Sunday, November 30, 2008

death drives a midget, part seventeen

King of the Mounted works out the problems the evidence is presenting to him. He finds what Humpy said he'd find. Now to check the rest:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

racing novels

I look in the "literary" and juvenile sections of old book stores for weird stuff. And sometimes I find weird stuff.

Drag Strip by William Campbell Gault

Dogwood Afternoons by Kim Chapin

and many others that I'll get to in future Saturdays.

I tend to like to stop and read on occasion. Not always fact, sometimes fiction. Weekends seem to be the time for that.

Friday, November 28, 2008

totem rally

The most recent Totem Rally has been run. Happened just last weekend. Here's a link to the results.

The Totem orginally was, like the Thunderbird Rally, a UBCSCC event.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Langley Speedway, August 28, 1966

Reports have attendance between 4000 and 4500. 80 cars in the pits.

Trophy dashes

early-late flathead:
1--Ron Atfield

early-late overhead:
1--Mac Morrison

modified stock:
1--Doug Thompson

B modified:
1--Ric Senelo

A modified:
1--Len Jones
(Don Bennett and Ken Wilcox crashed on lap one. Barry Chamberlain replaced Bennett, who couldn't restart, but he along with Wilcox and Jerry Anderson all crashed on lap two. Geez, it's only a trophy dash guys!)

early-late flathead slow heat:
1--Dennis Corfe
2--Tom Walco
3--Ron Morrison

early-late flathead fast heat:
1--Harry Roberts
2--Lyn Briggs
3--John Rothwell

early-late overhead heat:
1--Clare Walsh
2--Gordie Hemrich
3--Les Spratt

modified stock heat:
1--Ron Lamont
2--Doug Thompson
(Big breath, okay 10 started. Doug Thompson spun. Then Frank McCabe and Bob Warman crashed. Then Ron Lamont, Ron Minet and Larry Gibbons crashed. A red flag for Jack Dack with Jack Graham going through the fence. Congrats to Lamont and Thompson for surviving.)

B modified heat:
1--Ric Selnelo (tough name, spelled differently each time)
2--Larry Sproule
3--Walt McKitka

A modified heat:
1--Barry Chamberlain
2--Len Jones
3--Ken Wilcox

early-late consolation:
1--Gordie Plastow

early-late flathead main:
1--Dennis Corfe
2--Russ Dools

early-late overhead main:
1--Mac Morrison
2--Don Latting
3--Les Spratt

modified stock main:
1--Ron Lamont
2--Doug Thompson

A and B modified combined main:
1--Len Jones
2--Jerry Adams (Anderson? Nibbs Anderson of Nanaimo?)
3--Ken Wilcox
(There was a five-car pileup on lap one. Tough day for all classes.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

early vancouver, part eleven

1920 in both Victoria and Vancouver with AAA cars and in late September IMCA cars. First off two races featuring northwest drivers like Jack Ross, Gus Duray, George Lott as well as some interesting local names like Arleigh Pilkey.

More about Arleigh can be found elsewhere on this blog.

24--May 22, 1920--The Willows, Victoria

--mile against time
1st, Jack Ross, Stutz 1:06 1/5
2nd, Gus Duray, Stutz 1:07 4/5
3rd, Geo. Lott, Lott Special 1:11 1/5
4th, J. Healey, Stutz Special 1:12 4/5
5th, W.R. McDonnell, Ford Special 1:15
6th, J. Buttera, Buttera Special 1:18 4/5
7th, C. Erickson, Erickson Special 1:19 3/5
8th, B. Giddings, Oh No Special 1:21 1/2
9th, G.W. Stewart, Pepp Special 1:30

--heavy cars, 5-miles
1st, Jack Ross, Stutz, 5:51 3/5
2nd, Gus Duray, 5:52
3rd, Geo. Lott, Lott Special
4th, Carl Erickson, Erickson Special

--light cars, 5-miles
1st, W.R. McDonnell
2nd, Bill Giddings, Oh No Special
3rd, James Buttera, Buttera Special
time, 6:53 2/5

--heavy cars, 8-miles
1st, Jack Ross
2nd, Gus Duray
3rd, Bill Giddings, Lott Special
4th, Carl Erickson
time, 9:19 1/5

--small cars
1st, W.R. McDonnell
2nd, Jim Buttera
3rd, Jim Healey, Oh No Special

--20-mile Victoria international free for all
1st, Jack Ross
2nd, Carl Erickson
3rd, W.R. McDonnell
time, 21:24

25--June 12, 1920--Hastings Park

--mile against time
1st, No. 8, Jack Ross 1:05
2nd, No. 7, Gus Duray 1:07
3rd, No. 11, Jim Healey 1:09 1/2
4th, No. 10, Charlie Latta 1:10
5th, No. 14, MacDonald 1:13 1/2
6th, No. 9, Erickson 1:16 1/2
7th, No. 2, Buttera 1:19
8th, No. 5, Arleigh Pilkey 1:19
9th, No. 12, Stewart 1:25

--290 cu. in. and over, 10-miles
1st, Gus Duray, Stutz, 12:52
2nd, Jack Ross, Stutz, 13:43
3rd, Erickson, Erickson Special

--light cars, 15-miles
1st, Latta, Dodge
2nd, Pilkey
3rd, Gordon Stewart, Chevrolet
4th, Erickson
time, 20:38 1/2

--20-miles, free for all
1st, Jack Ross, Stutz
2nd, Charlie Latta, Dodge
3rd, MacDonald, Ford Special
4th, Erickson, Erickson Special

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ted Havens, Greater Vancouver Pioneer, part two

Some more stuff about Ted Havens.

Here's a story about restoring his Isle of Man motorcycle. Link.

And his story at the Isle of Man site. Link.

And I'd be remiss to not add that the GVMPS 2008/2009 Yearbook is available at Trev Deeley Motorcycles and Wilkinson's Automobilia.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ted Havens, Greater Vancouver Pioneer

Ted Havens was recently inducted as a Greater Vancouver Motorsport Pioneer. He was Western Canadian Motorcycle champion numerous times and went back to race at the Isle of Man race in the 1950s.

And he still rides!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

death drives a midget, part sixteen

King continues to solve the mysteries in "Death Drives a Midget". Humpy denies that he killed anyone but seems resigned to his fate because he started the wheels rolling on these murders:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

some internet sources

Sorry, been worn out from work lately. No excuse, but that's my excuse.

Here's a series of photos from Life magazine. Lots of old racing stuff.

And Sports Illustrated has opened its archives. Put in various words in their search engine (like "automobile racing") and stories appear.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

early vancouver, part ten

The two other major races held in 1919, one in Victoria and the other at Vancouver. Gus Duray was the hot driver. He won all the feature races (4 of them) held in B.C. in 1919. And that Stutz he was driving, formerly owned by Jim Parsons of the Seattle/Tacoma area and a winning driver and dealer in the Stutz automobile himself, was hot as well.

22--August 16, 1919--The Willows, Victoria

--mile against time
1st, Henry North, Romano Special 1:09
2nd, Gus Duray, Stutz 4 1:11 2/5
3rd, George Lott, Lott Special 1:12 1/5
4th, Harry Hooper, Vulcan Kewpie 1:17 4/5
5th, Louie Nelson, Victoria Special 1:18

--heavy cars, 8-miles
1st, Henry North, Romano
2nd, Gus Duray, Stutz
time, 10:00 1/5

--light cars, 5-miles
1st, Henry North, Comet Special, 6:54 1/2
2nd, McDonnell, Ford, 7:21 1/5

--20-miles, Victoria free for all
1st, Gus Duray, Stutz
2nd, Walter Blume
3rd, Henry North, Romano
time, 26:00 2/5

--small cars, 4-miles
1st, ???, Comet
2nd, McDonnell
time, 5:40 2/5

--5-mile dash
1st, Gus Duray
2nd, Henry North, Romano
3rd, Walter Blume, Mercer
time, 6:26 3/5

--amateur, 2-miles
1st, W.J. Rennie, Ford
2nd, R. Graham, Buick
time, 3:30

23--September 18, 1919--Hastings Park

--mile against time
1st, Walter Bloom, Lott Special 1:07 3/4
2nd, Gus Duray, Stutz Special 1:09
3rd, Jack Ross, Stutz Special 1:11
4th, Henry North, Seattle Special 1:13

--290 cu. in. and over, 6-miles
1st, Gus Duray, Stutz Special
2nd, Walter Bloom, Lott Special
3rd, Jack Ross, Stutz Special
time, 6:52

--230 cu. in. and under, 5-miles
1st, Henry North, Seattle Special
2nd, ???, Comet Special
3rd, ???, Marvel Special
time, 6:49 1/2

--25-mile free for all
1st, Gus Duray, Stutz
2nd, Walter Bloom, Lott
3rd, Henry North, Seattle Special
4th, ???, Haye Special
time, 30:33 1/4

Sunday, November 16, 2008

death drives a midget, part fifteen

More King. Nep, Humpy's nephew and helper, is heard being killed. King and Cyclone find him, while the real killer gets away, and then Humpy shows up:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

reading for a rainy day

As I write this (a day ahead of time) the forecast is for rain.

I came across a website reproducing pulp fiction stories from the 1920s to the 1950s. Most are not auto racing oriented but there are a few.

Here's a link to one entitled "Midget Mayhem". After that you'll have to dig around. And if you like hardboiled detectives and other lurid tales, well this is your site.

Friday, November 14, 2008

freaky friday

A couple unrelated things:

Just finished Bob Dylan's book, Chronicles, Volume One, and noted a short passage about stock car racing in the Hibbing, MN, area.

From page 233: There was other stuff going on. Dirt track stock car racing on cool summer nights, mostly '49 or '50 Fords, bashed in cars, coffin contraptions, humpbacked cages with roll bars and fire extinguishers -- seats taken out, doors welded shut -- bumpin' and rumblin', slammin' and swivelin' on a half mile track, summersaulting off the rails...tracks littered with junkyard cars.

Reminded me that in Toby Thompson's 1969 book, Positively Main Street, one of the people he tracked down to try to sort out Bob's beginnings was a woman Bob knew during his university days, Ellen Baker. And it's pointed out that Ellen drove stock cars at one point in her life.

"Yes, well, I used to be a professional stock car driver. Nothing international or superglamourous, just races around the state."

"Powder-puff derby affairs?"

"Nope, the real thing. No sex discrimination where the big money is, at least not in these parts. I didn't do too badly, either."

Would love to find Ellen's name in some sort of results from that area or, better still, up north in Winnipeg where the clipping for an IMCA stock car race comes from. The ad and other items mention names like Don White, Ernie Derr and Johnny Beauchamp coming to Brooklands Speedway. The next year Johnny would be oh so close to winning the first Daytona 500. He was part of the photo finish that Lee Petty protested finally to be awarded the win after Johnny had been in the winner's circle after the fall of the checkered flag.

And I've wondered if Dylan (the young Robert Zimmerman) saw the big cars of the IMCA at the local fairgrounds when they came through town.

(You got your Bob Dylan questions, I got mine.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Langley Speedway, August 21, 1966

A few less cars, around 50, in the pits. But the crashes were up, or at least being reported more for this week. Good news was that the problems between the BCTRA and Craig Frazer seemed to have been settled so the announcement was that the 'TRA would be returning to Langley the next week.

About a normal 4000 in attendance.

trophy dashes --

early-late flathead --
1 -- Ron Morrison
(John Rothwell climbed the fence, while Bill Gagnon and Brian Thompson spun into the fence.)

early-late overhead --
1 -- Mac Morrison

B modified --
1 --Walt McKitka

A modified --
1 -- Barry Chamberlain

early-late flathead slow heat --
1 -- Don Shubert
2 -- John Rothwell
3 -- George Cook

early-late flathead fast heat --
1 -- Ron English
2 -- Dave Clark
3 -- Dale Kohl
(Two 3-car crashes in this race, one involved Dirk Lockwood, Ken Sayers and Dave Polk.)

early-late overhead heat --
1 -- Gordie Hemrich
2 -- Les Spratt
3 -- Barry Morgan
(15 started the race, 8 finished. Ralph Widdess and Jack Martin climbed the fence. Bruce Traig lost a wheel. Clare Walsh careened the through the pits missing everyone. And Mac Morrison spun while leading.)

combined modified stock and B modified heat --
modified stock -- Ron Lamont
B modified -- Cal Hough

A modified heat --
1 -- Don Bennett
2 -- Cal Arnold
3 -- Barry Chamberlain

early-late flathead main --
1 -- John Rothwell
2 -- Dale Kohl
3 -- Russ Dools
(Dave Polk and George Cook crashed. Dirk Lockwood spun. Dennis Corfe and Brian Thompson spun into the fence.)

early-late overhead main --
1 -- Clare Walsh (#70)
2 -- Don Lock (#8)
3 -- Les Spratt (#55)

combined modified stock, B and A modified main --
modified stock -- Ron Lamont (#35)
B modified -- Larry Sproule (#75)
A modified -- John MacPherson (#4, Bremerton, WA)

(There was a five-car pileup during the first lap of the modified main. Lee Kelly of the Examiner wrote "one lavender rear end job that had just arrived on the scene for the first time, looked very pretty before the crash....")

Kelly also made note of the 1958 Ford of Harry Ashbrook and the 1956 Ford of Otto Hein. Lee worked for George Black Motors, a Ford and Mercury dealership. Hmmmm....

Mention was made concerning the return of the BCTRA of Larry Sproule's success so far in the 1966 season. 14 trophies so far. His B modified sponsored by Highway Garage and crewed by Orville Neilsen, Ron Neilsen, Kent Williams and Bob Kehler

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

early vancouver, part nine

An early movie that played both in Vancouver and Victoria, and seemed to coincide with the automobile races.

Greased Lightning played at the Rex in Vancouver and the Royal in Victoria. Both theatres long gone.

Here's the synopsis from Turner Classic movies:

When Andy Fletcher, the inventive village blacksmith of Pipersville, demonstrates his automatic "Little Giant Potato Slicer" for a committee of skeptics, including banker Laban Flint, the machine works well until it begins to deposit peelings in the faces of the onlookers. Later, Flint, an enemy of new inventions, tells Andy that he cannot continue to court his daughter Alice if he spends all his money to buy a car. Andy trades his potato machine for a dilapidated auto, but when it breaks down on the way to the Chautaugua picnic, Alice and her father ride away with Andy's rival from the city, Alden J. Armitage, in his new car. Andy then converts his old auto into a racing car and, christening it "Greased Lightning," he enters the country fair race. Learning that Armitage is robbing the bank's safe, Andy gives up his lead to capture the crook. Flint agrees to Andy and Alice's marriage and gives them a new car.

And a link to a Charles Ray bio.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day

(Mickey McDowell in the foreground with Jack "the little man with the big cigar" Spalding in the background. Taken off a t.v. screen with my lamp behind me not turned off. Sigh....)

Have spent most of the day sorting things and listening to the radio, various broadcasts about what the day, November 11th, means. Some very moving stories.

Here's a couple pieces of writing from the Second World War by a Victoria, BC, native, Johnny Wright. Johnny's interest in racing went back to the teens and twenties in Victoria. He started corresponding with National Speed Sport News down in the U.S., I suppose, to help keep himself and others connected with the sport, bench racing. NSSN had become a monthly after being a weekly newspaper before the U.S. entered. It also had a different name before the war, National Auto Racing News.

First item is Johnny's look at midget racing in the Vancouver area.

Midget Racing In British Columbia

by Johnny Wright

Thanks for printing my stuff in the April issue, and here’s a little something that might be of interest to some of the fans, concerning midget-racing out in B.C. Midget racing in B.C. has centered around Vancouver. The boys have shown their wares at Sumas, Nanaimo and various other towns, with regular meets at Con Jones Park in that city. Many of the Northwest favorites have shown here, such as, Allan Heath, Swede Lindskog, the late Tommy Legge, Wayne Gaffney, who has held the Northwest title. The Spalding Bros. Jack and Ernie, Ray Chase, Ivan Chase, Les Anderson and a very capable lady driver Virta Warrens from down Portland, Oregon. Incidently, it was Holt Warrens who gave me some very good advice, which helped me build my midget some time ago. Also showing were Jud Fuller, Art George and a host of others.

The leading local drivers were Mickey McDowell, and Walter Armstrong, who put on some good shows of driving ability. The promotion of these races was handled by Guy Patrick, brother of Lester Patrick, who manages the New York Rangers hockey team. Another former hockey star, who was instrumental in getting midgets on their way, was Bobby Rowe, who I believe sponsored the construction of 14 Ford 60s which campaigned the Northwest. Over at Victoria the big cars have always prevailed, and only 4 midgets were built, by Bert Sutton and Jack Smith, Jimmy Laird, Neil Butler and yours truly.

These cars did most of their running at Vancouver also. They did put on some match races at Langford in conjunction with the ‘big car’ races, and the fans really seemed to go for them.

You can reach me by the following address:

K604117, Pte. Wright, J.F.

R.C.A.S.C. – C.A.P.O. No. 1

Canadian Army Overseas

(from National Speed Sport News, May 1944)

The next is from a few months later. Sad news, ultimately, in that Bert Sutton, 1938 B.C. Automotive Sports Association (BCASA) champ from 1938, had succumbed to tuberculosis.

a letter from Corp. Johnny Wright, October 1944

Dear Sir,

My issues of N.S.S.N. are still coming in, and like everyone else, I enjoy every page of them. Am just on my way back from furlough out to the coast. Saw several of the boys and they are all raring to go. Howie Haslam at Victoria is making a deal for a fast outfit. Jerry Vantreight still has his single stick ready to roll, and all are anxious for the go signal. Turned a few laps at Langford, strictly stock, but it sure felt good, and the track surface is fine. The old Chevie outfit of Sid Holdridge is still in the pits where he left it, less wheels and motor. Visited Bert Sutton, and he is in high spirits and he even drove out to Langford one day to look the old spot over. Wonder what his time was. Spent a couple days in Vancouver with Jack Spalding and he is getting together the makings of a real fast car, and everyone knows he’ll be right in there.

My little outfit still waits in the cellar, plus some parts for a big outfit later on. Jack Smith writes from overseas that he has been experimenting with motor-cycle motors, and rigged up a pretty fast combination. Has an American motor in a light single frame and apparently it will go places. This is all till I get back and see what the mails gives,

Lots of Luck,

Johnny Wright

a later notice from the same issue by Corp. Wright, Newfoundland

Another of our boys has passed on to the Golden Speedway. Bert Sutton, a real sportsman, hard driver, and an all around swell guy has passed on, following a very lengthy illness during which he was in there fighting to the last. God bless you Bert, you will always be with us in our fond memories.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

death drives a midget, part fourteen

King continues. Humpy finds out his helper didn't do it. Shorty overhears the argument and decides to continue in his horrible ways:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pete Kellond

Pete Kellond was inducted as a Greater Vancouver Motorsport Pioneer recently by the GVMPSociety. His accomplishments as a road racing motorcyclist helped the sport grow and flourish and continue to this day. Here's a couple clippings from the 1960s when Pete leaned into the turns at places like Westwood and even Daytona.

A book featuring Pete, along with 12 other new GVMPS Pioneers and smaller bios of over 100 more, can be found at various locations in the Greater (uh, Metro) Vancouver area including Trev Deeley Motorcycles.

I believe this is my 250th post. Posts, much like time, marches on. Which means I've already mentioned Pete once before on this blog. Repeating myself already but not with scrapbook content. Guys like Pete are worth mentioning more than once.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lew Florence

Lew Florence came up to both Digney Speedway in 1951 to race the midgets and in the 1960s to race sports cars. Not the only racer to go from ovals to road racing, Pete Lovely was another, Pat Piggot as well.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Langley Speedway, August 14, 1966

The newspapers of the day, at least the weekly Advance and Leader, were getting quite good at the coverage of the racing at Langley Speedway. The Sun and Province left something to be desired. The Columbian was getting there but Lee Kelly was still working for the Examiner so it wouldn't be until 1967 that they were brought up to speed. Then, they would be the newspaper to turn to for some consistent motorsport news.

5,000 people in attendance.

Over 80 cars in the pits for the early-late flathead, early-late overhead, modified stock, B modified and A modified classes from LARA, ELRA, BCTRA, Skagit and as far south as Seattle.

Red Tisdale got some attention when he did a double rollover before taking out 100 feet of fence. He wasn't seriously injured.

trophy dashes:

early-late flathead --
1 -- Carman Parton

early-late overhead --
1 -- Mac Morrison

modified stock --
1 -- Ron Lamont

B modified --
1 -- Larry Sproule

A modified --
1 -- Don Bennett

1st early-late flathead heat --
1 -- Gordie Plastow
2 -- Doug Phillips
3 -- Dave Clarke

2nd early-late flathead heat --
1 -- Frank Fletcher
2 -- Brian Thompson
3 -- Ron Morrison

3rd early-late flathead heat --
1 -- John Rothwell
2 -- Les Spratt
3 -- Mike Olshaski

early-late overhead heat --
1 -- Mac Morrison
2 -- Gordie Hemrich
3 -- Bill Strachan

B modified heat --
1 -- Ken Klatt
2 -- Larry Sproule
3 -- Vince Landry

A modified heat --
1 -- Don Bennett
2 -- John MacPherson
3 -- Cal Arnold

early-late consolation main --
1 -- Gordy Plastow

early-late flathead main --
1 -- Dennis Corfe

early-late overhead main --
1 -- Gordie Hemrich

modified stock main --
1 -- Ron Lamont

B modified main --
1 -- Larry Sproule

A modified main --
1-- Len Jones

Two Skagit names that made the news spun in their A modified heat: Don Puttnam and Al Tesch.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

early vancouver, part eight

One thing I omitted last post was a Dominion Day (July 1st) "aerial event" at Minoru Park. This involved Harry Hooper in the "Vulcan Kewpie" Stutz, owned by the Vulcan Ironworks (J.R. Duncan) racing an aeroplane for two miles.

Harry had done this before in 1916 at Hastings Park. (I seemed to have missed including that in my early Vancouver history. I'll have to remedy that shortly.) He lost then to his aeroplane competition and he again lost to the aeroplane in 1919. He did win a regular race against a Cadillac.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

George Robertson, sad news

Another racer from the past is gone. George Robertson, from Lewiston, ID, passed away October 26th at age 82. He was well known up in Canada as he raced the CAMRA circuit from its inception, finishing in the top ten points -- winning the title in 1973 -- often. He won a CAMRA event at Haney Speedway in 1963, another at Langley Speedway in 1969 (see below) and went north to Edmonton from 1957 onward for the Gold Cup and other major races there.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bill Stephens, Rose Cup winner in 1963, part three

Well, digging around does get some answers. Even I had something on the Pacific Raceways accident in July, 1963. The link shows the dnf of Bill Stephens.

Vince Howlett, "raceannouncer", has this to add from the AtlasF1 nostalgia forum thread on Listers:

As mentioned in post 17, this Lister-Chev was bought by Tom Carstens in 1959 and raced by him in 1959 and 1960. It was then sold to Lew Florence, who had a fine third in 1962 Northwest GP at Pacific Raceways, Kent, Washington, behind the Lotus 19s of Gurney and Gregory. I talked to Lew a few years ago before he passed away. He said Bonnier's Porsche people didn't give Lew much of a chance, as they thought the car was too old. Lew said, "I lapped him" (Bonnier in the flat 8 Porsche).

In 1963, Florence sold the Lister to young British Columbia university student Bill Stephens. In the 1963 Player's Pacific at Westwood, Stephens finished sixth in the first heat, and held off Pete Lovely in a Lotus 23 in the second heat for fifth overall. That was followed by a win at the Rose Cup Race at West Delta Park (Portland), where Stephens was described in CP as "...doing a satin-smooth job at the wheel of his thundering Lister-Corvette..."

Then at the 1963 Kent USRRC, he is listed as "...spun off course, wrecked..." A few years ago, Bill told me "...I had been running well at the time and was moving up through the field after a rather nervous start. I was beginning to feel that top 5, or even better was in the cards. Then disaster struck. I approached the fast ess curves (about 2/3 way through the lap) at my usual speed of approx. 135 mph. However, since my last time through a small rainstorm had hit on only this part of the track, normally it would not have been too much of a problem, but I was pressing, and lost it at the first part of the curve. I was sure I had saved it sliding up the hill, but to my surprise the car let go again and I hit the left side embankment pretty hard. Probably at about 100mph. I wasn't hurt, but the car was. I was racing on a shoestring budget, and the only way I could pay for the repair work to that aluminum body, was to sell the car...I had planned to race the Lister in California, however the crash I had at PRI ended that plan as I had to sell the car in order to pay for the repairs!!..." Bill now lives in Kelowna, B.C.

Then in 1964, to Stan Bennett. From Martin Rudows book, Bennett says "...I got the car for $5500--it still had a great engine in it..." All I have at the moment is Kent USRRC, May 10, 1964, 16th, 55 laps.

The clippings come from the UBC student newspaper, The Ubyssey, which is online, and if you dig hard enough you can find gems like this upbeat story on an up and coming racer. Of course, stuff happens....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

death drives a midget, part thirteen

King continues, as does the investigation. But Shorty Spade has a plan to get Cyclone into his midget to race again. A dastardly plan no doubt:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bill Stephens, Rose Cup winner in 1963, part two

Here's something found on the Vintage Race Club of B.C. website, written by Bob Hayes. This somewhat answers my question re. Stephens and the Lister:

With the destruction of the Jaguar factory by fire in 1956, the need for a replacement for the D-Type Jaguar was required, Brian Lister a successful race car builder in England was contracted to build a car using the Jaguar driveline in a competitive chassis. For 1957/58 he built 18 cars with lightweight aluminum bodies (some were even made with magnesium bodies) which were called Knobbly Listers due to the unusual shape of its body. The first two of these cars were sent to Briggs Cunningham to replace his D-Type Jaguars. He put Walter Hansin in one for the 1958 National Championship which he won with ease. Another seven Lister's went to a dealership owned by Texan's Jim Hall (of Chaparral fame) and Carroll Shelby who put Corvette motors in them and sold them to enthusiasts throughout North America. One of these cars came to the Pacific NorthWest to Tom Carstens in 1957. Tom ran the car then sold it in 1958 to Al Dean of Deans Van Lines for another Northwest driver Bill Pollack drive in the LA Times Grand Prix. After a few more years of hard use this cars was in a destroyed by fire at Riverside (they had to use a front end loader to extinguish the fire by dumping sand on it due to the magnesium), it is rumored that the car is still there under the sand where it was buried in 1962 outside turn 1.

Tom replaced this Lister with a new Costin-bodied Lister (one of approximately 40 built) which had a more pleasing shape but actually was less aerodynamic and slower than the previous cars for the 1959 season. Tom raced this car several times here in the Northwest, placing 2nd in June 1959 at Maryhill Loops, retiring at Shelton in August 1959, and winning at Shelton in 1960. He attempted to sell the car in June of 1960 and eventually sold it to fellow Northwest competitor Lew Florence in March of 1962. Lew raced it first at the July race in Kent, and had an excellent race in September when he placed third behind Dan Gurney and Masten Gregory at Seattle's Northwest Grand Prix; he finished the season at Riverside in October.

He sold the car that winter to Ladner's Bill Stephens for $5,000. Bill was a 22 year old UBC student at the time and had been racing locally for 5 years in a Porsche 356. He and his friends (Harry Holland and Ian Bailey) prepared the 1600 lb car for the 1963 season. The engine was a 327 Chevrolet Corvette motor that had been modified by Edelbrock in California to produce over 400hp, allowing a top speed of 160MPH. He had purchased the car with the hopes of going professional sports car racing full time. In the May 4th 1963 Western Canadian Championships races at Westwood he placed 6th in the first heat and 3rd in the final heat to finish 3rd overall.

Bill Stephens in #62 passing Stan Burnett's Ferrari at the hairpin. Photo by Mike McBride

Bill raced his Bardahl sponsored Costin-Lister winning the May 26th race at Westwood, and The Rose Cup in Portland where he out dueled fellow Vancouver racer Bob McLean.
Unfortunately in the July United States Road Racing Championship race at Seattle, he had a serious crash effectively ending his season. Note-Vic Edelbrock campaigning a 1959 Costin-Lister (SN BLH130), equipped with a 338cu in Chevrolet, had a serious crash at a recent Pacific Northwest Historic race at Seattle when he rolled it on the short high speed straight on the bottom of the hill, the same place that Bill Stephens crashed his Lister-Corvette 40 years ago.

He eventually had to sell the car to Portland's Stan Bennett the following winter to pay for the repair bill. Bennett raced it in 1964 with no success then sold to another Portland racer Bob Erickson who placed 13th at the Laguna Seca USRRC race in 1965.