Yesterday, as I see it anyway…


Lip-N-John Speedway

March 2013

Here’s a story about a neat little track that we went to back in 1970. We’ll make that two tracks as it is part of the story… We had raced at Wasaga Beach Speedway on Saturday night and didn’t think we had any more racing that weekend. So, after the Wasaga Race with our 4 cylinder mini’s and the B Bombers, we loaded up, but instead of heading back to Brantford, we went West to our inlaws cottage on Lake Huron. On Sunday morning some people stopped to look at our race car. We got to talking and they told us about a race track, Model T Speedway somewhere near Chatsworth that was having a race that afternoon.

This was fantastic as it was on our way home. We said Goodbye to the inlaws and headed out around noon. We found the track, parked under some trees, but, we were the only ones there. When we came in the fella selling tickets said they get 4-5 thousand fans every Sunday afternoon and about 40 cars. The track was over a 1/2 mile and in a rectangular shape, no fences, just big berms on the outside. Race time was 2:00pm… It’s now 1:15 and I think… yeah, right. Then, at about 1:30, I was happy to be proven wrong as it was like an invasion. A huge crowd came roaring in, with the also said amount of race cars.

Most of the cars were towed in by a chain. These cars did not have to have tires changed or carburetor jets adjusted. Most of them had the race driver steering the car to the track. They would find a spot, unhook the chain and let the games begin. Some even had their helmets on. They all had a good practice session and the races did start on time. They put on a good show, a few scary flips lots of dust, lots of fun. Only about half of them had locked differentials, the track was rough, so this kept the speeds down keeping it fun and safe. When the last checkered flag waved, they all left as quickly as they had come in. Before they had all left a fellow came to tell us about another track on our way home that ran 4 cykinder cars. He asked if there were any more of us that would like to come and run at the Lip -N -John track to race the next day at 2:00 pm as Monday was a holiday. Now, this was back in the good old days, before cell phones I was sure most of the Mini drivers were staying on the beach. I did get ahold of my brother and he brought his VW up the next day to race.

We got there early, they had about 25 cars. The track was about a small 1/5 mile dirt kidney shaped, smooth but loose, a few bleacher stands plus a stand to sell hot dogs and pop, but it was a race track. We had to start at the tail in all races because we were classed as beginners. We didn’t mind, we understood, they all drove clean and it was a ball. Don and I both had a few exciting times on the part of the track that you had to turn right, but we had them covered on the left hand corners.

Don won every race he was in and I could only manage second place. I kept telling them that I forgot to change my rear view mirror from asphalt to dirt, No, I really got beat. We went back the next week, Don didn’t change a thing, I thought tires would do the trick for me. No way, three second places, but still fun. Once again Don won everything and continued to go back for the rest of the year, I think he won the points championship. I found excuses not to go, the money was good, the people were great.

I am sure the promoters were Harry Johnson and John Lipsky. These two were part in some way of Varney Speedway a few miles north. To find the track, if it’s still there, go North on Hwy 6 about 8 kms North of Mount Forest, then take Southgate Road 22 on the right, now you are going east and the track should be about a 1/4 mile from Hwy 6 on the left side through a thick fence line of trees and bushes, don’t forget, things change. For any of you folks that like to find old tracks, the best time is in early spring just after the snow is gone and nothing has started to grow.

Courtesy of Jim Dunham