July is a great month for vintage racing in the Northwest. A three-day event over the July 4 weekend in Seattle, the Historics with HMSA in Portland the following weekend, and finishing up in Canada the next weekend with the British Columbia Historic Motor Races.
The Vintage Racing Club of British Columbia (VRCBC) held the 12th annual British Columbia Historic Motor Races at the River’s Edge Road Course at Mission Raceway Park in Mission B.C. The spiritual and physical successor to the fabled Westwood Racing Circuit, the track is a technical 1.4 mile, nine-turn layout that combines a long straightaway for the big bore cars, and a twisty back side that lets the smaller cars make time on their high powered competitors. Throw in the great barbecue that VRCBC puts on for drivers and crews Saturday night, the car show on Sunday that helps pack the stands for the racing, and you have a wonderful vintage event.
Volvo’s are popular vintage racers in British Columbia, and there were four of them on track in Group 1 (with a fifth if you include the Honorary Volvo of the weekend – the 1800 Volvo powered Marcos G2 of Gary Madson that ran in Group 2 – Small Bore Historic). Jim Latham (Volvo 122S), Gil Stuart and Peter Valkenburg (PV 444 and PV 544 respectively), and Ralph Zbarsky (Volvo 142S – shaking down a new race car) all put in great drives. Dave Phillips (1957 Austin-Healey 100-6) is still racing the old school way – drive your car to the track, change tires, race and drive it back home. The rare 1960 Alfa Romeo Sprint Zagato of Laurie Frasier was a welcome addition to the group as well.
The Lotus 7 of Mark Brown was the fastest in Group 2 – Small Bore Historic, while the Mini’s of Geoff Tupholm and Mike Owens put on a great show. Datsuns were well represented with Paul Haym’s 510 the fastest of the three, with the 510 of Mark Finness and the 2000 roadster of Joe Deagle close behind.
Group 3 was the Large Bore Historic Group, and the technical nature of Mission Raceway was on display here. The BMW 2002’s of Ron Dempsey and Laurie Lyford, along with the 1969 Escort of John McCoy and the Cortina of Alan McColl were very quick through the backside of the course. But the Sunbeam Tiger’s of Roger Flescher and Doug Yip were faster on the long front straight. Fastest of all was the 1969 Mustang of Tom Cantrell, along with the 1969 Camaro of Paul Kuckein. The most photogenic car of the weekend, the Martini-liveried Porsche 911T of Ernie Yakimovich ran in this group, and was always in the top half of the field.
Group 4 – Open Wheel and Sports Racing Cars to through 1990 – was a bit of a mixed bag. Entries ran the gamut from Formula Vee up through the Rawlson CR11 Can-Am/ASR of Ian Wood. The different groups let the cars have their own battles with like machinery. Quickest among the Vee’s was Al Ores’ 1976 Caldwell D-13, while the 1970 Caldwell D9 of Charlie Lyford and the 1968 Lotus 51B of Andrew Morrison were among the quick cars in Formula Ford. Alan McColl was doing double duty with his 1977 Tiga FF (along with his Cortina in Group 3), but the fast times of the day for all groups were set by Ian Woods and his Rawlson.
All in all, the British Columbia Historics is a great, well-organized event. I’m looking forward to next year.
British Columbia Historic Motor Races 2010 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)