Flashback Friday: Surfers Paradise Kart Track

by Frank Viola

The Surfers Paradise Kart track may be the oldest surviving kart track in Australia, and perhaps one of the oldest survivors in the world.

This Kart track was built by Keith Williams in the late 1950s. He owned and operated the Surfers Paradise Ski Park which was situated alongside the Kart track.

The track hosted the second Australian Sprint Kart Championships under the CAMS banner prior to the AKA being formed (the first was held at the ASI Go Kart Raceway in Caringbah, NSW).

1962 CAMS National Championships at Surfers Paradise kart track (pic – Ross Chipperfield)

Ross Chipperfield informed me about this circuit a few years ago and sent me some of the best colour photos of Kart Racing from that era that one will ever see.

His parents, Norm and Eve, both competed at the National Championships in 1961 and 1962.

The track was situated across the road from the Surfers Paradise International Raceway (SPIR) which hosted touring car, open wheel, motorbike, truck, drag and superkart racing for almost 20 years. The SPIR track is long gone under a housing development and artificial lakes.

Aerial view 1961, before the car circuit was built

The Sprint Kart track however is about 95% still in place. You can still see the outline of the old track with cabins or caravans lining the layout. It seems as if most of the buildings from the era of its operation are still in place.

Many veteran Queensland drivers were astonished to find that the track is still in place.

I believe it was another partial Azusa copy (Azusa, or the Go Kart Raceway in Azusa, Los Angeles, was the very first Sprint Kart track ever built).

The sprint track was originally a dirt track.




’62 Nationals (pic – Ross Chipperfield)

Dirt track, pre 1960s?

Aerial view, July 1965

Surfers Paradise International Motor Circuit plans, 1966. Kart track area at the bottom has indicated use as a garden and restaurant.

May, 1969

May 1981, now used as a caravan park

Before the International Raceway was bulldozed for housing and artificial lakes

c2017

(pic – Ross Chipperfield)

(pic – Ross Chipperfield)

The track is still there, lined by cabins.

In perspective of the overall location on the Gold Coast, the red pin “River Gardens Caravan Park” is the kart track location.

(pic – Ross Chipperfield)

(pic – Ross Chipperfield)

(pic – Ross Chipperfield)

 

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