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Favourite Rides - CATALINA PARK RACEWAY

Katoomba. NSW.

On a warm February day, I rode with five other VJMC Sydney members from the meeting point in McGraths Hill, via the Bells Line of Road to Mt Victoria and then east again to visit the former Catalina Park race track in Katoomba, NSW. It was my favourite ride to that time and I think it still is.

The ride left from Berowra at 7:30 AM on a fine and clear Sunday morning and travelled through Galston Gorge and Cattai Ridge Road to McGraths Hill near Windsor to meet other VJMC members. 

 Meeting point at McGraths Hill

 

The group of six members headed off via Richmond and along the ridge via Kurrajong, Bilpin and Mt Tomah to Bell. The road is dominated by sweeping bends and even after devastating bushfires, the view is spectacular with the national parks either side. Toward Bell, the south side of the road dominated by the flat top Mt Hay. At Bell, we turned south to Mt Victoria where we stopped for the usual bikie smoko of tea and scones. Then we headed east to Katoomba and found the Ukulele Festival in full swing. Despite that we headed off to the back streets to Catalina Park race track. 

The track used to host televised Touring Car race meetings with Bob Jane, Norm Beechey, Fred Gibson, Geoghan, Bartlett etc. One corner of the track was bypassed onto a dirt section for the Rallycross events. A very young Peter Brock used to race rallycross there in his LC Torana against Barry Ferguson (in his Chev powered VW fastback) and others.

The Touring Cars abandoned Catalina Park in about 1970 to use the new Oran Park and Amaroo Park. We walked around the track and imagined ourselves powering through every corner. 

Standing on the grid in the main straight. 

 

Grid position 10

 

The first left after the right kink at the end of the main straight

 

Going across to the far corner of the track into another left hander

 

Coming into the back straight

 

After a couple of hours at Catalina Park we headed west again on the Great Western Highway to Blackheath where we turned left, crossed the railway and headed down into the Megalong Valley for lunch. We were looking up at the art deco Hydro Majestic Hotel perched on the cliff above us a few kilometres away. From there, back up to Blackheath via the twistees through the rainforest, onto Mt Victoria, Bell and down the Bells line of Road to McGraths Hill where we split up and headed for home. 

Heading home through the Megalong Valley after lunch.

 

As I said at the beginning, it was my favourite ride to that time and I think it still is.

There is film on Youtube of a guy in a Datsun 1600 in 2012 doing a circuit of the track and another of it as a walk in reverse race direction in 2016. You'll see Rallycross on Youtube too.

Story and photos supplied by Alan Stevens. This ride was first described in the VJMC Forum on this website.