Bill Shevill back on the speedway track

Bill Shevill makes some late adjustments before heading off on a drive at the Illabo Showground during the vintage speedway meeting named in his honour.
Bill Shevill makes some late adjustments before heading off on a drive at the Illabo Showground during the vintage speedway meeting named in his honour.

FOR just the second time since a near fatal crash in 1956 ended his speedway racing career, Taree’s Bill Shevill negotiated a few laps of the track.

Bill, now 87, travelled to Illabo Showground, near Junee, which is known as ‘the heart of vintage speedway,’ for a meet named in his honour. Completing a few laps of the track in a vintage racer was part of the program.

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However, there was no repeat of the speed or the derring-do he showed in his prime when he won 14 consecutive races driving V twins in 1955/56, where he regularly beat drivers the calibre of Jack (later Sir Jack) Brabham. Bill remains the only driver to achieve this feat.

“I was pretty conservative,’’ he admitted.

“I wasn’t completely happy with the car’s set-up, but I still did five or six laps.’’

He said this was one of the ‘many highlights’ he had during his stay. The meet featuring vintage speedway machines went off well despite a dusty track.

It has been a busy couple of weeks in Illabo, what with a horse show followed by the local show and Bill said this had an impact on the attendance. That aside, he said it was an honour to be recognised for his short but stellar racing career.

He made the drive on his own, saying it took about eight hours.

“I had a couple of breaks – it was okay,’’ he said.