Motor racing’s retreat from cities continues with news that Archerfield Speedway will close forever on June 3, 2023, ending 45 years of racing.
We all have our reasons for getting into motor racing.
For me, one of the threads in my story (along with October Sundays spent watching Bathurst) was going to Archerfield with my dad on a hot Brisbane summer evening.
We’d sit there getting showered by dirt—the PA straining to be heard over the sound of 900hp Sprint Cars—as we watched blokes like Brooke Tatnell, Skip Jackson and Gary Brazier battle.
I’ve been going for nearly 30 years, but it all comes to an end in a few months time.
Brisbane is a lot bigger than it used to be—the population is nearly triple what it was when the Speedway opened, and we’re even hosting the Olympics in 2032 (the list of upcoming hosts says it all about our new place in the world… Paris, Los Angeles, Brisbane).
As such, urban sprawl has slowly enveloped Archerfield. For once, it wasn’t the NIMBYs who killed it (although the clock was undoubtedly ticking on that front, too). Rather, the value of the real estate is now so great that it’s prompted the owners to cash in and sell up.
After the final event on June 3, the gates will be locked for good and it will only be a matter of time before the bulldozers come in.
Even worse, unlike the closure of Claremont Speedway in WA and Valvoline Raceway in NSW, there are no plans for a replacement track. As it stands, Brisbane will be without a Speedway.
It comes at a time when racetracks are disappearing from our cities and towns one by one.
In recent history Oran Park (Sydney), Sandown (Melbourne), Lakeside (Brisbane) and Wakefield Park (Goulburn), have all closed, are at risk of closing, or are subject to crippling noise restrictions.
It seems increasingly likely that motorsport in the city will be limited to once-a-year Government-backed Street circuit races. Corporates and politicians like them, but they offer nothing for junior, historic or club-level racing.
With Archerfield Speedway to close, it represents the end of an era, the end of a Speedway, and the end of somewhere special to me.
Who knows, if it wasn’t for Archerfield, this website may not exist.