The past week has seen some pretty cool action here in The Garage. Thanks to an old post about my Dad’s early racing days, I was able to reunite him with one of his employees from way back in 1967. Terry Fitzgerald was also one of Bud’s strongest competitors that year. As racers do, they have already begun to swap stories.
In 1966, Bud had stopped racing the Bugeye in that previous post and had graduated to this MKII Sprite you see above. This car carried Bud Tucker to the 1967 Ontario Sports Car championship, known as the Alitalia Trophy. The following (mostly unedited) story from Bud tells where he found the speed. Oh yeah, it also gives a bit of an insight into my old man’s attitude!
As Sophia on Golden Girls Says….”Picture this”…..Harewood 1966.
A nice sunny sunday aftenoon, the BMC race I’m sure you’ll remember that was an event only for British Motor Corporation cars, Spites, MG Midgets, MGA’s, MGB’s.
Part way into the race I found myself dicing with some clown in either an MGA or B, Somehow in my dim memory I picture a “B”.
I know I beat this guy in the previous BMC race earlier in the year and I quickly begin to realize he wasn’t too pleased with the previous results, since every time I tried to pass him in the corners he would block me. He was faster on the straights, I was faster in the corners. I think we both knew that if I ever got by that would be the end of it. I’d get right up beside him in Gunnery Corner and he’d cut right in on me. Well, after he’d done this seven times, I’d had enough! Finally coming out of corner 2 I got right up beside him but on the outside…There we were tearing along (If you really could say that Spite actually tore) side by side. Picture it..The straight between 2 and 3 at Harewood had a dogleg in it, defined by hay bales on the left, I’m on the MG’s left and he’s aiming right at the point of the dogleg, leaving me nowhere to go. by that time I was rather pissed anyway, so I moved left about 3 feet away from the side of the MG…yanked my steering wheel hard right and braoadsided the F…ker! Kinda sounded like hitting a 45 gallon drum with a sledge hammer (Is sledgehammer one word or two?) End of part one of the story is he beat me into corner 3 and won the race! Later in he pits Gordie Green comes up to me and says ” YOU HIT THE GUY”.
I responded by saying “You’re right and if anybody else pulls a trick like that on me, I’ll hit them too”.
Sometime later, enter Terry Fitzgerald.
It turns out that Gordie Green and a couple of other drivers take the new guy aside and tell him “Stay away from Bud Tucker “cause he’ll hit you”.
Now comes the part that Terry doesn’t know about. Mosport is Terry’s first non novice race and he has pole position….What the hell’s that all about??? I kinda felt like Tiger Woods not making the cut in Scotland.
Green flag drops, Terry’s gone….Never to be seen again, at least not in that race.
I figure he’s got something like a corvette engine or something under the hood.
Later that day I go over to Terry and say how the H did you get off the line so fast? And to this day I thank you Terry, for telling me that you had some unheard of gearing from a Morris delivery van or something. Monday morning I’m standing at the local BMC dealership parts department to order one of those sets of gearing. The parts were flown in from England, I got them installed and the rest is history as they say. THANK YOU TERRY!
I apologize for the honesty if you were the clown in the MG! Somehow I suspect Bud & Terry have a few more racing stories just waiting to be told, so we can be sure to hear more over the coming months.
There has been much discussion about this Sprite lately, but that is another discussion for another day.