Speedway stalwart joins motorsport elite

Speedway stalwart joins motorsport elite

Renowned Mount Gambier speedway racer and administrator Bill Barrows has been inducted into the Australian Motorsport Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Australian Grand Prix.

Mr Barrows played a pivotal role in the formation of what is now Speedway Australia, and has received multiple accolades over his career, including 2018 Australian Speedway Awards Volunteer of the Year and 2019 Hall of Fame, before being honoured with the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2023 for his services to Motorsport.

“When I got the phone call, it just blew me away, and it’s certainly something I never expected. It’s an honour not just for me but for my family as well. It’s really overwhelming,” he said, directly after Thursday’s ceremony.

Mr Barrows was inducted by Dick Johnson along with Australian Sports Car Champion Garrie Cooper, 1964 World Motorcycle Championship runner up Jack Ahearn, Drag Racing pioneer Graham Withers, and five times national Motocross champion and four times Mr Motocross Craig Dack, joining eight-eight other inductees.

Despite his long list of achievements, Mr Barrows still rates his role in helping to unite the administration of the sport as his greatest contribution to speedway.

“It was a case of pulling together all of the major stakeholders in the sport in the mid 1990’s and hopefully they could see that we could be more successful as a united body. It was not without its challenges and lots of robust discussions,” he laughed, “but it was the basis of what we have today and I’m very proud of it.”

He now joins fellow four-wheeled speedway identities, Ray Revell, Garry Rush, Johnny Stewart, George Tatnell and Max Dumesny in the distinguished group of identities across multiple motorsport disciplines.

Mr Barrows started competing in speedway in 1968 in Hot Rods before moving in 1973 to Super Modifieds (that would eventually become Sprintcars,) claiming an Australian Sprintcar Championship runner up, four state Sprintcar Titles and the 1985 President’s Cup.

He was instrumental in the inception of World Series Sprintcars with John Hughes and was a forerunner in the formation of Speedway Australia.

A leading member of the Australasian Speedway Promoters Association, he was also President of the Sprintcar Control Council of Australia.

Mr Barrows has also been a lifelong supporter of his home track, first becoming president of Borderline Speedway in 1973 and has held this position numerous times over the ensuing years as a driving force behind the extensive redevelopment of the track in the late 1980s, 1994 and again in 2017.

Speedway Australia congratulated Bill Barrows for another national honour and a spokesperson said we “once again offer our sincere appreciation for his vast contribution to making Speedway the great sport it is today”.

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