History of the Gnoo Blas racing circuit

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It would be a huge understatement to say the Orange Cherry Blossom Management Committee was cutting things fine when a call went out 18 days before the first race meeting for local people to take out nine 100 pound ($200) debentures so the new Gnoo Blas track could be finished in time.

The money was needed to hire a public address system, provide amenities for the spectators and other small items.

The plan to build the track was hatched only eight months earlier in April 1952 by a group of people associated with the annual Orange Cherry Blossom Festival with lots of prompting from the Australian Sporting Car Club, which had had a row over Mt Panorama at Bathurst and wanted somewhere else to race.

Part of the simple triangle of quiet country roads was in the Orange city area and the remainder in neighbouring Canobolas Shire. They were reconstructed and sealed with a light coat of bitumen, the work paid for by the Cherry Blossom Management Committee and carried out by both councils under the supervision of their engineers Bill Holness and Alf Stephen.

Map of the Gnoo Blas circuit

The road was never very wide but most of Australia’s best drivers raced at Gnoo Blas at one time or another, including Jack Brabham, who ran a variety of cars and who held the lap record until the final meeting.

Some of the other drivers include Bob Jane (Maserati), Stan Jones (Maybach), Prince Bira of Siam (Maserati), Peter Whitehead and Tony Gaze (Ferraris), Alex Mildren (Cooper Climax), Ted Gray (Tornado), Doug Whiteford (Maserati), Tom Sulman (Aston Martin), Leo and Ian Geoghegan (Holdens and Jaguars), David McKay, Bill Pitt, Ron Hodgson (Jaguars), Des West, Arnold Glass, Paul Samuels, Max Stewart, Jack Myers and Len Lukey.