Bill Campbell Memorial

Bill came to live at Heathmere in 1950, when his family moved from Mildura. As a teenager he watched with great interest as Allan Finck started building a speedway track in a disused gravel pit near where Bill lived. The track was surrounded by tall pine trees and became” The Hi Pine Speedway” At the age of 14 Bill left school and worked for W.R. Williamson & Co. which was across the road from the speedway and his interest in the track continued to grow.


In 1960 Bill and his younger brothers built a heavy hot rod which they raced at Hi Pine Speedway, sometimes they would load the hot rod onto the farm truck to race at Mt. Gambier and Warrnambool. In the early 1970’s Hi-Pine Speedway became The Southern 500 Speedway.


Bill became involved on the committee (for 26 years) serving time as treasurer, president, and later Chief Steward. Bill was diagnosed with leukaemia in 1994 but remained an active member of the speedway until his untimely death in 1997 at the age of 59.


Bill was made a Life Member of the South 500 Speedway in the 1980s. Ken Smith says Bill was always first to arrive on race days and last to leave, when he felt everything was left as it should be, he was a “Jack of all trades”, from fencing, wiring the 32volt lighting plant, putting down water bores by hand, watering and grading the track and flag man. Bill and Neville Doodt travelled to Ballarat and Bendigo to represent Southern 500 Speedway at VSC and Promoters Association meetings.


On the way to Ballarat one night the front windscreen broke near Hamilton, Bill put on a pair of glasses and a beanie and drove at his usual break neck speed while Neville lay on the back seat, after the meeting they slept in the car at Lake Wendouree with a tarp over the front window for protection!!


In the early 70’s Bill drove a Stock Rod named “Freddy Flintstone”, it was a big heavy car which looked like the Flintstones vehicle and he almost had to peddle it to make it go, but a lot of fun. 1972 the track went from dirt to asphalt and a new concrete fence replaced the timber fence, Bill was very involved in the construction of the concrete sections and fitting them up to the extended new track. Later the track went back to dirt and Bill spent countless hours maintaining the track; watering and grading as well as being on the committee, he seemed to almost live there.


1973 saw Bill presented with a clock, trophy for Clubman of The Year. In the 1980s Bill drove a Monaro in the sedan class; this car did not get a lot of use. In 1983 he purchased a Stock Rod from Mount Gambier which had a Capri body, a 6 cylinder engine with a bango diff. which was always breaking . Bill upgraded to a 327 Chevrolet, with a 4 speed gearbox and an unbreakable Toyota dyna differential. Bill raced this car at Portland, Mt. Gambier, Warrnambool and Hamilton.


The Stock Rod was slowly modified to go to the Super Rod Class, which he and his son Tim raced up until 1989. In 1990 Bill became Chief Steward to officiate at the Southern 500 Speedway. Bill would be pleased today to see young people involved in the speedway, with the Junior Sedan Class, he always advocated for a cheaper division so young people could participate in the sport. In 1998 Michael Aston donated the perpetual trophy in memory of his speedway friend, Bill Campbell who gave a lifetime of passionate involvement and service to Speedway.