Circa 1969 — The biggest name and easily the greatest drag racer of all time, Don Garlits also known as “Big Daddy”, stands next to his his AA fuel dragster “Swamp Rat” while examining the starting area of Edmonton Speedway before taking a practice run. He was touring Canada and the northern US with Jerry Ruth who he raced in a series of match races at any track that would pay them to show up. It was a way to make some extra money in between the big national races in the states. It’s not a great picture except for the details such as the beater pickup that was his push/tow truck and the fact he’s alone. I don’t remember him even having a mechanic with him at the track which would have been useful as, if I again remember correctly, Garlits blew up in the first race and had to rebuild the engine himself which he barely managed in time for the second round, which he lost.
August 31st 1997 — Greg Moore with his father before the start of the Molson Indy Vancouver car race around False Creek; twenty years ago today.
August 31st 1997 — Twenty years ago the Indy-Car race around False Creek attracted over a hundred thousand spectators. Noise eventually killed it. There’s a new series just started, however, called Formula E. The “E” stands for electric and the race cars with battery powered electric motors make about as much noise as a sewing machine. Just the sort of event to enhance the green image our elected city officials want for Vancouver.
June 14th, 1970 — Eppie Wietzes (94) driving a McLaren M10B on his way to winning the Canadian Road Race Championship event at Edmonton International Speedway. Second in Bill Brack (85) in a Lotus 70. The dust is from cement thrown onto the track to pick up oil spilled on an earlier lap.
June 20th, 1971 — These pictures of a George Follmer pit stop which I recently discovered in my files shows why it was so much fun in the old days to photograph motor racing. There I was taking pictures from the middle of pit lane during a Trans Am car race at Edmonton International Speedway and considering there was a fire in the pits on the previous lap — you can see the mess being cleaned up in the background of of the picture below — it was probably the most dangerous place on the track but the pictures were worth it. Up close with a wide angle lens not a telephoto; unobtainable today. That’s car owner Bud Moore sticking his head inside Follmer’s car.
The 50th anniversary of the legendary Can-Am sports car racing series is happening in 2016. Pictures in my archives taken between 1968-1971 at the Klondike 200 race held at Edmonton International Speedway were to be uploaded a few pictures at a time over the next week or so but an executive decision has been made and the pictures were uploaded together into a gallery HERE in the projects section of this blog. Note, there are over 180 pictures in the gallery so it might take a while to load. There were two galleries uploaded early this month of Canadian drivers and Team McLaren. They have been removed and the pictures included in the projects gallery. The car above is a McLaren possibly driven by John Cordts in 1969.
July 27th, 1969 — The worst fear of a sports photographer is to have the greatest picture in the world happen right in front of him only to look at the just developed film fresh from the fix and find a referee’s backside blocking his view just as he pushed the shutter. It’s kind of what happened to me as Denny Hulme crossed the finish line to win the Klondike 200 Can-Am car race at Edmonton International Speedway. This time it was the starter and it wasn’t the greatest shot in the world and actually it was planned because I knew the habits of this particular starter. “Sure John, you planned it, really you did, …”
July 27th, 1969 — A member of the Goodyear Racing Division turns a racing slick into a hammock to catch a nap during practice for the Klondike 200 CanAm sports car race in Edmonton while the rest of the crew in the background play cards. I doubt this scene would ever happen in the hyper competitive and expensive racing we have today. Note that the “slicks” of this earlier era actually had tread. Also of note is that there are two big car races this weekend, the Indy 500 and the Formula 1 race in Monaco.
Aug 22nd 1982 — In the picture above #14 Josele Garza in a Ralt RT4/82 leads #22 Riley Hopkins, #13 Whitney Ganz, #23 Danny Sullivan, and #33 Mark Akerstream through the hairpin at Westwood Racing Circuit in Coquitlam during a Formula Atlantic Race. Below, the eventual winner of the race #5 Tommy Phillips, leads through the esses on the first lap.
May 30th, 1976 — Gilles Villeneuve in a March 76B leads Tom Klausler in a Lola T460 to the first corner of a rainy Players Formula Atlantic Series Race at Westwood Race Track in Coquitlam. Villeneuve dropped out of the race on the 24th lap with an oil leak.