February 2017 Pit Signals

The February 2017 edition of VARAC Pit Signals by Jeremy Sale has been released!

Click here to download your personal copy.

VARAC Pit Signals

Features this month include:

  • Nick and The Boys Go Ice Racing by Nick Pratt
  • Bob Long, a Legend in Canadian Racing
  • A GSM Delta!
  • Former Al Mason BFG Corvette by Perry Mason
  • 2017 Put-In-Bay Road Races Celebrating Alfa and All Italian Cars
  • John Sambrook… not quite an elder statesman
  • Updating the Yellow Flag Rule
  • Photos from Palm Beach International Raceway from Paul Madder
  • … Classifieds and more!

Bob Long, A Canadian Racing Legend

by Jeremey Sale

Bob Long is a legend in Canadian racing circles having raced almost continuously since the 1950s! Now, in VARAC circles, a few of our guys started racing in the fifties but I would bet none of them has done lately what Bob has, which is to turn in a lap time of 1:25.60, he did this in 2016 at the age of 79! He has raced everything from a Mini, Camaro, Mustang, MGAs, Formula Fords, Xpits, (pronounced “speets” btw) plus a Mallock with Rotary Mazda engine.Bob Long 2

I checked an old (Dec, 1967) Track and Traffic of mine and found an article quoting Bob Long as saying F4 is “for someone who wants to race competitively without spending a fortune”.  There was at the time a price limit on the cars set by the FIA, which would bring the cost after shipping, duty and taxes to about $2,300. (In case you are wondering the wonders of the Internet tell me that would be about $17,000 today.) In the article Bob said that he had always been concerned about the cost of racing discouraging many novices and had been looking for a class that wouldn’t require a lot of money to be competitive. He went to Europe in January of 1967 and visited a number of manufacturers. He drove a Suzuki powered 250cc car around the Castle Combe race track and decided to import Johnny Walker Racing Ltd machines through his firm A and E Motors.

Chris Haley is a long time friend/crew/racer with Bob and he very kindly contributed the following notes.

“Bob started racing in 1958 at Green Acres with his partner Bill Steele, driving a Morris Minor with a 60hp Ford flathead V8 installed. There were lots of little issues with cooling and so on, and as they went along it worked out thBob Long 4at Bill became the driver and Bob more the mechanic.  In the early sixties they designed and built a tiny sports racer that they called the “Curloo”. It was powered by a 6 cylinder Mercury outboard motor and had “tiller” steering setup like a motorcycle.  This car would pull the front wheels off the ground in third gear! But it was only raced a couple of times by Bill.   In the mid sixties Bill decided to stop racing, so Bob didn’t race for a year or two. Later on he happened to be reading a British automotive magazine in 1966 that had an ad in it for a small formula car made by Johnny Walker
.   He went over to look at them and test. He ended up ordering one for himself and one for his friend Jim Johnston, and so the first Formula Fours came to Canada. They started out with 250cc Suzuki Hustler motors, and as I remember, over the years moved to a Honda 305cc, a 650cc Triumph Bonneville (this is about the time I got involved in about 1970), 750cc Honda 4, 750cc Suzuki 2 stroke (water buffalo), 750 Kawasaki and different versions of the Suzuki 750cc GSXR.  The Three Quarter Litre Association (http://www.formulafour.com/history.htm) came to be around 1970 and since that time Bob has won the association championship at least 14 times, the CASC F4 championship at least 5 times, CASC Regional Overall Points Championship twice and the LASC (London Automobile Sport Club) speed championship countless times!

Currently, from my research, Bob is the only active driver in CASC to have raced continuously in seven decades, from the 1Bob Long 3950’s to the 2010’s.   By this I mean he has raced at least once in every decade in this range.  I have known Bob since 1965 when I met him through my father and then worked for him as a shop cleanup boy in the late 60’s, early 70’s.  I raced for him in the early 70’s when he had two F4 cars and I have crewed for him continuously since 1986, although he has had the odd year off when he may have sold a car and not had the next one ready. There were also a couple of forced retirements in there for medical issues. Oh yeah, by the way, he will be 80 on July 20, 2017 and unless he has a problem over the next couple of weeks when he goes for his medical, he plans to race again this year!”

Gary Allen of VARAC recently chatted with Bob and the audio can be found on the VARAC website here:

Historic Formula One to Run at the 2017 VARAC Vintage Grand Prix

Toronto, ON (February 10, 2017) – the Masters Historic Racing Series confirmed today that they will be joining the event roster at the VARAC Vintage Grand Prix held at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park from June 15 to 18, 2017.

This series races 1966 thru 1985 Formula One cars – the classics that we all love from the golden era of Formula One.

The cars will pack up up as soon as they finish running the Canadian F1 Grand Prix in the Montreal and bring them to the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the VARAC Vintage Grand Prix.  The Formula One cars will run a practice session on Thursday, a practice and then a qualifying session on Friday, and two races on Saturday.

More information on the 2017 VARAC Vintage Grand Prix available here.

About Masters Historic Racing: Established in 2004 with its trademark Formula One Series, Masters is now the leading organiser and promoter of international historic motor racing. Based in the UK and North America with a dedicated team, Masters aims to provide customers with great racing at superb circuits with a wonderful atmosphere.


Related Articles

F1 Cars Returning to Old Mosport, featured in Norris McDonald’s Toronto Star Racing Roundup column

Rich Heritage for Canada in Formula 1 Racing, by Norris McDonald


Photo by Hugh Hawley

December 2016 Pit Signals

The December 2016 edition of VARAC Pit Signals by Jeremy Sale has been released!

Click here to download your personal copy.

VARAC Pit Signals

Features this month include:

  • VARAC Member Hilights
  • Claude Gagne – Race Restoring a Lotus Elan
  • 2016 Highlights with Cam McRae, Phil Soden, Frank Mount, John Kinnear, Jeremy Sale, Paul Austerbury, Ted Michalos, Ivan Samila
  • Reg Hillary: Canadian Rally-Racing Driver
  • Skuderia Hysteria by John Kinnear
  • 2017 Conduct Committee Procedures
  • … Classifieds and more!

November 2016 Pit Signals

The November 2016 edition of VARAC Pit Signals by Jeremy Sale has been released!

Click here to download your personal copy.

VARAC Pit Signals

Features this month include:

  • Keeping the Al Pease MGB in Canada
  • 2016 VARAC AGM Awards and VARAC Champions
  • In Memory… Peter Jackson, Ralph de Winter
  • VRG at the Glen with Alain Raymond and Gary Allen
  • My Saddest Day of the Year, by Chris Rupnik
  • The 2016 Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge with Tim Sanderson
  • 2016 Whiskey Hill Classic: By Alain Raymond
  • In Other News…
  • … Classifieds and more!

October 2016 Pit Signals

The October 2016 edition of VARAC Pit Signals by Jeremy Sale has been released!

Click here to download your personal copy.

VARAC Pit Signals

Features this month include:

  • In Memory of Hans P. Gulde
  • VARAC at the Brantford Airshow
  • VSCDA Grattan 30 or VARAC Table for Three
  • Phil Soden and his half scale Gypsy Moth
  • Limerock Adventures
  • VSCDA Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival
  • Mt Tremblant Fall Classic
  • The Sound of Toolboxes
  • How to Add Telemetry Like A Pro
  • The Brack Classic Hill Climb at Inglis Falls
  • An Autosport at the Goodwood Revival
  • CASC-OR Celebration
  • Doug Elcomb Heads Down Under
  • John DeMaria
  • … and more!

2016 VARAC AGM & Awards To Be Held Sunday November 20, 2016

Please mark Sunday, November 20, on your calendars. At 10:00 am we will hold the club’s Annual General Meeting, followed by a lunch and the 2016 Awards Presentations.These events will take place at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel & Suites, 9005 Leslie Street, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4B 1B2. (Map it here)

Even as we speak, the Vintage Historic and Classic Directors are tabulating the VARAC Drivers’ Challenge points to determine who won each of our racing classes, as well as the overall club champion. There is already a rumour floating around that the overall championship ended in a tie!  Don’t worry, our Race Director (and club President) will make the process clear before we make the final presentation.

The club has two other trophies that we require the memberships’ assistance on – the Jim McGregor Spirit of Sportsmanship Award and the James Ferguson Challenge Trophy.  To learn more about these awards, including a list of past recipients please visit:http://varac.ca/membership/awards/.

Those persons with business to raise at the AGM, or Motions they would like presented to the membership should contact Gavin Ivory, the club Secretary (gavin.ivory@varac.ca) as soon as possible.  We have specific notice periods that must be met before items may be considered and Gavin will be assembling the official package that will be sent out to the membership before the AGM.

The first event of 2017 is scheduled for May 13 and 14 at CTMP – if you can’t make it to the AGM surely we’ll see you at the track next year…

Proxy Form

Are you a VARAC member that is not able to make it out to the AGM?  Click here to print and send us your proxy!