Duncan was initially entranced by record keeping and statistics in racing events. This interest morphed into a desire to race and so he has for 22 years. However, with a keen eye for the history of the sport, his desire to race eventually juxtaposed into a desire to keep alive a class of racecars that served as a stepping stone into the higher formulae. So it was that he became the genial godfather of Formula Junior, advancing the cause especially for the diamond anniversary of the class. Advancing the cause led to Duncan’s spearheading events for Formula Juniors all over the world, from Europe to Australia and New Zealand to the USA and Canada. It was at the June 2017 VARAC meet at Mosport and later at the Glen vintage weekend where John Wright sat down with Duncan in a variety of noisy tents, filled with buzzing Formula Junior engines to chronicle the international journey he has been on.
VR: Duncan, what set you on the road of no return in the racing world?
Duncan Rabagliati: Dinky toys. I used to race them around the attic of the house where I lived as a child.
VR: And from there?
Duncan Rabagliati: Well, I got sick and was confined to my room and I built a track and raced them there, as well as at school.
VR: Then you found a discarded pile of motorsports books no one else wanted and that got you more involved.
Duncan Rabagliati: Yes, I found a pile of Motorsport with reports by Jenks (Denis Jenkinson) and started compiling the results. In 1957, my father took me to the German GP at the Nürburgring and, of course, as we all know, Fangio won with an outstanding drive. We were standing in the trees and I had a full-bore introduction to the sport!
VR: That’s when you began seriously to compile statistics on motor races?
Duncan Rabgliati: That’s right. In 1958, I began to be interested in racing statistics, but even by 1961 motorsports magazines were not giving coherent results and so I began writing to organizers for results, practice times, etc. Also around that time, fellow enthusiasts Paul Sheldon and John Thompson were helping compiling records in Formula One and Formula Two races.