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A Remarkable Event of “Classic Beauties” and Vintage Racing

VARAC 2010 – 31st Annual Vintage Racing Festival at Mosport

The Vintage Automobile Racing Club of Canada (VARAC) held its 31st Annual Vintage Racing Festival at Mosport International Raceway, Ontario, Canada, enjoying great weather and exciting racing while hosting the annual “MG Vintage Racer’s – Focus Event”. Since 1995 the MG Vintage Racers have annually teamed up with one vintage racing organization for their designated “Focus Event” and this year a large turnout of MGs of all types and years came to enjoy magnificent Mosport. This year’s festival also celebrated the 50th season of racing at this iconic race track.


It was a fun and full weekend, including the opportunity to be entertained by well known motorsport author and novelist, Burt “The Ride Mooch” Levy at the Saturday evening banquet.  VARAC also played host to Canada’s largest Mini gathering, Mini Meet North, as well as the “Field of Dreams” car show that welcomed sports cars, and car clubs from far and wide with the opportunity to take part in Sunday noon parade laps on-track.



Large fields were the order of the day in Vintage and Small Bore where 62 cars took to the field while 49 cars contested the Historic class.

MG Feature Race

This was the event that everyone was looking forward to with MGVR bringing their magnificent machines to Mosport once again. 38 cars took the track in the all MG feature on Sunday, won by the well driven MG Midget of Nick Pratt, who held off John Targett and Joe Lightfoot’s MGBs for the win. VARAC’s Frank Mount was also on track in this event in his 1946 MG TC, celebrating his appearance at Mosport 50 seasons ago! Well done, Frank! What a sight to see as all the MGs passed by in a long stream of classic sports cars, upright 1940’s TC’s racing with the sleeker, more modern late sixties MGBs.



While all the MGs looked great it seemed many onlookers were most impressed with the older TC’s and TD’s, which were well driven and really popular with the fans. Watching the older cars, with the driver’s elbows out in the wind, juggling the big steering wheels to keep these beautiful classic cars on line was a sight to behold. MGVR is the oldest single marque vintage race support group in North America, they always seem to have great fun and the fans absolutely loved it!

Pratt led almost all the way finishing almost nine seconds ahead of Targett while Joe Lightfoot and Jim Austof (MGB) exchanged third and fourth positions with Lightfoot finishing ahead. Brian McKie, 1965 MGB, place fifth, Richard Rzepkowski, 1971 MG Midget, sixth, Phil Cooper, 1974 MGB, seventh, Manley Ford, first of the TD’s in eighth, Larry Smith, 1962 MG Midget in 9th, Alan Costich, 1968 MGB, 10th, Richard Jefferson’s 1967 Austin Healey Sprite, 11th and Dan Wilson, 1963 MGB finished 12th.  


Group 70+

Group 70+ has proved to be a hugely popular class in VARAC with this years field including the usual large number of Porsches, (14) as well as Camaros, Firebirds, an E Type Jaguar, a Ford Mustang, three 240Z Datsuns, four BMWs, a Corvette, a Mercedes Cosworth 190E, a 1968 122S Volvo, two Honda Civics, and an Alfa Romeo GTV 6. Interestingly, this race also saw an appearance by a driver in his 50th season at Mosport with Walt MacKay piloting his 1987 Ford Mustang around the very same track where he won the 40 lap formula junior race at the inaugural pro event, the Players 200 back in 1961. “Had a great weekend with the Mustang in the G70+ group,” said Walt, “Just as much fun as it was fifty years ago!”  



34 of these more modern Group 70+ cars survived a certain amount of attrition to run the Sunday feature, won by Blaise Csida (Corvette) over Bryce Lee (Mustang) with Marcus Glarner’s 1973 BMW three-litre CSL “Batmobile” making a last lap pass on Andrew Romocki’s 1989 Porsche 944 Turbo for third place.


Wings and Slicks

In the “Wings and Slicks” field it was the 1979 March 79V of Fletcher Belt winning the Sunday feature over Jim Hallman, Swift DB2 and Tom Pixley, 1978 Wheeler Super Vee.




Belt led from start to finish, finishing just over four seconds ahead of Hallman, while David Calafato’s 1989 Swift DB2 V52 experienced some issues and dropped from second, finishing fifth at the flag. This hoisted Hallman up to second while Pixley moved up to third place. Scott Livingston’s 1983 March S2000 finished fourth with David Calafato fifth, Rob Stammers, 1985 Van Diemen RF 85 in sixth, Gary Tholl, 1984 Reynard F84 seventh, Glen Grainger, 1980 Tiga SC80 finished in eighth position, with Gord Leach unfortunately dropping out on lap three in his 1974 Hawke D11.    



The “just for fun” Enduro was won by the Davies 1978 Lola T492 ahead of Jim Hallman, 1982 Swift DB 2 and Travis Engen, 1962 Lotus 23B. 33 cars took the start flag with an eclectic mix of cars including everything from a 1948 MG TC to a 1989 Porsche 944 Turbo! Gridding for this fun run was “first come first served” so the smart guys were up to the grid early in anticipation of one or two laps of open track. There were a ton of widely varying cars out there and with a compulsory five minute pit stop there was going to be a good deal of traffic and lapping going on, to say the least.




With lap times varying from 1:29.997 to 2:02.38 it was going to be “Hey! Nice to see you again!” Yup, it was definitely time to watch the mirrors and mind the quicker traffic! Among the widely varied mix of cars out there it was great to see the father and son duo of Fred and Randy Samson competing in dad’s 1969 Lotus Elan Plus 2. Randy was 16 when the Lotus became part of the family in 1980. The 1969 Lotus Elan Plus 2 had originally been purchased in kit form by Canadian racer Hugh Cree, before selling it to Fred Samson, who decided to give racing a try when he retired from his job as a buyer for Sears in 1997 at the age of 60. He fitted the Lotus with a roll bar and harness and other suitable modifications, but says it hasn’t been totally stripped, retaining things like the power window motors and a tape deck. And what better way to celebrate Father’s Day then co-drive the VARAC Enduro with your son? Well done, Fred and Randy Samson! 



In the Sunday Monoposto feature Travis Engen (First overall and first in Class FB) led the way home in his 1970 Chevron B17B, followed by Charles Livingston (1971 March 719 FF, first in class FFord) and Howie Freeman (1968 Merlyn Mk11, second in class FFord). Next was Phil Lamont, (First in Class JE with his 1960 Lotus 18 F Jr.) and Doug Elcomb second in class JE (1961 Dreossi Canada Class) dueling for fourth. Elcomb was recently invited to race at the prestigious Goodwood Revival in his unique Dreossi. “I had a great time “dancing” with Doug Elcomb’s Dreossi in most of the sessions” said Phil Lamont afterwards. “He is so quick in the corners; he helped me raise my game – I was pretty rusty after a long layoff. My Lotus is faster up the straight, but it was more fun to follow him up the straight and then chase him through the twisty bits.



All in all a fun weekend, lots of track time, wish we had more Monoposto cars. Best of British luck to Doug and Scooter – only the second VARAC entry to be invited to Goodwood. The Historic Formula Junior Association in the UK was mightily impressed with Doug and the Dreossi when they visited North America”.  Engen, Livingston and Freeman ran one, two, three throughout the race with Lamont and Elcomb swapping places with the 1968 Titan of Bill Bovenizer. Behind these three were James Van Deureen, 1969 Merlyn Mk 17 FF and Claude Gagne 1972 Lotus 61M.   


 Vintage and Small Bore

The long procession of cars streamed by on the pace lap seemingly without end and the fans were looking forward to an exciting race. They were not disappointed. The huge field of Vintage and Small Bore cars was headed home Sunday by the smoothly driven 1956 Lotus XI of Brian MacEachern.



Second place went to the equally beautiful 1956 Lotus XI Le Mans of Glenn Stephens with Nick Pratt (MG Midget) third. The two gorgeous Lotus sports racers were the class of the field, working their way through crowds of lapped traffic followed by Pratt, while behind them came a crowd pleasing trio of rapid Minis with Terry Milnes 1966 Mini Cooper “S” leading Andy Nelson and Dyrk Bolger across the finishing line. This was a hugely entertaining race as Nick Pratt confirmed afterwards. “In the feature I had a really great start,” said Nick “passing two of the Minis on the inside of turn two at the top and the red Lotus 11 on the outside halfway down. That put me in third behind a Mini and the other Lotus XI. However, the second Lotus soon caught me up but I drafted the Mini up the back straight, passed him about halfway up and that was that. The Minis really never got close enough to worry about so I finished third as I had done in the Saturday race.”

The fans were left buzzing about the Minis, all packed together, under-steering their way down through Mosport’s intimidating turn two, what a sight! Joe Lightfoot (1965 MGB # 169) said “ I sat out the Sunday morning races and watched the group B and C races from corner two. The Minis, racing nose to tail, was a real treat for the spectators. The old MG TCs and TDs were running way further up in the grid than I would have ever thought possible!”



It was roll out the heavy duty equipment time in this race as the mighty Shelby Mustang of Anthony Polito finished first while the big V8 Kiki’s of Craig Pick and Doug Durrell rumbled to second and fourth respectively.



Travis Engen started third from last and finessed his way through the traffic, finishing third in his nimble little Lotus 23B with Jack Boxstrom’s Chaparral starting dead last and powering his way up to sixth place at the flag.  Boxstrom was doing double duty all weekend, hopping from his Aston Martin DB4 GT into the Chaparral between races. Fortunately with a field this big (49 cars entered) everyone played nice and the quick guys managed to navigate some expensive machinery through the back markers to the finish. Polito’s Mustang jumped into an early lead and was not to be headed, while Craig Pick in the Kiki hung onto second for the entire race. Doug Durrell’s Kiki ran third most of the race until Travis Engen in the Lotus 23B managed to make his way up through the traffic to take third with a couple of laps to go. This also dropped Ted Michalos in his 1972 Mallock down a spot to fifth while Joe Canella’s Alfa was pipped for fifth place as Boxstrom got by him in the Chaparral, having started last.  




Thanks a bunch!

Congratulations on a great event are in order to lots of people, including our 50th year veteran drivers, to the VARAC executive, Festival Director Walter Davies, Race Director Stefan Wiesen, Poster and T Shirt designer Don Hooten, the VARAC ladies and gentlemen responsible for the Pot Luck Dinner, the wonderful people handling Registration, Paddock, Tech, Off Track, On Track, our terrific marshals, the Banquet, all well done. Pat McDiarmid & Crew, Mike Nielsen and wife Mary, John Nelson and the great CTA timing crew, Peter Jackson and wife Aileen Ashman, Mosport Marshalling Service, …hope we didn’t forget anyone, because it was a marvelous event!




Tommy Hoan Cup

First MG T Series: sponsored by the “MG Vintage Racers.” This is in honor of Tommy Hoan who was from Hamilton, Ontario and raced MGTC’s from 1950 to 1953 in Canada and the US, almost always winning his class, and often beating other much superior cars, in the early days of street racing. This year’s winner was Manley Ford.

Van Worsdale Trophy

First MGA: sponsored by VARAC, in honor of vintage racer Van Worsdale who received the North Toronto Motorsport Club’s “Club Championship Award” 50 years ago – in 1957. Van was racing a MGTD Mk–II back then, and later raced an MGA, and still competes in VARAC today. First MGA and winner of the Van Worsdale Trophy was Mark Brandow, with Tom Baumgardner finishing second among MGAs, and David Good coming in third in his first race.

Al Pease Trophy

First Overall MG in the MG race: Sponsored by VARAC in honor of Al Pease, a member of Canada’s MotorSport Hall of Fame. Al first cut his teeth racing an MGA and then an MGB, with full BMC sponsorship, before moving on to the big time.

the 2010 winner was Nick Pratt.

MGB GT V8 Challenge Trophy

Annually presented by the MG Vintage Racers to the winner of the Focus Event MG Feature, the 2010 winner was Nick Pratt.

President’s Trophy

This award for first MG Midget finishing was awarded to guess who, the ubiquitous Nick Pratt. Congratulations on a great weekend Nick!


Simms Cup

Presented annually to a MG racer selected as “Having demonstrated superior driving skills – in a MG prepared to an outstanding level of race readiness – while still maintaining its vintage character.” It was established in 1998 and its roots go back to the “Alitalia Trophy” which the Canadian Automobile Sports Car Club used to award – and was won by Tony Simms. This year’s winner was Manley Ford.

MGVR Spirit Award

Also known as the “Big Copper Bucket” this is awarded every year at the MGVR Focus Event. Voted by MG racing peers to the person best representing “The Spirit of MG Vintage Racing”. This year’s winner was VARAC’s David Holmes, new owner of the Tommy Hoan MG TC.

“Bill Hirst Memorial Cup”

Presented at the VARAC Vintage Festival to the winner of a featured race as determined by the Hirst family.  In its first year, the Cup was awarded to the sports racing class (Lowell Blossom, Elva Mk 7) and this year the cup went to Brian MacEachern, 1956 Lotus XI.



For more images of the Event click – HERE.




Courtesy of Jeremy Sale | © RIF