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.