats and features at Rowley Park Speedway and Speedway Tracks around the country.... He also was one of only two South Australian's invited to Perth for the W.A. round of the Craven Filter Stock Saloon Titles where he finished 2nd:... In 1979 Steve Stewart was 177 cm tall and weighed aproximately 75 kilo's... He also raced the number 47 Black Holden Monaro and it was at Speedway Park in 1981 when Steve was racing Alex Rowe's famous Speedcar number 2 that he won the South Australian Speedcar Championships, the same year Darryl Downing piloted Steve's Monaro to victory in the South Australian Saloon Car Titles... Steve Stewart took a year out in the 2006 / 07 season ( first season in 36 years. ) and has returned for the 2007 / 08 season.... Its good to see Steve back at the wheel at Speedway Park....

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George Tatnell.

George Tatnell was one of the great showmen of Australian Speedway died in May 2007 aged 68 (28 / 04 / 1939 - 13 / 05 / 2007 ).... George was a great character on the Speedway circuits around Australia. George Tatnell was outspoken,ruthless and cheeky doing stuff like ramming a cream pie into Kym Bonythons face at Rowley Park Speedway and getting into a public brawl during a riot in 1967.... George Tatnell raced Stock Cars, Super Modifieds, Sprintcars and Speedcars, winning many Speedway Titles around Australia including the Australian Speedcar Titles in 1977 and The Australian Sprintcar Titles at Speedway City in 1988.... He was sent off by greats likes of Kym Bonython, Garry Rush, Ron Wanless, Peter Boland, Sid Middlemass, Bobby Tunks, Ken Jenkins and more.

"Gorgeous" George Tatnell will be sadly missed around Australian Speedway Tracks.

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Noel Thorpe.

Noel Thorpe was born 28 / 02 / 1928 and was married to Alice (dec.).... They had 3 children, 9 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.... Noel was born in Adelaide and grew up at Marino Rocks.... He went to Marino Area School.... Noel worked as a mechanic at various places and then purchased Trucks carting mainly meat from Lobethal to Adelaide before retiring.... Noel Thorpe got into Speedway after going into Port Motor Wreckers several times and begun a friendship with the owner.... Noel Thorpe started in a vauxhall at Thunderbird Raceway and Rowley Park Speedway before a Holden and the Prince GTV.... Noel Thorpe never won a great deal but loved the atmosphere of Speedway in the early years.... His memorable moment was being rolled over by Mal Leo.... ( Pics. Noel Thorpe and Tom Joy's daughter at Thunderbird Raceway Virginia and Noels Vauxhall).

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Bill Wigzell O.A.M.

Bill Wigzell the wizard of Speedway was born 13 / 04 / 30. In 1979 Bills height was 6' and Weight was 12. 7. and in that year he recieved the Order of Australia Medal in the Queens Birthday List. Bill was one of only two speedway racers that raced both the first ever race meeting at Rowley Park Speedway in 1949 and the last in 1979... the other being Laurie Jamieson. Bill Wigzell went to school at Wellington Road Primary School where he finished grade 7. Bill Wigzell loved messing with cars, hotting them up etc. and through his then boss Ernie Turner was introduced to Alex Rowe and Alex Rowe's Eliza Street workshop who quickly snapped up Bill as an apprentice mechanic, starting the very next week working with race vehicles. Bill Wigzell started his racing career in road racing on a motor cycle at the age of 16. Bill Wigzell's first ever Speedway meeting was at the age of 18 in the 1948 / 49 season when good friend Peter Mildren asked Bill if he would like to race his ex Lindsay Mitchell J.A.P. at Kilburn Speedway. Bill Wigzell then went on racing at least twice a week at both Rowley Park Speedway on wednesday nights, Kilburn Speedway friday nights and occasionally at Sellicks Beach as well. Bill Wigzell racing Speedway was an expensive sport but with the help of Jack Young who gave Bill his used tyres, Bob Leverenz his used chains and Tom Butterfield who made his first set of leathers. ( Tom Butterfield still attends Motor Cycle Speedways such as Gillman Speedway. ) Bill was successful as a Solo rider representing South Australia all over the country. Bill gradually rose through the ranks to become a great Speedway Solo rider without becoming a star racing against the likes of Jack Young and Bob Leverenz. When Bill's mates John Prettejohn and Bluey Scott headed overseas to compete in England on the Orcades in March 1951 Bill really wanted to go as well but unfortunately Bill was working as an apprentice earning 12 shillings per week and was already married. This did enable Bill Wigzell to compete interstate which was the highlight of Bill's Solo Speedway carreer representing South Australia with the likes of Bill Maddern, Johnny Kelvin and Laurie Jamieson in a 3 match series against Western Australia at Claremont Speedway in December 1952. It was Bill Wigzells job look after all of Kym Bonythons Speedcars that Kym Bonython had purchased from interstate to boost Speedcar numbers at Rowley Park Speedway and also Kym Bonythons Speedboat " Bullo Bee". There were many times that they were at Rowley Park Speedway on friday nights, Tracey's Speedway in Melbourne on saturday nights and back to Snowdens Beach on the Port River to race Kym Bonython's boat " Bullo Bee" on the Sunday. In the 1953 / 54 season Kym Bonython had organised Sir Jack Brabham to design and build an 1100cc VTwin Speedcar. Bill Wigzell was then asked by Kym Bonython in the 1954 / 55 season if he would like to race the speedcar built by Sir Jack Brabham. Bill Wigzell proved himself right away that he was to be a force on 4 wheels immediately qualifying for the South Australian Speedway Championships. In the following season 1955 / 56 Bill Wigzell took out the Chas Ern Sconce trophy for Speedcar handicaps ( Ern Sconce the X clerk of the course at Rowley Park in the 1950's. ) , along with a second behind Harry Neale in the under powered Speedcar in a scratch race points score and the over all Speedcar point score. The following season 1957 / 58 they fitted a more powerfull Ford V8 engine into the Speedcar but unfortunately an accident at work kept Bill out for most of the season. In the 1958 / 59 season Bill Wigzell had little success but the following seasons improved. Bill Wigzell in the 1960 / 61 season was the Speedcar superstar winning four features and leading all four point score awards but in the 1961 / 62 season Bill Wigzell while practising had his leg caught in the gear box and universal joint causing serious injuries. In 1965 Alex Rowe asked Bill to drive the yellow number 2 Ford powered Speedcar that was later sold to and driven by Joe Brandler and then went on to be driven by various drivers including Colin Hennig (deceased), Steve Stewart and was then later powered by a Mazda rotary engine driven by the oldest son of Colin and Thelma Hennig Steve (also deceased) at Speedway Park and has now been restored to the Supercharged Peugeot owned by Mr. Ian Gear. Bill Wigzell then won the Harry Neale Memorial, the Golden Fleece 50 lap derby and the 40 lap South Australian round of the National Speedcar Drivers Championship. Kevin Fischer from Fischer Ford of Murray Bridge who origionally purchased "Suddenly" from Graeme McCubbin of Victoria offered Bill Wigzell the drive that was to become a great team. The Fischer family still own "Suddenly". Bill Wigzell and Glen Dix at Rowley Park Speedway. ( early 1970's ) and Bill in his Solo years.

Bill Wigzell and "Suddenly" (a 427 Chevrolet) won 14 race meetings for the season. In 1970 Bill Wigzell won the Australian Super Modified Championship at Morriset ( NSW ) and in 1972 Speedway Clubs were offering Bill $200 to thrill spectators with one or two lap exhibition laps on their tracks. Bill then won 3 successive Craven Filter National Titles - Brisbane 1972, Claremont 1973 and Rowley Park 1974. Bill Wigzell won five South Australian Titles in 1971 /73 / 74 / 75 and 76and was R.D.A number 1 on 6 occasions. He also has both Victorian and N.S.W. Titles, the Rick Harvey Memorial and the Easter Derby at Warnrnambool 1974 / 75 season along with so many other titles in both Super Modified and Speedcars. At one stage Bill Wigzell and "Suddenly" held every lap record at Rowley Park Speedway ( more in history ). In 1979 Bill Wigzell was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for service to the sport of motor racing and was still ranked second in the country after his second place in the Australian Title at Warrnambool. Bill Wigzell went on to race at Speedway Park still winning various races and then retired in 1986 going on to help Terry Wigzell (his son) who is successfully racing speedcars after a successfull Moto Cross career..... Bill Wigzell and "Suddenly" at a Gillman Speedway tribute to Bill on 20 / 10 2007 More on Bill Wigzell in History.... picture by Karen Hazzard.