1967 Grand Prix stars Take Center Stage at Banquet Event during VRRA Festival at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
The stars of the VRRA’s 1967 Canadian Grand Prix 50th Anniversary Celebration were out in force at the evening gala celebration at the posh meeting centre at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Aug 12. Famous competitor and journalist Sir Alan Cathcart interviewed legendary racers who featured during the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc Grand Prix (now MotoGP) events on a cool and sometimes wet day at “old Mosport” almost fifty years ago, the only time the series competed in Canada
Third overall in the Featured 500cc class competition, staged with Government support to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Canada on Saturday, September 30th, 1967 was Mike, now Michelle Duff. After a promising European career, a serious Yamaha testing crash in Japan kept Duff away from the “Continental Circus” in 1967, but for the event at her home track she received the loan of “the first Arter Special, just finished by Tom,” confirmed Duff to Cathcart.
“It had a G50 engine, disc brakes, a great frame, some said it was ahead of it’s time. It was also fitted with Goodyear tires, and the conditions were wet, almost rainy. It was really slippery, and in those conditions I think those Goodyears were better than the Dunlops most had. I attribute much of my success that day to the Goodyear tires.”
Duff’s practice with the new bike was troubled, due to an issue with the Magneto.
“Officially we didn’t qualify, but they said we could start from the back if no one protested, and no one did. I still had my bad hip, so I wasn’t good at bump starting in those days, so they let me get a push start from the back of the field, and I worked my way up to get that third.”
The poor conditions, along with delays due to a shortage of race fuel at the venue, meant the 500cc Feature race was shortened from 50 laps to 40 tours, still an incredibly lengthy event by modern standards.
Canadian Dave Lloyd had raced in Europe in 1966, but was competing in North America in 1967 when he ran in the 500cc event at Mosport on a locally built Ernie White Racing Manx Norton, winding up seventh, just out of the points.
“The weather was atrocious, that was the best you could say,” started Lloyd regarding his first and only home Grand Prix. “The bike sometimes leaked from the left primary, but this time both my feet were eventually covered in oil. On top of that, the carb was spitting back into a delicate area, and the only relief I had was sticking my legs out on the straights, and that didn’t help much.
“Honestly, how I managed to finish 7th I don’t know!”
In 1968, Lloyd Returned to Europe and competed at the Isle of Man for the second time aboard Honda equipment, earning a Silver Replica with a strong 13th place finish in the 250cc Grand Prix class.
Eight-time World Champ Phil Read was on hand from the U.K., and took part in some lively banter with Cathcart, the pair having previously spoken at various European Grand Prix reunion type events.
Classic bike tester and exotic expert Cathcart inquired about the challenge of following the famous Honda six-cylinder 250cc four-stroke racer, a bike that barely ran below 9,000 RPMs.
“Really, if you got within ten meters of that Honda, the pain was so intense that you couldn’t believe it,” explained Read of the eras’ un-muffled engines. “So you just had to get by!”
Read was in a supporting role in the 250cc class at Mosport aboard the works Yamaha two stroke four cylinder, as legendary Mike Hailwood on the Honda six was fighting for the World Championship against the other works Yamaha of Bill Ivy.
“They were two mad men, so I left them to it,” explained Red, who held station in third behind Ivy and Hailwood, in what was regarded as the best race of the day. The title protagonists battled until the last lap when Ivy stopped, allegedly out of gas even though the event had been shortened. Read, riding at a more conservative pace while watching the fight for first, wound up second behind soon-to-be-World Champion Hailwood.
Hailwood would clinch the 250cc crown a few weeks later in Japan, and then Honda pulled out of Grand Prix racing to concentrate on their fast-expanding auto division.
In the 500cc Premier class, Hailwood tried to get MV Agusta mounted points leader Giacomo Agostini to fight for the lead, even though Agostino knew he could clinch the Championship with second. Hailwood let Agostini lead for half of the race, but when “Ago” couldn’t be convinced to engaged, Hailwood took off to win by 40 seconds, Agostino second and the new premier class Champ.
Vintage action with the VRRA continues will a full slate of racing on Sunday around the classic Mosport layout for a wide range of Vintage classes. The special Saturday evening event was sponsored by Alien Technology Racing, Rider’s Choice.ca, Castrol Oils, fabricators C.M.R. and Woody’s Cycle.
The final V.R.R.A. National of 2017 is slated for Calabogie Motorsport Park on September 8-9-10.
Saturday, 12 August 2017 22:03 Published in News
American Frank Camillieri returns to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park VRRA to Celebrate Grand Prix Success
One of the pioneers of road racing in North America, Frank Camillieri, was among the invited former road racing stars who took to the track at the Vintage Road Racing Association’s 50th Grand Prix Anniversary event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. American Camillieri, aboard a Yamaha in the 32 Lap Grand Prix final on September 30, 1967, placed a strong fifth overall in the World Championship round in conjunction with the Canadian Centenary.
Camillieri was one of the few racers from the original event who took part in this morning’s five lap tribute to the sole C.G.P. fifty years ago. Back in the day, Camillieri faced an uphill struggle against the works racers from Europe on his early production Yamaha.
Winner fifty years ago in the 250cc class was era-hero Mike “the bike” Hailwood on the exotic four-stroke, six cylinder Honda RC166. Second went to the equally unique two-stroke, four-cylinder Yamaha RD56 of Phil Read, who rode in demonstration laps aboard a more modern Yamaha this morning at “old Mosport.” Hailwood, who died in a car accident in 1981, as well as Read are British legends and multi-time World Champions.
Third overall, fifty years ago in the 250 G.P. counter, was the second works Honda of Ireland’s Ralph Bryans. Top Canadian was the production Yamaha TD1C of Yvon Duhamel in fourth, with Camillieri’s similar bike fifth at the finish. Duhamel would go on to a top-flight career as a Kawasaki racer during the 1970s, and raced in the top echelon at C.T.M.P. into the early 1980s. Ever-popular Duhamel was busy signing autographs at lunch in the VRRA Display set-up at C.T.M.P.
Camillieri was from the Boston area, and one of a group of Yank front runner who raced regularly in Canada during the early development days of the sport of motorcycle road racing. A machinist, Camillieri was one of the early adopters of disc brakes and slick tires. Among his rivals of the period were Duhamel, Mike Duff, Gary Nixon and Canadian up-and-comer Jim Allen, also on hand for the Anniversary Events.
Saturday, 12 August 2017 17:03 Published in News
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.
Saturday, 12 August 2017 13:06 Published in News
VRRA 1967 Canadian Grand Prix 50th Anniversary Celebration Gets Underway at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
The Vintage Road Racing Association’s 1967 Canadian Grand Prix 50th Anniversary Celebration kicked of at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Friday with practice and the traditional Two Hour Endurance race. Using the same 4.03-kilometer-long venue that hosted Canada’s only motorcycle Grand Prix (now MotoGP) event back in our 100th Anniversary year, an impressive entry was on hand in preparation for tomorrow’s big anniversary celebration.
The Two Hour started with 33 bikes taking the waved Canadian Flag, but a red flag soon forced a lengthy delay for track clean-up. When the race got back underway, a good dice developed between the Joe Bar Racing Yamaha FZR600 of Eddie Brunet and Daniel Rinfret and the similar Team Ludicrous Speed FZR600 of race starter Kirby Crosby and Darrell “Boom Boom” Cooney.
Cooney was almost a lap down after their Pit Stop, but when Brunet took over the Joe Bar entry the two Lightweight Grand Prix stars staged a lengthy battle before Cooney managed to pulled away, Ludicrous Speed eventually completing 53 laps overall to beat the Joe Bar group by just 23 seconds.
Third overall, one lap down, belonged to the HB Cycle backed Yamaha FZR600 of Phil Hodgson, Jason Covello and Doug Andrich. HB are one of the major supporters of Canadian Vintage competition, and their podium result meant that Middleweight category machinery earned the overall top three in the Two Hour, too.
Yamaha FZR600s were the top Production bikes in Canadian National Pro and Amateur 600cc Sport Bike class events for street-based machines in 1989, and remained successful against the developing Honda competition into the early 1990s.
Tomorrow’s activities centre on demonstration on-track in support of the 50th Anniversary of the sole Canadian Grand Prix, with a celebration event in the evening featuring many of the racers from the event held back on Saturday, September 30, 1967. Saturday afternoon includes a busy selection of events, with a full VRRA program on Sunday.
The Grand Prix races fifty years ago included classes for the 500cc, 250cc and 125cc World Championships, as well as a 250cc Junior Event for local racers. Among the stars who raced at "old Mosport" on that cool afternoon were Mike "the bike" Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, Bill Ivy and Phip Read. Mike Duff annd Yvon Duhamel lead the strong Canadian contingent.
Friday, 11 August 2017 19:23 Published in News
(BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – Aug. 9, 2017) Canada’s biggest motorcycle road racing event of the year is set for Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) August 18-20.
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 16:12 Published in News
Bowmanville, ON (August 8, 2017)- Fans of the Mopar CSBK National Superbike Series can expect a close battle for Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year overall honors during the final two races of the 2017 season with the Double Header weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, August 18-20.
Tuesday, 08 August 2017 16:47 Published in News
Canadian Tire Motorsports Park Set To Host the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship Double Header Season Finale
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – (July 31, 2017) Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) is set to host Canada’s top motorcycle road racers August 18-20 as they compete for the national Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship.
Monday, 31 July 2017 20:26 Published in News
“It hasn’t really been a long off-season, but it feels like it at times,” explains former Canadian national flat track champion Doug Lawrence, who will make the move to the Pro road race ranks this season aboard a Suzuki GSX-R1000. Lawrence announced his new Suzuki Canada program for the 2017 Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at the Toronto Motorcycle Show last weekend.
“I’m excited to get a program to ride the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 in 2017,” confirms the man some call ‘Fresh.’ “I’m excited to go road racing, that’s what it comes down to. I’ve had some offers, with different bikes, from great people, and really I’ve just been trying to figure out what could work the best for me. I appreciate all the help from everyone, and I think the Suzuki program is right for me. My aim is to build with that, to get the ball rolling with Suzuki and their return (to Canadian Superbike).
“I’ll get a bike, hopefully, by mid-March, and get it track-ready,” Lawrence continued. “For me, with my level of road racing experience, it’s essential to just get on the track and get riding. I need bodywork and suspension, but that’s really all I will need to get out and start riding. Then I can get going from there, get the feedback for the people who are working with me.
“I think that usually, with Suzuki, things are pretty close to perfect, and this bike has been in development for some time,” says Lawrence about his weapon for 2017. “I’m confident that the new GSX-R1000 will be good.
“People tell me it doesn’t make sense to test on old tires, things like that, and I do understand the advice,” notes Lawrence, whose entry into the Pro SBK ranks is perhaps the most interesting story of the 2017 CSBK preseason. “But I have only ridden a road race bike for seven or eight days in total. I really just need to get some laps in before we really start development, doing race laps, race-distance testing. I just need to get the bike underneath me, really fell it, and go from there. I’d like to ride Grand Bend, Mosport, Shannonville, before those national rounds. I would like to go down south, I have some good connections in Ohio and Michigan. We’ll see what happens.
“I have to manage my plan, not get too overwhelmed with stuff – I have been so excited over the past few months. I need to get one motorcycle ready, and go from there.”
As far as flat track racing goes in 2017, the former No. 1 plateholder is depending on his mechanic and father, Doug Sr, to lead the charge.
“My Dad is excited for me, and wants to see where I’m going. He’s not a huge road racing fan,” Lawrence laughs. “He knows what I have going on, and he wants me to do it. He’s building another flat track bike for me, to ride in the new Twins class in the States.”
However, Lawrence did admit that following the national CSBK tour will curb his Canadian flat track appearances.
“My riding in the Flat Track Canada national series will be restricted. I raced 26 weekends last year, and I got a bit overwhelmed in the last half of the season. My mind was focused on the CSBK round at Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) after I started my first national at St-Eustache, and I know my flat track program suffered for that. I’m not committed to too-too much in the States, and fortunately my dad says ‘Hey, we’ve got this bike ready for you whenever you want to go for it and ride.’
“Right now, I have a plan for doing the first two American half-miles before the CSBK nationals start, but I have to dedicated my time and mind to the Suzuki program for the CSBK national series. After the final CSBK round at CTMP, there are still four or five American Flat Track races I can get to in the United States. Those eight or so AMA races are at racetracks I want to ride at as well.
“I have some goals in flat track that I want to achieve, and I feel like I can turn up at those races and be right up to speed.”
As far as support is concerned, Lawrence admits that “there is lots of talking going on, and I have been waiting to get the Suzuki deal confirmed. I have supporters and friends who have helped, and I know they are there for me, and now I have to get out there and work on it. I know that we can’t have the big factory deals of 10 or 20 years ago, but I really wanted to do it, to race the CSBK series.”
Lawrence will be visiting several tracks for the first time, including the home of the famed east-coast ‘roller coaster,’ Atlantic Motorsport Park, in Shubenacadie, NS.
“I’m excited to go places like Shubenacadie,” Lawrence states. “During the off-season, I have told people I actually had more fun racing at St-Eustache then I did at Mosport. I’ve been watching videos, and it seems like you have to be really accurate at Atlantic Motorsport Park. You have to minimize mistakes. It’s another track with a lot of character, lots of uphill and downhill. It’s all new to me.
“I think the Shannonville opener will be really tough; lots of the guys in the series grew up riding there. Grand Bend will be more of a level playing field, not too many of the national guys have a lot of laps around there. Mosport is at the end of the year; I like that place. The speed is a little higher than flat track, and it’s really flowing, but the track is in some ways forgiving. By that time, I aim to be up to speed with the faster group, and I’m comfortable with the drafting.
“I don’t have any specific goals in terms of finishing positions,” Lawrence humbly admits. “I’m more concerned with getting comfortable on the bike, be able to adapt to riding in the Pro ranks on a big bike. The Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year is a goal, but that isn’t my only target. I want to do better in every race. I have to wipe the slate clean after every race, good or bad. It’s a rebuilding process and there is a new race track at the next round. I can’t get too high, can’t get too low.
“I’ve been through all of these things in my flat track career,” summarized Canada’s newest Pro Superbike racer. It’s a different discipline, but it’s still racing a motorcycle.”
Saturday, 25 February 2017 08:57 Published in News
@benyoung_86 •@cdnsuperbike •@CTMPOfficial •BOWMANVILLE, Ont. - August 23, 2016 – Collingwood, Ont.’s Ben Young wrapped up his Pro MOPAR Canadian Superbike Championship (CSBK) rookie season this past weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park securing third in the Championship standings and was honoured with the Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year Award.
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 21:39 Published in Reports, Results & Points
@StatoniRacing • @cdnsuperbike •@CTMPOfficial •BOWMANVILLE, ON. – August 19-21 saw the final rounds of the 2016 Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 21:24 Published in Reports, Results & Points