Gnoo Blas circuit was a motor racing circuit at Orange, New South Wales, Australia. The circuit was formed from rural roads and highways outside of the town, around the grounds of Bloomfield Hospital and what is now known as Sir Jack Brabham Park. It was 6.03 km long. The name came from the Aboriginal name for nearby Mount Canobolas.
The circuit was opened in January 1953 and was run by former Mount Panorama Circuit organising club, the Australian Sporting Car Club. The circuit played a crucial part in the growth of Australian open wheel racing in the post war era but sadly faded before the peak created by the Tasman Series. The circuit also held the inaugural Australian Touring Car Championship event in 1960 which was won by David McKay.
Continuing battles with New South Wales Police Force who authorised motor racing through the Speedway Act eventually forced the tracks closure October 1961.
The locally based Gnoo Blas Classic Car Club hold an annual classic car show at the site and several of our Sydney based members met with those from the Bathurst/Orange area to attend the annual show and dinner event held at the Orange Ex Services Club.
Immediately following the show, which featured approximately 300 cars, trucks and motorcycles, the RSOC delegation took a lap of the track (in parts narrow, rough and bumpy, with plenty of roadside “furniture” to arrest the progress of any wayward vehicles) and retired to a nearby Hotel, where they forced to wait until the evenings proceedings commenced.
The dinner was Chaired by well known motoring journalist and commentator Will Hagon, accompanied by guest speakers former Australian F1 and sportscar champion Tim Schenken, Australian Touring Car legend Allan Moffat, and Chairman of the National Roads and Motorists Association, and former State MP, Wendy Machin. Former Touring Car competitor Bob Skelton also made a cameo appearance to relate a tale of running in a new engine in a GTHO Falcon race car after Saturday practice for the October Basthurst race some time after midnight, on local roads, and being stopped by a Police Officer in the Mini Cooper S patrol car. The story ended with John Goss (with whom Bob was driving) convincing the officer that he really should try this new Falcon, whilst Bob attempted to follow in the Police Cooper S, only to have the Cooper succumb to low (no ?) oil pressure during the (presumably within speed limits ?) run back to town.
This was an excellent event, well enjoyed by all who went, and a must do for next year.