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History: The Morowa Kart Club

History: The Morowa Kart Club
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Republished from Kartsportnews.com

by Frank Viola (with assistance from Colin and Graham Malcolm)

The Morowa Kart Club in Western Australia built an exact copy of the famous Azusa Go Kart Speedway which was built in the suburb of Azusa in Los Angeles. The Californian track was the first purpose built kart track in the world. Many other clubs around the world, twenty three, (that I have found so far), also copied this track.

The Morowa track was well lit, so racing could be also held on Saturday nights. The Morowa Kart Club therefore, was in possession of one of the finest tracks in the country during the 1960s.

Go Kart Raceway in Los Angeles (here, circa 1960) was inspiration for many new track layouts around the world, including Morowa (pic – supplied)

Several State Championships were held at the track which many considered to be the premier track in WA for a long time.

The Morowa Kart Club existed from 1960 until 1992 and was mainly used for club runs. For many years, the club hosted a round of the Closed State Championships. These championships are today known as the Northern East Zone Championships (as are the South-West and Eastern Zone Championships).

The track had a control tower on the main straight with the kiosk below that. The pits were located at the north-west corner of the track.

In fact, the first track was a dirt track that was built in 1958.

(pic – supplied)

The first Go Kart was brought into town by John Cattalini, a Fremantle dentist and later the Mayor of the City of Fremantle (1984-1994). After John arrived, interest in the sport grew to the point where the first track, the dirt circuit, was built. It was later converted to bitumen with the Azusa shape adopted. The main difference was that the Morowa track did not have banked corners.

Graham Malcolm became involved with club at the age of 14 and assisted with the construction of the bitumen track. Graham’s first chassis was an American import built of chrome moly. He later copied the chassis and built 15 replicas on a jig he built in one of the sheds on the family farm at Bowgooda, about 20 miles from the town. He was president of the Club for over 10 years.


He competed for many years and was a Club Champion at least ten times. Most of the time he raced at Club Runs, but the family also ventured to York, where he competed in the traditional Easter National Championships in 1969. Graham also competed at Wundowie and Geraldton (where he raced on the dirt track near the Moore Point Light House.) He tells that the track at Moore Point had banking for spectators to park their cars.

He used 7F Villiers lawn mower engines and used them till they “popped”. He later used a Victa 125cc engine on his home made chassis. Several years down the track, he used BA 13 Parrilla engines which had the straight fins.

(pic – supplied)

These engines were supplied by Les Dean, whom Graham had many, many years of association with. Marlene Dean supplied the Morowa Kart Club with many of her trophies. They were recycled and for many years they were presented to the Juniors who competed at the club. Graham’s son Kim, a later president of the Morowa Kart Club, celebrates his birthday on the same day as Marlene Dean, so the connection with the Dean family was extremely close.

Les Dean also supplied Graham with PCR reed valve engines after he moved on from the Parrilla engines. They had trouble with the conrods of these engines and were later supplied with especially machined conrods, more suited to WA conditions. Les also supplied the club with the wonderful WA designed and manufactured Techtron chassis later on.

(pic – supplied)

Graham’s brother Colin and his wife Carolyn Malcolm, their two children Vanessa and Rodney all competed at the club. So too did Mervyn Malcomn (RIP). Mervyn was involved with the club from the outset. Grahame and his brother Colin were both presidents of the club at different points of its history.

Grahame Malcolm’s children, Kim and Julie also competed at the club. Other local town’s people such as Warren Fallon, Rob Erskine, Kim and Kathy Bailey also competed at the club during the 1980s and 1990s.

1998 (pic – supplied)

Colin Malcolm earlier used Parrilla TG 14 engines with the radiating fins. Later he used DAP reed engines and ran a Techtron chassis at one point. Colin earlier owned a chassis which he purchased from Colin Lloyd, brother of Marlene Dean (nee Lloyd), a multiple West Australian State Champion. Colin also recalls racing with his wife Carolyn at Eneabba, when karters used to cross over from bitumen to dirt track racing.

Another family in town were the McKay family, Ian and Julie, who also competed at club runs.

The end for the club and track came in 1992 when the insurance prices skyrocketed. Many other sports were affected by these increased prices.

Today the track is still in place but it is the site of the town BMX track which is also now defunct.

The Morowa track in the modern day, adjacent to the airfield (pic – Google)

 

Source: Kartsportnews.com

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