Motorsport enthusiast pays $90,000 for former Grand Prix track

Glen Dix at the Port Wakefield Grand Prix Track where the Australian Grand Prix was held in 1955. Picture: Matt Turner

An original part of the Port Wakefield 1955 Grand Prix Circuit — where Jack Brabham won his first Grand Prix race – has sold to an interstate buyer at auction.

The 32ha property at S2134 Olson Rd, which still has the outline of the original racetrack, sold for $90,000 – 10% above price expectation.

Auctioned on Openn Negotiation — a flexible terms online auction site run similarly to eBay – the property attracted 11 registered bidders and a total of 18 bids.

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In the end, a $5000 bid by an interstate buyers sealed the deal, selling agent Nigel Christie, of Harcourts Wine Coast says

“The bidder was a gentleman from Victoria who is looking to buy the property with two other parties,” he says.

“As I understand it, he bought it as an opportunity to purchase something with history, something from the motorsport world that was too good to pass up on.”

The 1955 Australian Grand Prix in Port Wakefield. Jack Brabham and Doug Whiteford are on the second row in Cooper T40 Bristol ‘Bobtail’ and Lago-Talbot. Picture: Malcolm Preston

Christie says the vendor, who decided to sell the historic property to fund her age-care needs, watched the auction online.

“I went to her nursing home and we watched the online auction together,” he says.

“I had a laptop in front of me and an iPad in front of her. She and her daughter were holding hands in the final minutes. It was so sweet.

“She was so happy with the result and the fact that it sold above reserve.

“It was a really good campaign and interest (for the property) came from everywhere. I’m glad it sold to someone wanting to preserve motorsport history.”

Jack Brabham receives a kiss from his wife after winning the 1955 Australian Grand Prix.

Australian motorsport identity Glen Dix, 85, who attended the infamous race 64 years ago, said the sale marked an unmissable chance for buyers to secure a slice of Australian Grand Prix history.

Visiting the site for a final time last month, Dix said it was reminiscent of the “hot and dusty day”, which saw Brabham take the title in a streamlined Cooper-Bristol in 1hr 26min 44.43sec.

“I was 21 and there as a spectator, watching my first ever Grand Prix,” the former flagman recalls.

“I remember that it was a hot and dusty day with a crowd of a few thousand — which was a good number for motorsport back in the day.

“I remember walking away from practice that day, thinking that man (Brabham) will win. He was so smooth and consistent, more so than anyone else.”

S2134 Olson Road, Port Wakefield.

The race, which also marked the Australian Grand Prix’s 20th anniversary, had 22 starters and was held over 80 laps of the 2.09km course.

It was the first to be held on a purpose built motor racing circuit after the previous 19 were held on closed streets or country roads, or on airfields modified for the purpose.

“The circuit provided a place for racing as, at the time, road racing was banned in the State because of a death involving a spectator,” Dix says.

This article from The Advertiser originally appeared as “Sold! Australian Grand Prix track at Port Wakefield”.