Percy Bichel was a successful farmer, and is pictured here being presented a trophy for best overall pen of steers.
Percy Bichel was a successful farmer, and is pictured here being presented a trophy for best overall pen of steers.

Tributes flow for Mothar Mountain speedway legend

GYMPIE farmer and Mothar Mountain speedway legend Percy Bichel sadly passed away earlier this month and was laid to rest today.

Mr Bichel, a well-known farmer, speedway racer and fisherman in the area, passed away on August 17, aged 82, and a funeral service was held in Gympie this morning.

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Mr Bichel was born in Gympie Hospital in April 1938, and his family lived in Kia Ora, Goomboorian and Mary’s Creek during his childhood, and he later settled down at Glastonbury.

Mr Bichel leaves behind three sisters; Beryl Holland, who still lives in Gympie, and Jennifer-Bichel-Findlay and Doreen Scott, who both live in New South Wales.

Percy Bichel (middle) was a successful farmer for many years in Gympie, and had a bean named after him for his contribution and innovation in the industry.
Percy Bichel (middle) was a successful farmer for many years in Gympie, and had a bean named after him for his contribution and innovation in the industry.

Unfortunately, Mrs Bichel-Findlay and Mrs Scott were not were not able to attend the funeral due to border closures, but were able to participate through a lifestream of the service early today.

Mrs Bichel-Findlay remembered her brother as a hardworking, fair and honest man with a “terrific” sense of humour.

She said her brother was a successful bean farmer for many years and even had the Bichel Bean named after him for his contributions to the industry.

He was also known for his cucumbers, watermelon and rockmelons, and had cattle later in life.

Mrs Bichel-Findlay said her brother owned 10 farms in the area and gave jobs to a huge number of families in the area, including his neighbours' children and all of his nephews.

“He was responsible for a lot of people having an income,” she said.

Percy Bichel was a Mothar Mountain speedway legend and a lifelong member of the Gympie Speedway club.
Percy Bichel was a Mothar Mountain speedway legend and a lifelong member of the Gympie Speedway club.

Mrs Bichel-Findaly said he was also a competitive speed racer in south east Queensland for many years, and was a lifelong member of Gympie Speedway.

“He always had a good car and was competitive,” she said.

Gympie Speedway vice president Gary Pagel, who attended Mr Bichel’s funeral earlier today, said he had known him for many years.

“I’ve known him for as long as I can remember,” Mr Pagel said.

“He gave me and my cousin our first race car.

“To this day he would ring me after a race day.”

Percy Bichel's race car #45, pictured in 1985 at the Gatton Showgrounds.
Percy Bichel's race car #45, pictured in 1985 at the Gatton Showgrounds.

Mr Pagel said Mr Bichel raced for about 20 years, and during that time he competed across the state, mainly in Gympie Maryborough, Yandina and Caboolture.

Mr Bichel began his speedway racing career in 1964, during the FJ Holden era, and proudly accepted club life membership at the Gympie Speedway in 1976.

Mr Pagel said after he retired from active competition, Mr Bichel acted as a pit marshall for another 20 years.

The Gympie Speedway club said Mr Bichel left all club members with many fond memories and he would be sadly missed by all.

Many people took to the Gympie Speedway Facebook page to give their condolences and remember Mr Bichel.

#54, one of Percy Bichel’s speedway race cars.
#54, one of Percy Bichel’s speedway race cars.

Craig Doyle said “Percy helped us so much when I got the idea to rebuild Dad’s K10 FJ in 1980s. He helped me out with an old roll cage for a 2nd car, K20 and was a bit of a mentor for a young kid wanting to follow in his Dad’s Lime Green Speedway tracks.

RIP mate #54.”

Kristian Walker said “Rip Percy. I can hear him calling me up to the pit gate like it was yesterday.”

“One of my speedway heroes growing up. A legend of Mothar Mountain,” Paul Bielby said.

Dale Christensen said “Remember him well. RIP Percy.”