View Desktop

The butt of the Goodyear joke

One cheeky photo taken at the first Canadian Grand Prix in 1967 caught Norris McDonald’s eye.

Published August 19, 2011
0

Comment

Several years ago, I bought a copy of the 1967-’68 Automobile Year yearbook. It had information on the first F1 Grand Prix of Canada, which took place at Mosport 44 years ago this month.

The report of the race was interesting, as were the accompanying photographs. One in particular caught my eye. (as I’m sure it would yours). It was of a young Jackie Stewart (how young? he had a short, sharp haircut, that’s how young) pasting a Goodyear Tire sticker onto the bikini bottom that was covering the posterior of a young woman leaning up against a fence down near Corner One.

Hmmm, I thought to myself at the time. I wonder how I can get a copy of that picture?

As it’s turned out, I not only got a copy of the picture of Stewart and the 20-something girl in the bathing suit but I actually got to interview the now 60-something woman who was wearing it that day.

Her name is Izzie Dulmage (née Bain, of Toronto). She lives in Windsor to be near her daughter and grandchildren and can remember everything about that summer of ’67 except for one thing: the Grand Prix.

“I can remember the parties and the social things,” she said on the phone earlier this week. “But if I try to think about the race itself, I draw a blank.”

Which is understandable, because it’s a long, long time ago and there was so much going on at Mosport that year, which was Canada’s Centennial.

Not only did the Formula One cars and their famous drivers come to race, but the Indy cars and stars of the U.S. Auto Club came too.

As the Indy cars raced first at Mosport, it was one of their drivers who first discovered Dulmage (who’s Danica-sized: 5-foot-tall weighing 100 lbs.) and her two-piece bathing suit.

“I had a girlfriend, Nancy Davidge, who was a member of BARC (British Automobile Racing Club) and who marshaled at Mosport,” Dulmage said.

“I owned a sports car, an MG Midget. Nancy and I were good friends and it seemed like fun so I joined BARC too.”

Dulmage was trained to be a marshal and was one of the people “on the phones” who handled the lights — “flashing yellow, flashing white, that sort of thing. A senior marshal was always there and told me which button to push. On practice days, when there weren’t that many people available, I could flag but on race days, I was on the phones.”

Now, back then, marshals stood beside the track in good weather and bad. Sometimes the sun would be out and there wouldn’t be any shade and it would be hot, hot, hot. So Dulmage took to wearing her bathing suit underneath her white marshal’s coveralls. When a practice session would end, she’d take off the coveralls to cool down.

Indy car driver Joe Leonard saw her one day, as he was first out of the pits in his car and she was just finishing doing up her coveralls. He introduced himself to her later when he saw her in the paddock.

“It was through him that I met many of the other drivers,” she laughed.

“I’d already met Mario Andretti when I went with the Firestone guys out to the airport to pick him up. He joked around with me all weekend.”

Six weeks later, the Formula One circus arrived and Dulmage was again at her post and wearing her bathing suit.

She was walking through the paddock one day when a photographer saw her and her photo appeared on the cover of the Toronto Star Sports section on Sat., Aug. 26.

But as Goodyear wasn’t a Star advertiser at the time, the sticker was “whited out” and it just looked like she was wearing a two-tone swimsuit.

“The Goodyear guys had asked me to put it on there as a joke,” she said. “So I was standing by the fence between practice sessions, cooling off, when Jackie Stewart came along. Some of the spectators pointed me out to him, and there was a photographer there, and one thing led to another and they took a picture of him pretending to put the sticker on my suit. He never touched me. It made for a funny photo, though.”

Although she can’t remember anything about the race, which was won by Jack Brabham, with Denis Hulme second and Dan Gurney third, she has a vivid recollection of the aftermath.

“My girlfriend Nancy and I were driving through Bowmanville on our way home after the race,” she said. “We decided to stop at the Flying Dutchman (a motor inn that’s still there, except now it’s a Howard Johnson’s) because we knew the drivers were there.

“We wound up in Colin Chapman’s room. Jimmy Clark, who was my favourite, and Graham Hill and — I think — Chris Amon were there and they were drinking champagne. Jimmy had won a case of champagne for winning the pole position.

“Somebody said. ‘Let’s go swimming,’ and so we all got in the pool. It was great fun. They were using a pool bumper for a football. Clark threw it at me and I missed catching it and it hit me in the eye and gave me a black eye.

“I was so proud of that black eye. I told everybody how I got it.”

Norris McDonald blogs about auto racing every day at wheels.ca

nmcdonald@thestar.ca