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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Northwest Drag Racing Reunion Coming in 2002

By Rick Gonder

We are looking for Northwest drag racers! Back in the early to mid '60s the Quarter Milers Car Club of Victoria BC ran San Cobble Dragways on an old cement company road in an area north of Victoria called Bamberton. Many northwest drag racers ran on the track including Jerry Ruth. Then in the late '60s up until the mid '70s a private individual built Van Isle Dragways which was a sanctioned NHRA strip located in Cobble Hill, also north of Victoria. The owner went broke and the Island Dragway Promoters took over the track and ran it until about 74 when the property was sold for residential development. Many northwest guys ran at Van Isle and over the years, we featured people like Beck, Ivo, Pedregon, Williams (Syndicate Scuderia) along with a few well-known funny cars, wheel standers, and lots of door slammers. 

Now the fun part. During the weekend of Sept 13-15, 2002, we (leftovers from the Quarter Milers and Island Dragway Promoters) are putting on a drag strip reunion weekend here in Victoria. There will be a three day car show featuring as many of the old drag race cars as we can find (we have already found some significant ones), some current drag race cars and perhaps some street rods. There will be a social evening on Friday night featuring lots of nostalgia stuff like photos, films, trophies etc. On Saturday night there will be a banquet and dance featuring the Time Benders which is one of Canada's best known nostalgia bands. We are also working with the Vancouver Island Auto Racing Hall of Fame and we may induct some drag racers. We are in the early stages of planning this event but it's guaranteed to be exciting. 

We have a lot of people that we need to locate so that we can advise them of this event. We are currently working on a web site and hope to have it up and running within the next couple of months. We know the racing community loves stuff like this. There were probably about a dozen cars from Washington State that regularly ran up here at Van Isle. I have included a list of names in the event that Draglist.com readers may know where they are. 

Here are just a few of the old racers we are trying to locate. They are (or were) from the Pacific Northwest in the late '60s to early '70s. 

Les Davenport. '51 Prefect C/Altered named "Obsession" from Portland Ore 
Steve McGee. AA/GS 33 Willys from Vancouver Wash 
Bob Gibson. AA/GS 49 Anglia panel from Portland Ore 
Mike Gillis. "Spy Machine" B/Altered from Vancouver 
Bernie Wadekamper. Pro Stocker from Seattle 
Gene McKinney. "Quick Trip" pro stock 69 Camaro from Seattle 
Dave Fertello. "Warlock" A/Altered Fiat from Portland 
Terry Kniss. "King Rat" AA/FD from Seattle 
Kenny Martin. AA/FC 70 Corvette from Vancouver Wash 
Kenney Goodell. "Action Man" AA/FC 70 Challenger from Tigard Ore 
Dick Tutino. Pro Stock Camaro from Seattle 
Bill Ireland. 70 Maverick Pro Stock from Portland 
Hugh Wadekind. "Little Anni Fanni" altered roadster 
Dale Hunt. C/Altered Willys pick up. 

It would be great if we could find these guys as they added so much to the scene up here, way back when. When these guys came to Van Isle, they attracted crowds of up to 5000 spectators, which was big in those days. If you want to see some old photos of San Cobble and Van Isle Raceways go to www.quartermilers.com. If you click on "Memory Lane" and "Bios" (in particular John Dutton), you will find some interesting photos from both tracks. 

We really appreciate Draglist.com's offer to help us. I can be contacted at this e-mail or at (250) 380-1096. We'll keep you informed as our plans progress. 

Rick Gonder


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