The recent picture of the late John Gunn enjoying a drink, obviously after trouble at some race, brought back a memory.
The Burlington Autosport Club had a race at Harewood Acres in 67 and were paying some prize money. Not much but better than nothing which was the norm in those days. Even the Canadian Championship Series races did not pay any money and to run the series you raced from BC to Quebec. Normally the only money races were the Can Am races and maybe one or two others with US and European drivers.
Things were different then and advertising on cars had only been very recently permitted. Sponsorship was almost non existant and usually was somebody’s own company. There were a few paid drivers but nobody in Canada was making a living racing sports cars. John Cordts tells in his book ‘Blood, Sweat and Turnips’ how he survived the winter on turnips and soup bones. John Cannon was reputed to never stay in the same motel twice!
My sponsorship consisted of free oil (Valvoline) and Redex products. I had a 9 to 5 job and was lucky that my boss let me take my holidays on Fridays so I could go to practice. No Sunday racing back then. The BAC race was to me important as I was really broke and living from pay to pay. I owed a bundle.
For some reason the entry was not all that strong and I figured I could probably get a little money as they were paying down to tenth, which I think was $10. First was $250. That was about 3 weeks salary! As I usually finished in the top ten even at a well supported Canadian Championship race I hoped for a reasonable chunk.