It was during this time in the 70’s that we had full access to the old WW2 airport just south of Vancouver, where our course’s could encompass the entire east/west and north/south runways, giving us Solo run times of over TWO minutes and speeds of 80+ MPH.. One runway was over 5,000 feet and the other was over 4,000 feet if I remember correctly. Without exaggeration, you could hardly see a small car if you were a worker at one end and the car was at the far end. We had to use walkie-talkies for communication.
One useless bit of trivia, think about this, with a total lineal length of over 15,000 feet if we used the whole lengths of both runways, we are talking almost 2.5 miles of usable course. To walk a course took significant TIME, so we had to really impress upon people to come EARLY!!!! Being the early riser I have been, I would be there at 5:30 -6:00 AM, just to get tires changed and then have time to walk the course. Most courses would have to be set up on the Saturday afternoon. We tried to keep the courses fairly straight forward and a few times we used the “California” model of chalking the whole course between the cones, so a driver had a much more defined path to follow. This was good, as these long fast course’s made a driver really look ahead, as the speeds were up there.
We could put on our own driving schools, both classroom and practical, especially for Boundary Bay, where we could use those facilities for as long as we liked. We used to say that a school was equal to a season for driving in practical experience.
We used to put on an event called GOLDRUSH, very cool. We made a mirror course for the whole length of the north/south runway. In the middle was a “Christmas tree” just like drag racing. One car would face one way, the other the opposite direction. In the morning cars would make practice runs, to get your “handicap”. Then, that time difference was plugged into the timer. The idea being the slower car would leave first, then, with the appropriate time difference, the faster car would leave. The idea was that near the end, both cars would be down to the wire as to who crossed first. If you went faster than your posted time, you were OUT, we called that a “bracket buster”. It was crazy exciting as the only time you would see the other guys was as you turned at the far ends and then as you raced to the finish. I can remember climbing on my brakes to make sure I would not bust out sometimes, yet still cross just ahead of the other guy. This race was for money, with eliminations down to the last two guys. It was very disconcerting to be sitting next to a Formula car...... even though you got to leave first. I made a few bucks at this event and it was just plain fun!
We also ran the B.C. Course for the Canadian National Solo Championship. It was a course that each Province would setup, EXACTLY the same, usually set up by a surveyor, so it was truly the same dimensions across Canada. The East always complained that we had an edge in traction due to the surface of the runways being concrete. It could not have been further from the truth, as that old concrete was dying, always dusty, with loose aggregate everywhere. We were just better drivers..HA...and had way more seat time in reality.
Our entries at the time would be anywhere from 70 to 100 cars.
One winter, during our club AGM, we did a hash over what else could we do that would be interesting from a solo point of view. A thought was raised that a problem with Solo courses was that they were always different, unlike a road course. The idea being that on a road course, if you are testing a car, the course is not a variable. So, we came up with the idea of a course that would be the SAME, once a month. This would allow for you to be able to see that changes made to the car would be reflected in lap times, as you had a true comparison from your last runs on the course. The SOLO DRIVERS ASSOCIATION was formed, SDA for short. Each entrant would become a member for 5.00. The entry fee would cover trophy’s and dash plaques. It was decided that on the third Sunday of every month, this course would be set up...and it was BIG! The series was called..aptly..The Third Sunday Autoslalom Series and ran from March through to October, rain or shine. In 1977and 1978 this series was beyond successful and saw the most attendance of Datsun 510’s EVER.
- Speedway slalom was just that, usually a very high speed event.
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- One of our many solo flyers that went out over the lower mainland
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"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer