Norm (Stormin Norman) Mackereth
1927 – 2019
Wife: Marg Mackereth
Children: Brian, Craig, Andy, Nancy
Norm’s Racing Career
Norm began his racing career at Speedway Park in 1949, driving his street car, a 1934 Dodge convertible. His final race was in 2004, driving a Can-An TQ Midget, competing against his son Craig and grandson Tyler at Sauble Speedway.
Not only did Norm have a long, successful racing career, he and his wife Marg were married for 68 years and raised four children. Norm also spent most of his life working on cars, starting in 1952 when he became a business owner with his older brother Ben. They purchased a B/A gas station (later became Gulf). Their brothers, Harry and Dave joined them at the “Mackereth Bros” Gulf in New Toronto. This is where Norm’s racing career really took off. The four brothers built several race cars over the years at this station. The brothers would work at the station all week then head to the race tracks on the week end. Norm was the driver and the other three brothers were the pit crew. Norm’s car became known as the “NEW TORONTO ROCKET“.
In the 50’s and 60’s Norm competed at several different tracks, but the early years were spent mainly at Pinecrest Speedway and the CNE. Norm was very successful in his early years of racing, capturing many feature wins and became very popular with the thousands of fans that would come out to the races every weekend. He also competed at several other Ontario tracks, including Speedway Park, Oakwood Stadium, Delaware Speedway, Flamboro Speedway, Cayuga Speedway and, Capital City Speedway.
One of Norm’s most famous races was when he decided to enter the Formula Libre Road Course Race at Harewood Acres in Jarvis, Ontario on May 28, 1960. This 300km special event was promoted by The Canadian Racing Drivers Club and was open to “any kind of car”. So Norm thought, why not. The main sponsor was Carling Breweries, putting up a $6,000 purse. Thirty two cars entered the event, including Formula One star Olivier Genebien and racing legend Roger Penske. There was a wide range of cars entered, including Maseratis, D-Type Jags, Ferrari Testa Rossa, and of course Norm’s upright Supermodified that was designed and made to make only left turns.
The other drivers were surprised and had a good chuckle when Norm and his brothers showed up, until he went out and turned fourth fastest time in the time trials. The other drivers, headed up by Roger Penske tried to have Norm’s car banned from the race. They were unsuccessful, by the promoter made Norm start the race last as his car was the only one that required a push start. Norm once again surprised the other drivers and the crowd as he worked his way up to 7th place in just 20 laps. Unfortunately Norms car blew a rad hose and his race ended.
In 1960 Norm decided to head down to Syracuse New York to enter a special race at the NY State Fairgrounds one mile dirt track. While there, he was approached by Nolan Swift (a legend at Oswego) who told him, if you like this track, you should try Oswego Speedway. Norm decided to give Oswego a try in 1961. “He was hooked”.
For the next 17 years, Norm would make the weekly trip (approx 400 km) to Oswego Speedway to compete with top racers from North Eastern NY. His wife Marg was the real trooper as she would pack the RV every Friday and get the kids ready so they could all head down to Oswego when Norm came home from work. Norm’s racing in the US expanded over the years as he would quite often stop off at Spencer Speedway in Webster New York for Friday night racing, go to Oswego on Saturday, then head to Fulton Speedway or even Sandusky Speedway in Ohio to race on Sunday. Then it was back to the gas station to work with his brothers.
Over the years Norm was quite successful on the track. Norm holds on the Oswego Speedway all time stats list for:
- Total Points – 10th
- Total Top 5’s – 12th
- Total Feature wins – 31st
Norm has been inducted into the:
- Canadian Sports Hall of Fame
- (Oswego) Eagles Fan Hall of Fame
- Yesterday’s Speedways Hall of Fame
Norm captured three Super Modified Season Points Championships. The first was at Shangri-La Speedway in Owego, NY in 1964 followed by back to back titles at Delaware Speedway in London, Ontario in 1970 and 1971.
As successful as Norm was on the track, his biggest success was with the fans. Norm had a huge fan following in both Canada and the US (mainly Oswego). He was very charismatic and would always take the time to meet with and talk to the hundreds of fans after the races. Norm was very proud to be the first Canadian racer to compete at Oswego Speedway. At the end of the night when meeting with the fans, Norm would sign his famous autograph that never changed over the years.