Recently, I visited Lakeside Park in Queensland for the first time. The track opened in 1961 and is one of Australia’s most favourite and classic circuits. It’s situated 30 kilometres north of Brisbane and cuts through grassland along the shores of Lake Kurwongbah. The circuit has hosted rounds of the Australian touring car championship, GT races and the Australian Superbike Championship. Throughout the 1960’s, the track also hosted the Tasman series and attracted some big name Formula One stars including Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart and Jack Brabham. Other major races included the Australian Touring Car Championship, which visited from 1967 to 1998.
A significant threat to the venue came at the end of the 1990’s, when V8 Supercars switched their round to the new venue at Queensland Raceway in Ipswich. As a result, debts mounted and the circuit owners went into receivership. At auction, the land was bought by the local Pine Rivers Shire Council and in 2001 the council announced the track’s closure.
Lakeside’s place in the hearts of Queensland’s racing fans resulted in a campaign aimed at getting the track reopened. The ability of the council to redevelop the site was hindered by the fact that it had been placed on the Queensland Historical Register. The ‘Save Lakeside’ campaign drew some significant support and appeared to have had an effect within the council, as its anti-motorsport stance began to soften.
In 2006, the council announced a tender process for organisations to submit applications to operate the facility. Queensland Raceway owner John Tetley emerged as the preferred bidder and in December 2007, it was announced that agreement had been reached for a 30 year operating lease. Tetley invested some $1.2 million on rebuilding the infrastructure and in 2008 the circuit reopened strictly as a club and historic racing venue.
During my visit to the circuit, I was able to check out a round of the Queensland Racing Drivers’ Championship (QRDC). The QRDC is the premier racing drivers championship in the state with each round attracting some 100 entries across multiple categories. Some of these categories include Production Sports, Superkarts, the Mini Challenge, Formula Vee and Production Touring.
It was a wonderful circuit to visit and watching the cars at Hungry Corner, Eastern Loop and Ford corner was a real experience. Let’s hope that this historically significant race track remains for many years to come.