History of Women for Wheels SA

Women for Wheels of SA Incorporated was founded in May of 1971 when a group of “racing driver wives”, Mrs Glenda Grove, Mrs Anne Ramsey and Mrs Marilyn Shraple (this is where the club’s name was derived from) decided that a more professional approach was needed for trackside fire and rescue services. Glenda then approached Fire Fighting Enterprises (FFE), formerly on Glen Osmond Road, about extinguishers and assistance in finding a suitable Fire Chief. From this enquiry Mr Brian Davis was duly recommended and appointed as their first Chief Fire Marshal. FFE also agreed to assist with the provision and re-charging of extinguishers.

As a consequence of this a fund raising appeal was launched to raise funds to purchase and outfit a suitable vehicle to carry fire and rescue equipment to motor sport events in the greater Adelaide area. In addition to the equipment, funds were also raised to train volunteer fire marshals in the effective use of fire extinguishers and rescue equipment in the event of an incident trackside.

In 1972 the Formula V Association of SA built and donated a fully race ready vehicle to the newly formed Women for Wheels Committee for raffling. Shortly after General Motors Holden donated a cab-chassis, and with money collected from fund raising was used to purchase equipment.

The original vehicle, a 1974 Holden HQ 1 tonne cab chassis, was fitted with a rear tray that was specially designed and built (by Mr Tony Grove and Brian Davis) to carry a range of extinguishers and rescue equipment to the track, and did so in this configuration until 1995 when the Committee commissioned a total redesign and build of the rear tray. This vehicle is still in use today.

Over the years the size of the organisation has increased from about 15 crew members, and 1 vehicle, in the 1970’s to over 40 active crew members and 5 vehicles today and we are looking for more active fire marshals.

Much of this has come about because of the increased awareness of promoters to provide their competitors with trackside emergency services and the reputation that Women for Wheels have built with over 50 years of specialised Motorsport Fire & Rescue Service to this sport. The increase in the number of events has put a substantial increase on our resources and in many cases Women for Wheels is now required to be at 2 or sometimes 3 events at the same time.

Women for Wheels are involved in all of the major forms of motor racing in South Australia including:

– Circuit racing for club events and the Adelaide 500

– Drag racing

– Hillclimb events at Collingrove, Mount Gambier & Mount Alma

– Promotional events such as the Australia Day Parade

– Providing fire training for motor sport officials

– Specialty events such as the Bay to Birdwood

– Speed boat racing

– Speedway

– Stadium racing at Wayville Showgrounds

You can view some photos from our history below, or in our larger gallery.