HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE: RON IZON
CATEGORY: RACING EQUIPMENT PIONEER
Years involved in industry: 40 years
- Constructed the first set of automatic trip start boxes.
- Designed moveable boxes for Geelong, Warrnambool and Wangaratta Clubs.
- Trained talented coursing greyhound Sylvan Price in the 1970’s.
- Contracted to Greyhound Racing Victoria to assist country clubs across the state.
- In 2002, GRV made a special presentation to Ron in recognition of his outstanding service to the industry.
The late Ron Izon was a track maintenance doyen, and invented the first set of automatic trip start boxes for Cranbourne, which is now uniform across all Victorian greyhound tracks.
“Ron was a very committed person and a great tinkerer with machinery,” brother John Izon explained.
Ron had a mechanical mind which he took into an electrical business for five years. His mechanical mind then turned to greyhound racing, which outside his family, became his life.
Ron took up work at Cranbourne as the Track Maintenance Manager which went onto see him contracted by Greyhound Racing Victoria to assist all clubs around the state – performing this role for over a decade.
“I think Ron’s mind was always on mechanics, and being contracted to the board (GRV) and seeing how the starting boxes worked (through a manual process), he could see a better way. With his background in mechanics and electrics he applied his mind to develop a trip system to eliminate (the need for someone) hand opening of the boxes,” John continued.
Ron’s new trip system for the boxes was picked up by mainstream media, labelling it as the first major innovation in greyhound racing for many years. From there he developed a system that mechanically moved the boxes on and off the track to allow greyhounds the chance to compete over a broader variety of distances – these were installed at Geelong, Warrnambool and Wangaratta.
Ron wasn’t just a mechanics man; he was a loving father to five daughters including Pauline Vernon.
“Our dad was caring, hard-working, incredible man, who was exceptional at everything he did. He did anything for anybody, at any time. It was wonderful he was able to combine his love of greyhound racing with his mechanical mind,” Pauline explained.
Ron also had sucess as a greyhound breeder and trainer, in particular with a brilliant coursing greyhound called Sylvan Price in the mid-1970s.
“Undoubtedly Sylvan Price was his best greyhound because he won the Victorian Derby (1974) and the Waterloo Cup (1975),” John said.
Sylvan Prince also went onto win the 1974 Warragul and Wangaratta Cups as well as the 1975 Warrnambool Cup.
Ron Izon passed away in 2004 at the age of 75, upon which time wife Irene took charge of their racing greyhounds with continued success.