John Sambrook began his Canadian racing career in 1959, racing at the Regional, National and FIA level. He was best known for his work in driver development and tenure with the Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs, where he held a variety of positions through the 1960s. He was responsible for the development and training of 250 student racers with strong involvement in the Players Challenge Series and the Molson Quebec Championship.
Sambrook hung up his driving gloves but he continued his work with high level racing events at Mount Tremblant Sanair and Trois Rivieres. He was also a track designer in the 1960s, providing the drawings and models for Trois Rivieres and other tracks. Sambrook took over the role of CASC National Race Director from Bob Harrington in 1973 and then served on the National Committee as the Quebec Representative.
In the 1990s, he returned to the racing scene, providing advice to VARAC on introducing and developing new Canadian Racing talent. The Ginetta Motor Racing Club was John’s baby.
Aside from motorsports, John was well known across Canada as founder and president of the Opimian Society, a wine club which is still active with over 300,000 members and is/was a best way to source quality wines from around the world, outside what local liquor stores could provide.
John was inducted into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2018. Bob DeShane of VARAC stated, “I realized that John’s life-long record of contributions to the development of Canadian Motorsport should qualify him,” for induction. At this year’s VARAC vintage festival he delivered a witty, generous speech filled with anecdotes about races, tracks and personalities.
John passed away on Monday, December 10th. Our condolences go out to his family