Ever get the feeling that Australians have more fun than we do? Combine 1 horse racing track, a hodge podge of dirt bikes, 1 vintage Vincent tracker, a 10-year-old and 1 dodgy photo permit in the US and the result would be handcuffs. For Deus Ex Machina it was these photos. Creative Director Carby Tuckwell brings us the story. — Ed.
Harold Park is a few miles down the road from Deus HQ in Camperdown. It is (was) a harness racing track or, the Trots, as its affectionately known. The site was sold to a property developer in 2009 under dubious planning approval from the soon-to-be crucified Labor state government. Since then, an injunction has slowed the pace of the redevelopment to a crawl and the track and stadium are slowly falling apart as the courtroom battles continue. You can see how central the location is on the map in the book. The winners podium table still sits in the sun, but now looks like a giant melted tray.
Harness racing is woven into Australian folklore and some great horses have run at Harold Park. They all had killer names; Pure Steel, Paleface Adios and Hondo Grattan. I have memories of these names squawking from my grandfathers radio as Jonnie Tap got excited calling the miracle Mile.
We have been sneaking in for a quick lap here or there for ages, you get two at best before the caretaker wanders out and gives us a gentle wave on. No aggro, they know we are just having fun. What we really wanted was a good session on the banked gravel without interruption , so we asked to rent it for the day for a “photo shoot” and called around for jockeys. It was bumpy and ungroomed after years of neglect and the developer had drilled core samples at 50m intervals to create extra danger. We got some good laps in, some of the dirt virgins pop squirting around with smiles like 10-year olds and a real 10-year-old (Tom) who races speedway who trickled out from the pits and proceeded to ride wide open for 7 laps sideways the whole way. This kid will be a star.
All that fun was raising biblical amounts of dust (remember the Sydney dust storm) and the track sits right next to residential streets so it was only a matter of time before we got shut down. Ho hum, some fun laps were had. No one crashed (badly) and we were home in time for tea.
Here’s video of the Vincent HRD from another event.
Big guy ripping – Paul Edwards
Little guy ripping – Tom Edwards also known in dirt circles as “Major Tom”
Guy on the XT – Paul Begg
Guy in Deus Leathers – Jeremy Tagand
Owner of the vincent – Steve
Next president of the US – Jon Stewart
My favourite musician – Tom Waits
There’s 47 photos in this gallery.