A little over a year ago, Allan de la Plante and Bill Brack hatched a plan to bring as many old racing farts together as possible during the week of the Toronto Indy. The event was a complete success and included some of Canada’s brightest stars of racing from “back in the day”. It was such a success that it was decided that this should be an annual event on the eve of what is arguably one of Canada’s most important motorsports events.
Once again held at the Radisson Admiral Hotel, overlooking Toronto’s waterfront, the 2011 OFR brought together 50 or 60 Old Farts and a couple of not so old farts. On the old side, we had one gentleman (not surprisingly, I can’t remember his name) who began racing stock cars way back in 1948. We had a pair of founding members of the prestigious American Racing Press Association in Dale von Treba and Hans Gulde. Modern media was well represented by legendary writers Norris McDonald and Jim Kenzie, while a slightly more youthful Greg Macpherson dropped by at the end of the evening.
On the more modern side of things, long time open wheel team owner Brian Stewart was a delight to have at our table. On the really not so old side of things, my 17 year old daughter Shelby is a 3rd generation racer who has grown up around the track. Likewise, 22 year old Bill Bryan’s Dad Paul has been a corner marshal since the days when AdlP started shooting and Bill has quite literally grown up at Mosport.
The stories flew even faster than the cars did way back when, as friendly reminders brought up distant memories from some of the older racers. As a student of the golden days of racing, it is truly an honor to spend an evening with this crowd, soaking up the history these folks lived first hand. I am truly convinced that there are no greater story tellers than old racers and the OFR is the ONLY place where so many older racers get together to swap
Plans are already under way for the 2012 event! I can’t wait!