Short History of Stratford Speedway,
Taranaki, New Zealand.
Main highway just North of Stratford
township in Taranaki. (Currently still active)
The Stratford track started with a few young
men approaching the A & P Association to race Stock Cars. After a few
meetings between both parties it was agreed they could form a track inside
the show ring oval. A committee was formed and Max Hopkins became their
first President. With many hours of construction a track 35
feet wide on the straights and 40 feet wide on the corners was formed.
next big item was the fence. Three foot wide holes were drilled every
eighteen feet and filled with concrete allowing a small hole in the center
for a railway iron as a post to which three one inch wire ropes would be
The first meeting was held in February 1965.
The club had 19 cars registered that year. In 1966 the club had up to 6 roll cars that
filled the gap between races. These proved to be very popular for about
three years. In 1968 the club introduced saloon cars, the
first year these were called production cars. There were six registered the
first year; J.Muter, Ash King, Wayne Whitehead, Barry Rickard, W. Taylor and
The club in 1969 made a major change by
putting a three foot wooden fence around the outside of the track and taking
eighteen inches of spoil out of the oval, placing that behind the fence,
compacting it as hard as possible and allowing an embankment to be built at
the south end of the grandstand. This gave a good view to all the racing.
Racing with stock and saloon cars for the
next five years, the wall became very expensive and rot set in, so it had to
go. In went a shining new concrete wall three feet high, poured in one
continuous pour. Over the first ten years, the pit gates
appeared in three different places. On the north-east corner, on the
north-west corner and finally on the south-east corner; the latter being the
old Rodeo shutes with the wall slightly offset to protect the gateway.
In 1974 the Club took its best step yet and
installed lights. Yes! Night racing had come to Stratford and the club has
never looked back. Also 1974 saw the introduction of T.Q's to the programme.
At this time the club was racing stock cars, saloons, T.Q's and solo bikes.
In 1981/82 the bikes dwindled and were replaced with the modified sportsman