The first club race meeting was set down for the 13.9.1964 and many members got busy to build or purchase a car ready to race from elsewhere for this event.
It was decided that adult spectator admission would be set at 4/- with children admitted free.
Sixteen nominations were received for this first meeting, however thirteen competed on the day.
Eighteen events were conducted with half the programme comprising of scratch and handicap motorcycle races. An extremely large crowd attended this first event resulting in a very healthy gatetaking. The distinction of being the first driver to roll his car went to Barry Mills and his 1936 Dodge sedan.
Spectator facilities at this time must have been fairly primitive as any reference to toilets being built cannot be found until nearly a month after this first meeting was conducted.
Another very well attended meeting followed on the 18.10.1964 with the number of Hot Rods nominated rising to twenty seven, obviously a lot of activity was taking place also a very real problem of trying to control dust stirred up by the cars was starting to emerge. In addition to this the Victorian Health Commission had heard of the Club’s activities and immediately stopped all further racing until a 3ft bank with a 4ft high wire mesh fence was erected around the track. It was also during this time that the remaining infield Mallee trees were removed. A series of well attended working bees soon saw that all of the Health Commission requirements were satisfied. By the middle of 1965 a Ladies Committee had been formed and was steadily increasing in numbers.
Between 1965 to 1966 club membership numbers had risen as well to around 140.
Many visiting drivers from Walpeup, Loxton and Renmark were now joining our drivers on a regular basis to compete for the prize money, trophies etc. that were on offer.
In these early years between 1964–1968 the Mildura Hot Rod Club became known as one of the most active clubs as far as membership, the number of race cars participating and the number of meetings staged per season. In 1967 it was decided that ongoing heat and dust problems that had plagued the club at times must be rectified so a working group and a track fund was established so that racing under lights at night would be a great deal more comfortable for spectators and drivers alike. However the installation of track lighting was going to be a major undertaking in more ways than many realised. Around 1967 an A Grade section of drivers was established “The Stars” included Peter O’Rourke, Rob Mills, Brian McMillian, Jack Herberte, Alan Roberts, Laurie Uchtman, Ross Crick, John Timmis, Alec Brooks and regular visiting drivers of Rod Manning, Tom Petch and Don Grant.
The final race of the afternoon or feature event of the programme was known as the Butchers’ Picnic” Both A and B Grade sections were combined with the fastest cars starting from the rear grid positions. This event usually provided some unbelievable entertainment for the crowd.
In 1968 rules for the introduction of production cars was implemented by the Committee and this class of racing soon became a popular drawcard with spectators and drivers alike. Car numbers in this section increased with Morris Minors, Ford Zephyrs and Consuls and FJ-FX Holdens being among the most widely chosen models.
At the end of the 1968 Season the lighting and track alterations proceeded in earnest and due to the enormity of this combined project many delays occurred. A 50 KVA electricity transformer was required at a cost of over $1,600.00 alone. Racing was suspended until this major task was completed.
John Timmis asked members to keep a look out for any palm trees for the safety fence for the front and back straights. The palm tree trunks laid end to end became our most famous safety fence.
The track and lighting programme was finally completed under the control of works foreman Rob Mills and finally on the 13.4.1974 the first meeting under lights was staged with a large crowd in attendance. It was during this time that Modified Production cars and Super Modified or later to be known as Modified Sprintcars were introduced.
As the Hot Rod division’s popularity had been taken over by these newer classes to a fair degree, it was decided the club’s name should be changed to Mildura Speedway Drivers’ Club. This was done in 1976 and now provided a broader representation to all involved, regardless of the type of vehicle they raced.
In 1979 it was again decided that due to the increasing performance and speeds being obtained by the cars it would be necessary to again increase the track size. Under control of Bob Watt as foreman the current track was constructed to the same dimensions and design as the then new Speedway Park track at Virginia in Adelaide.
Incidentally all of the Timmis Speedway tracks have been different shapes and sizes but have all been located in about the same area.
In 1981 the clubhouse was constructed with funds that had been generated by the very active Ladies Social Committee.
The track built in 1979 was 420 metres around, measured 1 metre off the pole line and was mostly sand / dirt mix for many years, before it was changed to clay in the late 90s. In 2020 the club undertook a huge project and widened the track to 19 metres by bringing in the pole line, while also increasing the banking on the track. A new 100% clay surface was brought in during this time.
Over the years just about every class or division of speedway have raced at this track at some stage. Also over the years Timmis Speedway has been the venue for a host of visiting American sedan and open wheel Sprintcar drivers. Not to mention a very large amount of Australia’s finest drivers in all sections having competed here as well. Many many State and Australian Titles have been conducted here and the facilities at the venue are amongst the finest you will find anywhere within Australia with the only exceptions being found in some metropolitan city centres.
Many bone jarring accidents have taken place on the Timmis track. Injuries have occurred but fortunately this track remains fatality free. It must be said that the lighting, safety fence and catchfence, the crash and rescue personal and fire fighting equipment are all of the highest standard.
The sport in Sunraysia, like elsewhere, from its very humble beginnings has developed into a semi professional activity in a lot of instances. Many drivers have acquired sponsorship arrangements with individuals and/or businesses that reduces their own out of pocket expenses to a degree. From the cars that were once towed to the Timmis track by rope or A bar back in the 1960’s today find themselves chauffeured within fully enclosed custom built trailers or in other cases fully decked out buses or trucks. Many helpers and people working in voluntary positions on race nights at Timmis along with the many office bearers and committee members over the last 58 years are the people that have made Timmis Speedway such a fantastic facility that we are all proud to be part of today.