The motorsport community in South Australia is in mourning after news of well know racetrack owner, Clemet Smith, peacefully passing away on the 9th of Feb after battling Cancer. “Clem” as he was known by many was well respected in the motorsport community and and has been the main caretaker at Mallala Motorsport Park for decades.
Originally a RAAF base, the land was turned into a racetrack back in the 1960’s and was owned at the time by Keith Williams. When Mr Williams shut the track down, a ban was put in place to stop any motorsport happening at the facility in the future. Mr Smith then purchased the racetrack and won a huge court case overturning the ban and has seen a huge success in South Australia running what is now known as the home of motorsport in the state.
The father of three, who has six grandchildren and five great grandchildren, was also a highly successful amateur racer starting back in the 1950s. His first race was at Sellicks Beach where he drove a single seater Terraplane. From there Mr Smith went on to become a successful speedway driver at Rowley park in the South Australian state series. As a member of the Adelaide Sporting Car Club, Clem is being remembered as being very passionate for motorsport in South Australia and has been awarded the Order of Australia Medal as well as an Australian Sports Medal for his commitment to the sport.
Mr Smith, who was known as being a fan of classic cars was the owner of a fine personal collection of Chrysler Valiants. He always welcomed new events to his track and held the Mallala Masters and Easter historics events for many years. But most people wouldn’t know that he also welcomed Australia’s first ever drift event over ten years ago, which ran with success.
Clem Smith’s last request for fans was simple:
“Enjoy what we have there. That’s what its all about- enjoyment.”
From all the team here at Speed Nation, our condolences go out to the Smith family and friends.
Pictures provided by Shirl Clarke and Tony Donoghue Photography