A plethora of WA speedway heroes will be honoured at the Ampol Big Chap 57 this Saturday night at Perth Motorplex.
Noel Bradford, Stan Starcevich, Johnny Fenton, Johnny Andersson, Mick Doble and Mick McKeon will all be recognised as Legends of Speedway on what will be a special night at Western Australia’s premier speedway venue.
Speedway General Manager for the Perth Motorplex, Gavin Migro, said the inspiration behind the event was to honour the rich past of the sport. Fans will have a chance to meet those legends who are still involved in the sport, and give their respect to those who have passed.
The event is named for Noel ‘Big Chap’ Bradford, who was the first Western Australian driver to win an Australian Sprintcar championship (1975).
“Noel was a great fella and a really good racer over many years at Claremont,” Migro said.
“The Bradford family are beautiful and still active in Sprintcars. Unfortunately, Noel succumbed to cancer last year and because of COVID-19 the family weren’t able to have a large funeral, so this event will help the speedway community pay tribute to a great guy.”
The honour roll continues with Johnny Fenton to present the trophy for the Speedcars. Like Bradford, Fenton was a national champion in his division, as well as a great promoter of Speedcars throughout his career.
“He set the standard for Australia,” Migro said. “I think it is really important to honour a guy of his standing. He raced in the USA and New Zealand too, and his record as the winningest Speedcar driver in Claremont Speedway’s history speaks for itself.”
Johnny Andersson will be recognised during Formula 500 racing on the night, as yet another former national champion. Andersson will also be bringing a collection of classic speedway machines for fans to check out in the pits.
“Johnny is perhaps the greatest of all time in Formula 500s, some may argue,” Migro said.
“He was a three-times Australian champ and multiple time WA champion. He’s going to have the Australian number one car at the Motorplex as part of a 22-car display of retro speedway cars and bikes.”
Stan Starcevich will wave the flag for the Late Models, as one of the early pioneers of sedan racing in speedway.
“Stan was a legend of Claremont with his beautiful black Mustang and gold numbers, it’s a car I remember vividly from my childhood,” Migro said. “He was definitely one of the heroes of the muscle car era of speedway sedans.”
The Limited Sprintcars don’t have a long history in the sport, so Geraldton racer Mick Doble will do the honours of presenting the trophy thanks to his great success in the division.
“We wanted someone from the Limited Sprintcar fraternity who has done really well, and Mick won championships in the early part of their history and is still very active in the sport supporting Geraldton Speedway,” Migro explained.
Finally, Mick McKeon will be representing the Solos, an honour appropriate for a rider nicknamed ‘The Master’.
“Mick was pretty much the king of Claremont through his era, when Solos were booming in the seventies and eighties,” Migro said. “He is a huge speedway fan to this day and loves coming to the Motorplex, so to have him there on the night will be a cool thing.”
The Ampol Big Chap 57 takes place this Saturday, February 20. Gates open from 4.30pm, with heats from 5.00pm and the main show from 6.00pm. For more information, visit www.motorplex.com.au
Words: Luke Nieuwhof
Pic: Peter Roebuck