The Celebration portion of the Vintage Road Racing Association’s 1967 Canadian Grand Prix 50th Anniversary Celebration was in full swing this morning at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, starting with a five lap demonstration race complete with standing start, showcasing the machines from the era of the Mosport FIM World round half a century ago.
With the race complete, the famous ten turn, 4 kilometer venue, unchanged in layout from the sole Canadian World round fifty years ago, was turned over to a variety of famous racers and important machines.
Team Obsolete from the U.S. had their central racer Dave Roper as well as Michelle Duff aboard classic some of the Team’s classic-era British singles. Canadian Duff, a 1960s works Yamaha G.P. racer, used an Arter Matchless G50. This bike was very similar to the machine she raced to place third behind Hailwood (Honda) and soon-to-be-crowned World Champ Agostini (MV Agusta) fifty years ago in the Feature 500cc event, while Roper was on an ex-Duff, Surtees-Special AJS.
Multi-time world Champ Phil Read took to the track on a newer race bike, a TZ250 two-stroke Yamaha that currently leads the VRRA Series in the hands of owner Eddie Brunet. 1960s ace Rod Gould, another ex-works Yamaha rider, demonstrated an early 1970s Yamaha two-stroke twin racer.
Among the famous racers on hand but not riding was Yvon Duhamel, a top Canadian at Mosport for the G.P. in 1967 for Yamaha Motor Canada (then Deeley) and a 1970s legend aboard Kawasaki triple equipment. “Why-von” is also the father of top American Superbike competitor Miguel Duhamel.
Another 1970s Canadian fast guy on hand to visit is Jim Allen, who as a young racer competed in the 125cc Grand Prix class back in 1967 aboard a bored-out 80cc Suzuki! Allen went on to considerable success on Yamaha equipment, especially the 1970s four-cylinder TZ750 rocket.
Two of the famous four-cylinder, in-line two-strokes TZ750s took to the track for demonstration, one piloted by former World Champ and 1970s Mosport star Steve Baker. Baker, from just across the B.C. border in Bellingham, Washington, rode for Yamaha Motor Canada in the 1970s. His bike is owned by Fran Hall of Detroit who built the bike for competing at the Phillip Island Australia International Challenge Races in January of 2018. CMR Racing Products Inc of Trenton Ontario owned by Denis Curtis built the complete chassis and fuel tank kit. Nick Ienatsch's bike is a Spondon-framed TZ750 owned by Rusty Bigley of Pennsylvania, who is the TZ750 engine builder of both bikes.
The afternoon-s Schedule includes a range of events for the wide variety of VRRA classes, prior to a full day’s competition on Sunday in the HB Cycle-backed Vintage Classic event.