By Randy Spencer
This year we mark the 50th anniversary of Flamboro Speedway. I’m proud to be a part of it in my second year as a race scorer and look forward to celebrating the anniversary all year long with the culmination, Flamboro Speedway 50th Anniversary Celebration & Memorial Night on August 20th. Over the past year I’ve been doing research on the track, piecing together a chronological history. I’ve always been under the impression that Flamboro Speedway opened in 1961. Flamboro’s website says, “Flamboro Speedway was established in 1961 and has provided a full summer schedule of high-speed, high-excitement grassroots stock car racing action every year since, making it one of Canada’s longest running stock car tracks.” Numerous sources and track directories claim this as well. But recently it was brought to my attention by someone well respected in tracking racing history that this might not be the case. Last year from my estimation it was the 50th anniversary. It was explained to me that in 1961 the track was a dirt track and it wasn’t open for the full season. If anyone has any information on whether the track actually ran part season on dirt, please email me.
I recently was given an old copy of International Motorsport News from June 21, 1963 and it shed light on what is perhaps a more accurate determination of when the track actually came into being. I quote from the story, “Only 15 minutes from the city of Hamilton, Ontario is Flamboro Race Track in Freelton, Ontario. Completed only recently, this track has become known in Canada as the fastest 1/3 mile macadam track in the Province of Ontario. Flamboro is the dream of racing fans and drivers alike in that it gives both excitement and thrills in a setting of modern race track design. The promoters and track manager, Ross Cockswell, were more than a little excited when the track opened in August of 1962.” So to me that spells it out pretty clear. In 1972, the track closed and didn’t run a full season but re-opened in 1973 when the current owners John and Frank Casale purchased it from Rocco Di Carlo.
With all this said, one thing is clear, 2011 is still the 50th anniversary. If you count every full calendar year between 1962 and 2011 inclusive, this is indeed the 50th year, so all is good. Let’s all enjoy this year. If you know of any former racers that competed at Flamboro, have them check http://www.flamborospeedway.itgo.com/cgi/50_form.htm, to register and plan to attend to celebrate with us. I also ask that if anyone has any insight, old programs, newspaper clippings, pictures etc. to contact me. It would make the celebration that much better with displays and if anyone has donations or would like to loan items for the August 20th celebration, please email me or talk to me at the track. Your items will be tagged and photographed so they will be returned to the rightful owners the way that they were loaned. And if you have further information on the track opening please let me know. I will be writing stories on some of the memorable events and doing profiles on some of the heroes that raced over the years. You can also get a copy of the Flamboro Speedway Race Night Review souvenir program. There will be a new one every week with stories and memories and pictures from the past 50 years!
For more information check http://www.flamborospeedway.ca or you can email me at [email protected] See you at the track!
Randy Spencer writes for www.ontariooval.com and does historical stories from time to time called Back in the Day. You can see more of his work on Ontario Oval.