Geelong Speed Trials
With the Geelong Revival bringing the spirit of the sprint racing back to Geelong’s beautiful waterfront in early December, we take a look at the Geelong Speed Trials, the inspiration for this exciting new motoring event.
The Geelong Speed Trials were held overlooking Geelong’s waterfront for nearly fifty years from 1956 until the early 2000’s. Each year the event brought a magnificent collection of classic sports vehicles to Geelong to compete in the sprint. The collection included an impressive display of unique, rare and sometimes priceless automobiles and motorbikes from all eras of motorsport. The Geelong Speed Trials was one of the rare occasions in Australia where you could see such an array of awe inspiring vehicles in action, hear and smell their roaring engines while experiencing the carnival atmosphere of classic sprinting.
Not only were there some of the most amazing vehicles, many of the world’s best drivers including Sir Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss, Dick Johnstone, Jim Richards, Glen Seton, Craig Lownes and Formula One greats Alan Jones and Mika Hakkinen also competed at the event.
The Geelong Speed Trials were based around the popular Brighton Speed Trials held in the UK. This event began back in 1905 and is regarded as the longest running motor event in the world. Like Geelong, Brighton is also a seaside town and offers spectacular vistas of the seaside; a perfect setting for such an event.
The Geelong Speed Trials were held along Richie Boulevard and took advantage of the heavily sloping amphitheatre overlooking the track below. Each year the event attracted thousands to the palm shaded lush lawns in a family atmosphere to watch an incredible and quiet unique day of motorsport. In some of the later years crowd numbers in excess of 30,000 were reported and the event was regarded as the largest historical motor sporting event of its type in Australia.
Over the years the event had a few relaunches but it eventually ran into difficulties during the redevelopment of the Geelong waterfront precinct. The ever increasing costs and efforts required to meet the requirements to hold such an event meant the 2003 event became the last. There were a few attempts to bring the Geelong Speed Trials back in the years that followed, but nothing got past the planning stage. One successful event was a static vehicle display in October of 2007 that brought the spirit back to the Geelong waterfront for a nostalgic weekend.
For info on the 2012 replacement event, check out our Geelong Revival Page.