A short career in Australian midget racing, driving V Twins only, first for Eric Morton in # 24 then for Ron Ward in # 3, and spanning only 1955 - 56. The only driver in that era to win 14 consecutive feature ( Main event ) races. Bill exited the sport suddenly after a horrendous smash, involving himself, Werner Greve and Dallas James at the Sydney Showground Speedway on the 3-11-1956 that had him on the verge of death for several days. Bill had his accident on the 3-11-56 in Meeting #3, driving midget # 3, went to Hospital and they put him in bed 3 in Ward 3.?????
Bill Shevill ( left ) in 2002 with his car owner and car constructor, Ron Ward and mutual friend Sir Jack Brabham.
The Sydney Showground Speedway,
Pit turn, November 3rd 1956.
It's a Larry Taylor photo, but something happened in the processing. As bad as it is reproduced you can see Greve ( on the left ) in # 13 into the wall and Bill in # 3 about to hit it. Bill's car turned over and he actually hit the wall with his head. # 3 laying across the track was then hit by Dallas James who was unable to avoid the stricken twin # 3. This is the only photographic record of the accident. Bill was told he could never drive a midget again, the end of a brilliant career.
Bill started his power sport career in speedboat racing. He is seen here at St. George Motor Boat Club , Sans Souci , NSW, with the fabulous multi award winning GMC powered skiff, Lydie IV. Later he moved into Speedway, his first drive being in the Eric Morton twin # 24.
Bill gets kitted up for his maiden midget drive, in the Eric Morton # 24 twin at Cumberland Oval, Parramatta. Tommy Bradshaw on the left and Eric Morton on the right.
A fairly skinny, Bill Shevill tries out the # 24 midget of Eric's in the Morton backyard.
Bill puts 24 gingerly through it's paces at Cumberland.
A great action shot of Bill and the Ron Ward twin # 3 at Cumberland.
A rare colour shot of Bill and # 3. Windsor 1956.
Bill hugs the inside line at Katoomba Showground in the Morton # 24. Tommy Bradshaw outside and Phil Cornish at the rear.
The Katoomba Showground Pits. # 17 of Bob Playfair, the Phil Cornish car # 8 and Bill's drive, the # 24 Morton car. Peter Spalding lost his life here on the 27.12.1953 in a midget, he speared off the track and went straight into the Pits opening, shown here.
The wreck of the Peter Spalding car.
Bill and the Ward twin # 3 in the Pits at the Sydney Showground Speedway. It has the letter P ( for Parramatta ) on the tail. There was a running dispute over car numbers between the tracks.
A Ken Preece photo of Bill in practice at the Royale.
( Right ) Bill hangs off the side of an XK120 Jaguar on his victory lap after winning the Golden Helmet for Speedcars at the Royale in 1956. Frank Arthur's daughter is driving while Frank himself can be seen walking away in the background. Bill set a record time for the race breaking Jack Brabham's old record.
Bill buckles up in # 3 at the Mt Kiera , Wollongong Speedway.
Bill runs the outside line at Mt. Kiera Speedway.
Bill and crew at Windsor with the mighty Ward twin # 3. Stan Wilson ( owner of car # 0 ) is 3rd from left, Ron Ward car owner and builder is 4th from left and Bill is in centre with leather jacket.
Gwes Bowen runs the outside of Bill on the Windsor inner track. It had an outer 1/2 mile and an inner 1/4 mile track.( approx.)
Bill leads Nick Collier in # 22, "Leadfoot" Lennie Brock can be seen in the twin #1 behind Collier, Windsor.
Another great Windsor action shot. Gwes Bowen in # 0 heads Merv Ward in # 4, Bill in the middle and I'm not sure who's on the outside.
Bill "over cooks it " in front of the pack.
Bill and # 3 powering through the turn on the inner track.
Rowley Park S.A. Bill has just lost his right rear wheel after colliding with "Big" Jack O' Dea while Billy Wigzell slips through on the inside.
The field lines up for the 1956 Australian Speedcar Championship at Rowley Park S.A. Outside Rows: Harry Neale, Ray Revell, Bill Wigzell and Murray Hoffman.
Inside rows: Arn Sunstrom, Stud Beasley, Andy McGavin and Bill Shevill.
Bill ran 4th in the title.
L to R. Jack O'Dea ( outside ), Billy Wigzell, Arn Sunstrom, Bill Shevill, Rick Harvey and Dave Cooper during the running of the 1955 South Australian Championship at Rowley Park S.A.
The grid at Rowley Park.
Back Row.: Wigzell, Sunstrom, Hoffman, Beasley.
Middle Row: Sands, Neale, Shevill, Revell.
Front Row: Elsworthy, McEwan, O'Dea, Cooper.
A big "Thank You " to Bill Shevill for sharing his history with us on "Just Midgets". Bill is rightly proud of his achievements in Speedway and goodness knows where he would have gone in his career if it had not been for the accident at the Royale. On the night of Bill's accident, John Sherwood, an Empire Speedways Director, had offered him a drive in the soon to arrive Dick "Jet " Brown Offenhauser ( owned by Empire Speedways.) but Bill never got to sit in it. How would he have gone in an Offy ?