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Vintage race cars: The way it was, eh?

<p>As part of Mosport's 50th anniversary celebrations, the Vintage Automobile Racing Association of Canada held its 31st annual festival at the weekend.</p>

<p>As part of Mosport International Raceway’s 50th anniversary celebrations, the Vintage Automobile Racing Association of Canada (VARAC) held its 31st annual racing festival at the weekend. </p>
<p>I was at one of the practice days with my camera and a borrowed crash helmet.</p>
<div><strong>See below </strong>
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<p><strong>Walter Davies, of Toronto, VARAC president; 1971 Ford Escort:</strong></p>
<p>“I spent my late twenties in England roaring around the North Yorkshire national park in a 1300 cc Escort, dreaming that it had the BDA Cosworth engine. It took me 40 years, but I eventually did get one with a 2-litre BDA . . . a pretty spectacular car with an amazing engine. It develops about 260 horsepower, a ridiculous amount of power.”</p>
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<p><strong>Walt Davies, of Vienna, Austria, (Walter’s son), driving his dad’s 1978 Lola T-492: </strong></p>
<p>“I pilot Airbuses for flyNiki, Niki Lauda’s airline. He has his captain’s ticket and flies often to keep it current. If I’m his first officer, we talk a lot of racing. I put a camera on the Lola last time out and showed him the video. He was saying things like, ‘Oh, no, you should’ve been more to the left . . . ’ It’s not everyone who gets coaching from a three-time Formula One world champion!”</p>
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<p><strong>Martin Walford, of Birmingham, England, driving Dean and Don Butler’s 1949 MG-TC:</strong></p> <br />
<p>“I met one of the Butlers about 18 years ago racing in the U.K. We’ve raced all over the world since. They live in Cincinnatti and I’ve raced at Mid-Ohio. But I’d never been to Canada. Mosport is an awesome track. It’s a challenge in the MG, which is essentially a pre-war design. But it’s right-hand drive so I’m at home with that.”</p>
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<p><strong>Darlene Henderson, of Peterborough, with Richard Navin’s MGB:</strong></p>
<p>“I’m on the grid crew, getting the cars properly positioned before they go out on the track. I used to be a photographer here and then they got me doing this. It’s only my third race but I’m loving it. It’s interesting, always different. Last week, it was NASCAR racers.”</p>
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<p><strong>David Holmes, of Elmira, Ont.; 1949 MG TC: </strong></p>
<p>“This is the car that Tommy Hoan, one of the real racing veterans, ran pretty much as a new car at the old Edenvale track in 1950. It’s been gone for a lot of years but it runs beautifully. I only got it a week ago, from Williamsville, N.Y.; I was very lucky to find it. I’ve put Tommy’s name on the car and his old racing number, even the same font he used, from when he raced it at Watkins Glen in 1953. I hope to run it there this year. It’s right-hand drive; I still sometimes almost get in the wrong side.”</p>
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<p><strong>Rosanne Cheeseman, of Erie, Pa., with Lucy the dog and her husband James “Van” Deurzen in his Merlin Formula Ford:</strong></p>
<p>“I’m publisher of the <em>Erie Times-News</em> and probably the only newspaper publisher who’s also a crew chief. I can’t even stand to go 50 mph around the track myself but to see the smile on his face after he’s done it is worth all the worry. Yeah, when you see your husband’s name and blood type on his helmet every time you strap him in, you worry.”</p>
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<p><strong>Richard Poxon, of Bailieboro, Ont., 1963 3.8-litre Jaguar Mark II:</strong></p>
<p>“I drive the car to the track so the law says I have to have the racing numbers covered. The law . . . this was the car that was used for getaways by bank robbers in the U.K. Finally, the police got smart and bought their own Mark IIs. This is as close as I could get to the old British racing green, which is very hard to find now. The new version of BRG is almost black.”</p>
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<p><strong>Race director Stefan Wiesen, of Caledon: </strong></p>
<p>“I race with VARAC, too, but this weekend I’m the boss! I love Mosport. It’s a beautiful track: so many great corners, perfectly strung together. A wonderful rhythm. Very challenging but also very fast. Le Mans is faster, of course, and Spa and maybe Monza. But Mosport is right up there in terms of lap speeds.”</p>
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<p><strong>Joe Alexander, Orangeville; 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350:</strong></p>
<p>“There are only a few of them racing but I don’t worry about that as long as I don’t smash it up . . . famous last words! It’s been a race car since ‘68. It has the 289-cubic-inch V8 and four-speed top-loader transmission. It’s a little heavy on the corners. I blow by everyone on the straights and then they catch me in the twisty bits.”</p>
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<p><strong>Phil Lamont, of St. Margaret’s Bay, N.S., a former Mosport circuit-manager; 1960 Lotus 18 Formula Junior:</strong></p>
<p>“This particular car was one of the last ones made, but the model was considered a landmark; the first rear-engine Lotus. Jim Clark drove one for Team Lotus. This is first time I’ve fired it up this year.”</p>
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<p><strong>John Burgess, of Caledon; 1956 1600cc MGA:</strong></p>
<p>“This car’s only for show this weekend. We think it might be an old Sebring 12-hour car and we’re hoping to get some information. I picked it up out of a barn in Lindsay three years ago. Everything looks right, even the two lights behind the driver’s door, which is how they picked out the car from the pits at night.”</p>
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<p><strong>Marcus Glarner, of Port Perry; 1973 BMW three-litre CSL “Batmobile:”</strong></p>
<p>“I bought it in Switzerland in the early ‘90s. It was a basket case. It had done a lot of hill-climbing and European touring-car races. I don’t worry about racing it. Cars are meant to be driven. There’s no fun in buying something beautiful and just looking at it.” </p>
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<p><strong>Jeff Clark, of Kars, Ont. (in the racing suit); 1971 Triumph GT6:</strong></p>
<p>“This is my first official race and this is a tired little car. It needs some work. But we’ll have won if we take it home in one piece. It’s raced at Watkins Glen but the last stamp in the logbook is 1983. We dragged it out of a field.”</p>
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<p><strong>Doug Durrell, of Kingston; 1967 home-built Kiki Mark III:</strong></p>
<p>“It only looks like a Lotus. It has a 302-cubic-inch Ford V8. I built several of these. It’s a mild, street engine but it goes and goes and goes. Easy maintenance and very torquey. I can get around Mosport with only two gear-shifts a lap. This last 10 years, though, the car’s been faster than I have.”</p>

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