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1977 Yolo County Fair

Irwindale Speedway

Irwindale, California

1970, 1972-1977

Photos below are from Cary Cotterman liscarkat@verizon.net and Pat Brady reinfonow@verizon.net

The track in my photos was located at Irwindale and they were taken in October 1970. At the time of its operation it was always informally referred to as 'Irwindale'. It's official name, printed on programmes, was San Gabriel Valley Speedway, but I never heard anyone use that name. Located about 15 miles northeast of Los Angeles, the original Irwindale Speedway ran meetings on Sunday afternoons during 1970. Promoted by former rider Johnny Gibson, a member of the American test side that toured the U.K. in 1951, the 1970 track did not prosper and closed after one season.

A second, more successful Irwindale track opened later a few miles up the road and operated profitably through most of the 1970s. The later track was located on the same grounds as the Irwindale Raceway drag strip and was officially known as 'Irwindale Speedway'. It was typical of southern California speedways, consisting of a decomposed-granite track of around 200 yards length with a plywood safety fence, surrounded by unsheltered 'bleachers' for spectators (metal framework underneath with wood boards for seating).

Incidentally, the 'Irwindale' track of my photos was eventually developed with light industrial buildings. The site of the second, more successful Irwindale track is now occupied by a large brewery.

The great black-and-white photos by Pat Brady (below) are all from the second, officially-named Irwindale. A brilliant track that was, and many happy Thursday nights of excellent speedway took place there at only $4.00 admission and free parking and programmes. The picture with spectators shielding their faces from flying shale with their programmes brings back sweet memories of tracks with dirt on them. Today, you can sit in the front row on the bends and rarely a speck will fall your way. 

Cary Cotterman -liscarkat@verizon.net - www.speedwayplus.com

Cary Cotterman Photos - 1970

Irwindale Irwindale

Mike Bast and Steve Bast

Mike Konle and Steve Bast

Irwindale Irwindale

Mike Bast, Bill Cody, Larry Shaw and Stu Morley

Steve Bast and Bill Cody

Irwindale Irwindale

Steve Bast

Steve Bast

Irwindale Irwindale
Scott Autrey

Sonny Nutter

Pat Brady Photos - 1976

Irwindale Irwindale

Before the race line up, a look at the bikes then.

This is Max Koemans from Pasadena. We helped him out here in the central valley when he rode Hanford. The bike and helmet he is wearing in the picture was painted by my uncle Roger Heath. My father, uncle and I, Heath Engineering, kept his motor fresh and bike straight. My uncle pitted for him at Hanford & Bakersfield. Max became an alternate for the San Bernardino Sizzlers and ended up riding full time after on of the riders were out. He helped and inspired me to start racing in 1976 and I took the SRA #208C with "C" standing for Central Valley. In 1976 he scored a perfect 15 points in the Kingscup Hanford track Championship. Mike Heath mhdesign@comcast.net

Irwindale Start, Scott Sivadge on pole.

Irwindale Irwindale

Steve Nutter always liked the outside.

Sonny Nutter
Irwindale Irwindale

3 Time U.S. National Champion Rick Woodsnickname was "The Huntington Beach Rocket" and honestly with his Orange Leathers and White scoff around his neck that's what he looked like. A very spectacular type style and the crowd loved him.

Scott Sivadge some nights would find so much traction he looked like he was shot out of a cannon he was going so fast. One night at Irwindale the final was Bruce Penhall, Mike Bast, Rick Woods and Scott Sivadge. Sivadge won and everybody at Malibu beach the next day was talking about it. Surfers love Speedway.

Irwindale Irwindale

7 Time U.S. National Champion Mike Bastloved the inside line.

This Photo of Mike Bast was the most popular photo I shot of speedway. It was in Dirt Bike Magazine and won a couple of Awards at the time.

Irwindale Irwindale

Danny "Berserko" Becker

Bruce Penhall, Rick Woods, Jeff Sexton, Steve Bast.
Check out the crowd putting up there programs to keep from getting sprayed with dirt.

Irwindale Irwindale

2 Time World Champion Bruce Penhall

Bruce Penhall on 1976 cover

Irwindale Irwindale
Irwindale Irwindale

1976 All Star Program Irwindale Speedway

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