Wheels up in 5!


The latest episode of driver/car feature videos from VARAC focuses on my good friend Emily Atkins and her brother Andrew as they share stories about how they got involved in racing. The partners in Big Brother Little Sister Racing also talk about their machines, a wicked Mustang and a classic Porsche 911.

The highlight for me is the recreation of the classic 911 racing pose, with one front wheel in the air as Emily attacks Mosport’s iconic turn 5.

VARAC Celebrates the MG community


A couple of weeks ago I shared a wonderful video from the folks at VARAC about Gary Allen and his lovely Porsche 911 vintage racer. VARAC is keeping the ball rolling with a new episode that again features Allen and his MGB along with David & Evan Holmes and Dave Good.

I would bet that with the possible exception of the Mini, the MG brand is likely the single most popular brand among vintage racers in North America and for good reason.

Check it out.

Vintage racer profile: Gary Allen and his Porsche 911SC


In some enthusiasts minds, mine included, vintage auto racing is the best form of motorsport. The people involved are laid back and are there to enjoy themselves. The cars are special, but not always in the way one might think. Sure, there are often multi-million dollar, irreplaceable machines, but many are every day cars that are prepared for racing the way they would have been “back in the day”. The focus is on fun and keeping the old cars alive and giving car geeks a chance to see the old machines in action.

The folks at the Vintage Automobile Racing Association of Canada are working to expand the fan base for the sport by exposing internet users to the action in the form of racer profiles. The first episode from the series features Gary Allen and his lovely 1982 Porsche 911 SC. Allen competes in the popular G70+ class which provides a place for cars from the 70’s and 80’s to race and the grids tend to be more than a little bit exciting.

2011 VARAC Festival is in the books

It was a busy weekend here in The Garage, as Jay Tomchuck headed to MIS to cover the NASCAR race, while I stayed closer to home and shot bits and pieces of the VARAC Festival at Mosport. Saturday morning I even took in a preview screening of Cars 2! As a result of the busy weekend, I only got to shoot a bit on Friday afternoon and then most of the afternoon on Sunday. This meant that I spent next to no time socializing in the paddock and didn’t get any stories from the racers. I did however get some great shots of the on track action.
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Father’s Day weekend heats up with VARAC Festival

What better way to spend Father’s Day weekend than to be surrounded by the sights and sounds of vintage race cars? Unlike big pro race weekends where the stars stay hidden away in the motor coach, the cars are the stars at the annual VARAC festival at the legendary Mosport International Raceway. Drivers and crew are always happy to chat with fans about their cars in the paddock, where spectators can get up close. The little ones will often be invited to have a seat in all sorts of different cars as they wander the paddock.
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More Fiat Fun

Yesterday’s post about the ex George Comacchio Fiat 124 Special had some wondering if that car is the same 124 Special that is currently racing with VARAC. For those who aren’t able to visit races in Ontario, I thought that I should maybe put up a shot of the car so you know what we’re talking about.

This shot was taken from the bottom of Mosport’s corner 4 at the 2010 VARAC Festival. Good friend of The Garage, Andre Rousseau in the Spider is trying to get up alongside Andrew Celovsky in his sweet 124 Special. These cars are quite rare in Ontario, so it is great to see this car out on track. Gotta love the flower child look!

A bit of Fiat history in The Garage

Alongside the great Porsche discussion on the Canadian Motorsport History group on Yahoo, there has been another thread about some early racing Alfa’s in Ontario. Our old friend George Commachio’s Alfa was brought up, as was the Fiat 124 he raced prior to the Alfa.

The car was a late Sixties (George thought ’67 but wasn’t sure) Fiat 124 Special. Twin cam, 5 speed, 4 wheel discs. A neat machine that did indeed later become the Lada, but missing a cam, a gear and had drums in the back. George eventually sold his 124 to Lloyd Service who then raced the car. There is a tale that perhaps he had a major crash with the car in turn 3 at Mosport.

I can’t remember the name of the guy Lloyd sold the car to, but I think the next guy only raced it once. It was then sold to a guy named Neil Burns. In fact, we met because of the car, when as a teenager I poked my head into the shop where he kept it.

Years later, I convinced Neil to finish the car up and race it. I don’t recall any evidence of heavy crash damage at that time so I’m not sure about Lloyd crashing it. Neil was on a tight (ie none) budget and struggled to get the car to keep running without blowing head gaskets. Even then the car ran in the high 1:50’s.
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Have you seen this Sprite?

At some point on the evening of October 3, some dirtbag stole a grey 20′ Haulmark trailer from Woodstock, Ontario. Having a trailer stolen is bad enough, but inside that trailer was Dino Micacchi’s red Bugeye Sprite. Seen above at the 2010 VARAC Festival, #02 is a vintage race prepared Sprite.

The license plate on the trailer is D26 44W. If you see this trailer or car, contact Dino directly, by email at dino@vmswca.com or by phone at 519-788-2227.

On Track Today: BARC regionals

Some of our readers may have noticed that my contributions to The Garage have been somewhat sparse lately. While I’d love to apologize, the truth is that I’ve been spending most of my days at Mosport taking pictures. As much as I love writing, photography is beginning to pay the bills, so track time it is. Besides, what self respecting gearhead wouldn’t rather spend time at the track than in front of the computer.

It occurred to me that this is a photo series for The Garage just waiting to happen. Let me introduce On Track Today, a photo series of whatever I happen to be shooting on any given day. It might be race cars, it might be a lapping day consisting of street cars. Either way, we can share a bit of the fun.

Today’s photos were actually shot yesterday at the BARC Labour Day club races. Given that I wanted a bit of long weekend action myself, I only went up for 1 session to get some shots for an article I’m writing for a print story. I ended up being there for a couple of sessions, so I got some Historic Sports Cars and some of the Group 70+ cars.

Our first OTT, after the break…
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Ridin’ with Rousseau

One of the coolest thing about publishing The Garage over the years is that we’ve had the opportunity to make some great friends from all over the world. Fortunately, some of those friends are closer than others. We first met Andre Rousseau through The Garage, while he was publishing a build blog that followed the restoration of his rather stunning Triumph GT6. A trip to the vintage festival at Watkins Glen, driving the Triumph, sealed his fate: he had become hooked on racing. The GT6 was far to pretty to be turned into a race car, so the hunt for a race car began.
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