Leo Enright remembers the Naracoorte Cycling Club in 1954-57

Long before there were ambulances treating the injured in Naracoorte, there was a man on a bike with a basic knowledge of first aid.

Leo Enright was working in the Railway Locomotive Foreman's Office in Naracoorte for a period in the 1950's.

One of his duties at the office was to provide first air, not just to the people in the workshop there, but also for whoever needed it in the Naracoorte District.

"If a call came through, I would grab the first aid emergency box, hop on the old railway bike with the handlebars up and pedal away to where I was needed," Mr Enright told the Herald.

"(you would) do whatever you could, just hope a motorist of some type would come by, so they you could get an injured person to hospital.

"Sometimes a car or a ute, or even a tractor or horse and cart was used."

"No such a thing as an ambulance. Perhaps a couple of old bags or a blanket was used to keep the patient steady while transporting them."

As a member of the Naracoorte Cycling Club between 1954 - 1957, Mr Enright has a few stories to tell from this slice of local history.

Cyclists on the trots

He traces the origin of the Naracoorte trotting track back to 1955.

"In 1955 it was decided to build a trotting track at the showgrounds," Mr Enright explained, "This was built mainly by volunteers, but as usual only a half dozen trotting men and two cycling men turned up to do any of the work."

"Many hundreds of hours were spent with pick and shovels and wheelbarrows to build the track."

The result of this hard yakka was a trotting track at the showgrounds that surrounded a cricket and aussies rules field.

"We raced on the races road until the new trotting track was built in 1955. Then we raced on the trotting track."

Ingenuity of the time

Cycling and horse racing were always inexplicably linked.

Mr Enright remembers one particularly creative way cyclist were enlisted to help train horses along Caves Road.

"As I was a cyclist, and raced on what were called 'singles' - a light tube sewn up inside a light tyre - any punctured tubes were removed, cut in half and tied to power lines along the caves road," Mr Enright said.

"I would pull the bike tube across the road in front of the horses, then when it was released it would hit the pole and sound like the starter's gun. This all happened at about 6 o'clock in the mornings."

"Most of all of today's racing is behind mobile barrier, this is of course is called progress."

Cycling and trotting races were both held at the same meetings with the first double evening being held on October 19, 1956.

No brakes needed

Prior to the building of the trotting track, Mr Enright remembers the races that were held on various roads around the district.

"One course was starting and finishing at Liddy's Hotel in the middle of town," Mr Enright said.

"From Liddy's out over the railway line to a turning point on the Bordertown Road then back and finish again at Liddy's."

In the summertime, handicap races were held along the Caves Road, with handicap marks painted on the road.

There was a very important reason for choosing Caves Road for these races.

"These summer races were straight out events, as track racing bikes are fixed wheel events and no brakes on the bikes."

"So we needed a little bit of space at the finish of the races to slow down."