The 30h running of the British Columbia Historic Motor Races (BCHMR) took place August 19-20, 2017, on the Mission Raceway Park road course down along the Fraser River in Mission, British Columbia. A field of more than 80 vintage and historic racers were greeted by sunny and hot weather again this year.
Competition took place in four race groups: Group A (fast cars); Group B (faster cars); Formula Ford and Formula Vee; and the Exhibition Group for purpose-built racecars. Each group had five regular races over the weekend, as well as a feature race on Sunday afternoon.
The races included the Hagerty Formula Festival, a combined Formula Ford and Formula Vee feature race where Van Diemen RF94 driver Doug Floer claimed the Westwood Trophy as the Formula Ford winner, as the Abbotsford Trophy for winning Formula Vee went to Gayle Baird in her AD MkIII.
The Formula Vee race was excitingly close with the top two, Baird and Andrew Mawdsley (Hayes MrIan) running nose to tail in a great battle all race long. Gayle saved her best for last though, winning the Abbotsford Trophy after finishing 2nd to Andrew in the weekend’s previous races.
Floer pretty much led Formula Ford feature race from start to finish, adding to his two other wins over the weekend as the other tightly contested races were won by Alan Baker (Van Diemen RF89), Alan McColl (Tiga) and Dave McKay (Lola T644).
The BCHMR had lots of exciting racing for the Fast and Faster groups of closed wheel Vintage Production based and Improved Production racing cars. Both groups enjoyed a feature race on Sunday afternoon where the historic SCCBC Trophy was won by Karlo Flores in his very quick 1959 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite. Karlo had some great battles throughout the weekend with Stephen Clark in his 1959 Elva Courier.
The fourth major group was the Exhibition Class, which included all purpose-built racing cars such as Sports Racing and higher-level Formula Cars. The most spirited performance in the Exhibition Class is annually presented with the Pete Lovely Memorial Award and this year that winner was Collin Jackson in his 1973 Brabham BT40.
Several family connections were evident at this year’s races, as Stephen Clark raced his 1959 Elva Courier while daughter Shelby raced her 1969 Alfa Romeo GTV. Ralph Zbarsky competed in his MG Sebring GT and son Michael drove his Mazda Miata. Grandma Gayle (Baird), as she’s known, and her daughter Pam were also racing their Formula Vee and Formula Ford, respectively.
Several racers from the SOVREN racing group in Washington State made the trek north across the border to take part in the action and from all accounts had a fantastic time. The SOVREN Canada Trophy for 2017 went to Jeff Kearney and 1968 Lynx Formula Vee.
The Chairman’s Trophy was awarded to Jim Whitelaw, a Mazda Miata driver who came down from Edmonton, Alberta, to join the fun. The one trophy that no one really wants to win is the Battered Cup, the bad luck award. This year’s recipient was Thomas Leeming, who came all the way from Montana only to blow a head gasket in his Alfa Romeo on the Friday test day, ending his weekend before it even started.
The highlight of the race weekend for many was seeing Ian Wood running demonstration laps n his Can-Am McLaren M12 on both days. Noise and horsepower always get everyone excited, so the grandstands were packed and fans were lined up all along the fences every time Ian came out.
The event also featured the very popular “Ride in a Real Race Car” attraction where fans, for a donation to the Mission Hospice Society, could go for a ride on the track in an actual vintage racecar with its owner/driver during the lunch break on both days. The looks on the faces of the fans who took rides said it all. More than $2,600 was raised for the Mission Hospice Society, a win-win situation for all involved.
At the end of the weekend everyone went home happy and looking forward to coming back for the 31st running of this great event. The Vintage Race Club of B.C. thanks all participants for making this year’s event a great success and hope they will return again next year.