Hope Bartlett

Car and motorcycle pioneer


In 1925 only the most fearless and skillful drivers dared to race on the terrifying banking of Sydney’s Maroubra Speedway.

Hope Bartlett was one of them, captivated by the speed and danger that attached massive crowds to a unique venue.

The Maroubra Speedway was a 1.4-kilometre concrete oval that allowed Bartlett to run his Sunbeam at upwards of 160km/h.

Bartlett’s need for speed was a passion ignited on two wheels in 1910 as a teenage works rider for Zenith on a belt-driven bike.

It would be forty years before Bartlett hung up his helmet, winning his final race in 1951 at Bathurst driving an XK Jaguar.

Bartlett’s passion for speed encompassed speedway, hill climbs, road racing, and as a wizard sand racer at the famous Gerringong Beach course – not far from his bus fleet business in Nowra.

A notable victory was the Eight Mile handicap race in 1926, with Bartlett making up two minutes on his rivals.

In the 1930s Bartlett was twice a winner of the then coveted New Zealand Cup in a Vauxhall and a Bugatti.