Robin Edwardes

Inducted 2011

The sport of rallying would not be where it is today without the involvement of Robin Edwardes.

Not only did he compete in road rallies for over 50 years, he was also instrumental in the rules and procedures which make up the sport, along with setting standards for licenses with the CASC.

Born in England in 1930, Edwards was an athlete during his early years, and also received his honors mathematics degree from King’s College in London before taking employment as a rocket scientist with the Napier motorcar firm.

He and his family immigrated to Canada, and he worked for Canadair (Bombardier) in Montreal, and then Northern Electric, working on projects ranging from turbo compound diesels to rocket engines for the aircraft and aerospace industries.

In the late 1950s he joined the Canadian Automobile Club, and through the Sports Car Club of Montreal, began to compete in rally and economy events. It was during this time he achieved a milestone event, recording 90 miles per gallon, that’s gallon, not liter, in 1959 with a Renault Dauphine.

With his appetite whetted, Edwardes took to rallying in earnest, and competed throughout Canada and the US in RAC and FIA-sanctioned events.

Over the next several decades he navigated or co-drove for over 100, including the Ford Works drivers Henry Taylor and Roger Clark, John Buffum and Eric Jones of the US, and prominent Canadians such as Walter Boyce, Jean Paul Perusse, and Randy Black. Some of his vehicles included Lotus, Simca, Toyota, Volvo, SAAB, VW, and Jeep.
Highlights during this time include a first in class in the 1962 and 1966 Shell 4000, Quebec Regional Champion Navigator titles in 1960, 1963, and 1965, and four firsts in the Rallye des Neiges.

But the competition side is only half his story.

Edwards was vice-president of the CASC from 1975 to 1977, and brought forth many changes to the sport of rallying, including recovery points, timing methods, and scoring procedures. He was also the national scorer, and issued the CASC rally press releases.

Although he retired from his day job in 1998, Edwardes continues to work within the Canadian rally community in organization, administration, and getting into that right side seat in competition.

Paul Manson

Paul Manson co-drove with Fritz Hochreuter in the 1966 Shell 4000

Inducted 2011

When Paul Manson rolled his VW driving in only his second rally event in 1960, the Toronto resident decided he would make a better navigator than driver.

And thus began one of the most illustrious careers in Canadian rally history.

This winner of many national, regional and club rallys during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s competed in 80-plus events in the years of 1964, 1965, and 1967. His resume includes winning the Fidler Trophy in the Canadian National Rally Championship in 1967, the Wilson Trophy in 1964, 1965, and 1967, and four top-ten finishes in the prestigious Shell 4000 Rally in the 1960s.

The cars he competed in varied greatly, from Chevelles and VW 1500s in the Shell 4000 to national events in a Datsun 1300.

Not only did Manson compete in rallys, he was instrumental in their organization and marshalling. He was the National and Regional Rally Steward with the CASC in the 1960s and 1970s, and contributed to print and broadcast media on the Canadian rally scene during this time.

His passion took him outside of Canada from time to time, helping to score rallys in the United States in the 1990s. He also competed in the Total Rally in South Africa in 1974.

An accountant by trade, Manson believes this background was of benefit when working with the Heuer watches, the Curta calculators, the Tripmaster, and a large collection of topographical maps.

And as demonstrated by his winning record, Manson’s numbers added up.

Bruce Simpson

bruce simpson

Inducted 2006

“Always play to win.” That was the motto of the rally team of John Bird and Bruce Simpson – and win they did. As a team, they entered 140 rallies and won 107. A few times they were merely close, recording 12 seconds and 5 thirds. That is a record unmatched in motorsport. The record shows that John Bird, a university professor, was Canadian Rally Champion in 1963, 1964, 1965 and Bruce Simpson, an elementary school teacher, won the title in 1966. In those days the Fidler Trophy was given to the winner of the National Rally Championship. There was no separate category for drivers and navigators as is the case today. They won four consecutive events with losses of 0, 1, 0, 0 penalty points. John Bird still insists that the organizers made the mistake on the second of those four rallies. This all took place at a time when rallying attracted a large number of competitors and 100-car fields were not unusual. The team of Simpson and Bird defined rally excellence in Canada against all comers. They became legend not just for their ability to win but for the way they went about winning. They were all business, but they also indulged their other interests as they competed, listening to football games and cheering for their respective teams – John supporting the Argos and Bruce for the TiCats. John Bird entered the ultimate Canadian rally, the Shell 4000, six times and won it twice while navigating for driver Klaus Ross. Ross and Bird were the only team ever to win it back-to-back, in 1964 and 1965. John and Bruce each won the Ontario Rally championship seven times. Bruce won it seven consecutive years from 1963 to 1969. John missed in 1964 but won it in 1962. John, Bruce and Paul Manson shared the Wilson Trophy for most active competitor of the year in 1965. Bruce also won it in 1963. They also had success rallying with others. John Bird navigated for a number of other drivers on 100 rallies winning 37. Bruce Simpson won 14 of 27 rallies while driving for other navigators. He also won 50 rallies while navigating for several other drivers on 97 rallies.

Bill LeFeuvre

Inducted 2009

As one of Canada’s most prolific off-road racers, Bill LeFeuvre’s early racing was on the road circuits of Mosport and Harewood Acres starting in 1961 with his Formula Vee.

The Sault Ste Marie native, born in 1943, stayed with Volkswagen power when he stated off-road racing in 1971. With his Baja Bug he won the Ontario championship four times by 1977. He also competed on the pavement at this time, racing a VW in the Mini-Stock class at Cayuga Speedway.

His off-road career began in earnest in 1978 with a Class 1 dune buggy, and then into a Super 1600-class buggy.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s he competed in several off-road venues, including Score Canada and the B.F. Goodrich Challenge Cup, where he won numerous class titles.

He also travelled stateside, competing, and winning, off-road races in New York, Florida, and Michigan. His resume includes class wins in the Mickey Thompson Stadium Series in the Midwest US and victories in the BFG Stadium Series in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto.

Along with his victories, LeFeuvre was a respected and well-liked competitor among his peers, with several most sportsmanlike and sportsman of the years titles in the off-road world.

Image via Race Dezert

John Bird

Inducted 2006

“Always play to win.” That was the motto of the rally team of John Bird and Bruce Simpson – and win they did. As a team, they entered 140 rallies and won 107. A few times they were merely close, recording 12 seconds and 5 thirds. That is a record unmatched in motorsport. The record shows that John Bird, a university professor, was Canadian Rally Champion in 1963, 1964, 1965 and Bruce Simpson, an elementary school teacher, won the title in 1966. In those days the Fidler Trophy was given to the winner of the National Rally Championship. There was no separate category for drivers and navigators as is the case today. They won four consecutive events with losses of 0, 1, 0, 0 penalty points. John Bird still insists that the organizers made the mistake on the second of those four rallies. This all took place at a time when rallying attracted a large number of competitors and 100-car fields were not unusual. The team of Simpson and Bird defined rally excellence in Canada against all comers. They became legend not just for their ability to win but for the way they went about winning. They were all business, but they also indulged their other interests as they competed, listening to football games and cheering for their respective teams – John supporting the Argos and Bruce for the TiCats. John Bird entered the ultimate Canadian rally, the Shell 4000, six times and won it twice while navigating for driver Klaus Ross. Ross and Bird were the only team ever to win it back-to-back, in 1964 and 1965. John and Bruce each won the Ontario Rally championship seven times. Bruce won it seven consecutive years from 1963 to 1969. John missed in 1964 but won it in 1962. John, Bruce and Paul Manson shared the Wilson Trophy for most active competitor of the year in 1965. Bruce also won it in 1963. They also had success rallying with others. John Bird navigated for a number of other drivers on 100 rallies winning 37. Bruce Simpson won 14 of 27 rallies while driving for other navigators. He also won 50 rallies while navigating for several other drivers on 97 rallies.

Harold Wilson

Inducted 2005

Harold Wilson, the first Canadian to win a world championship in any form of motorsport, won his first speedboat race when he was 15 in the 1926 Muskoka Lakes Regatta. In 1934, Wilson won his first world championship event. Driving the Muskoka-built Little Miss Canada III with his future wife, Lorna Reid, beside him as riding mechanic, he won the 225 c.i. Class race at the Canadian National Exhibition. He successfully defended his title in 1935. In 1939, the International Motor Yachting Union organized a world championship race in Washington, D.C., for the 7 Litre Class. Wilson defeated the U.S. entry, Notre Dame, to win the President’s Cup and become World Champion. After the war, the American Power Boat Association declared the Gold Cup Class for unlimited hydroplanes as its top class. Wilson installed a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine in Miss Canada III. In 1946, he set a class speed record of 119.009 mph at Picton, Ont., and won the Silver Cup at Detroit. In 1947, Wilson set a North American speed record of 138.865 mph with his powerful Miss Canada IV. He retired from boat racing in 1950 and went rally driving – he finished second the first two years of the Canadian Winter Rally, and second-in-class in the Shell 4000 cross-Canada rally. He was president of the CASC from 1957-’59, and served on Mosport’s founding Board of Directors.

Jean-Paul Perusse

Inducted 2004

Jean-Paul Perusse became interested in rallying in the mid-1960s when he was studying engineering. His first major rally was the Shell 4000. Fiat gave him a Fiat 128 to enter in the 1972 Canadian Winter Rally and he beat his teammate, rally superstar Andrew Cowan. He won the Winter Rally again in 1973 and ’74. Then began what can only be called a Perusse domination of the rally scene, winning the Canadian Rally Championship in 1975 and ’76. Included in his victories was the 1976 Winter Rally, his fourth in five years, and he beat rally legend John Buffum in the process. He switched manufacturers and drove a Saab for several years but, in late 1976, he moved to British Leyland and ran a Triumph TR7 in 1977. Not long after, Perusse cut back on his rallying and went ice racing until he was called back to the scene by his old friend, John Buffum. Jean-Paul drove a Volkswagen GTI to win the 1987 Group A class in the North American Rally Cup, which combines results from both Canada and the United States. In the early 1990s, he again left rallying and returned to ice racing, winning two Quebec championships. By the turn of the century, he was rallying again in his old VW GTI. He showed the younger generation how it was done in 2001 by finishing tenth and fourth in a series of Quebec rallies. The came the 2002 Percce Neige, where he was faster than many of his opponents, eventually finishing sixth overall and first in his class. Today, he is still in the driver’s seat, planning on even more seasons, proving that you can’t keep a superb rallyist down.

Image via Motorsport.com

Alice & Jim Fergusson

Inducted 2004

Jim Fergusson was a successful motorcycle, sports car and sedan racer, and rally driver. He was a team manager, crew chief, mechanic, race and rally organizer, official, sponsor and patron of the sport. He was also a racing car designer and constructor. He was introduced to motorsport by members of the British Empire Motor Club (BEMC) in the year it was founded, 1928. It was like introducing a duck to water. He was a barnstorming fairgrounds motorcycle racer and sometimes motorcycle road racer until he went off to war in 1939. Alice Fergusson was one of Canada’s pioneer women racing and rally drivers. She was also a race and rally organizer and editor of BEMC’s Small Torque, probably the oldest racing club publication in Canada and now an invaluable source for the history of motorsport in central Canada. On June 25, 1950, Jim was president of theBEMC when the club held a pair of sports car races at Edenvale, the first known sports car races in eastern Canada. Jim finished third in both events; Alice was 15th in the first and official scorer of the second. It was the beginning of many years of racing and rallying for Jim and Alice. They raced at Sebring, Watkins Glen, Harewood and other circuits. They rallied in club events, national events and competed in a variety of hillclimbs, ice races and economy runs. Jim designed a formula junior car; Alice built a Flathead Ford stock car motor that set a track record in 1952 at the CNE Speedway. Their last hurrah came in the early 1970s; they were the only Canadian competitors in the very first (and highly illegal) Cannonball Baker, Sea-to-Shining-Sea, Memorial Trophy Dash that was won by Brock Yates and Dan Gurney. Jim passed away in 1976 and Alice followed in 1997. Separately and together, Jim and Alice Fergusson made a remarkable contribution to the development of Canadian motorsport. Their efforts were purely voluntary. They did what they did for the love of the sport.

Taisto Heinonen

Taisto Heinonen & Tom Burges win the 1979 Pacific Forest Rally

Inducted 2003

As his nominations papers state, Taisto Heinonen’s record shows that he stands at the top of the class of Canada rallysport drivers. He heads the small group of drivers who have attained Grand Master status (over 2,000 points) with a lifetime total of 5,580 points – some 800 ahead of the rest. Heinonen racked up a total of 40 victories in Canadian national events in his relatively short driving career and captured five national championships between 1977 and 1982, when he retired from competition. During that time, he was primarily responsible for Toyota winning the Marques Championship six times. The car control demonstrated by Taisto Heinonen was awesome. He seemed to do the impossible, especially in snow and ice and he rarely crashed. He always seemed to be able to “dig deeper’` when necessary to overcome the opposition. He was also a constructor, building his own cars, including the factory entries when he ran for Toyota. The cars were professionally constructed and maintained and seldom did he drop out of an event because of mechanical failure. Taisto started rallying in Finland, the country of his birth, in 1964. He immigrated to Canada in 1970 and entered rallying in this country in 1971. One of the reasons he did as well in winter conditions was that he won the B.C. Region Ice Racing Championship three straight years from 1974 through ’76. He retired from competition in 1983.

Image via Pacific Forest Rally

Walter Boyce

Inducted 2003

Walter Boyce is a Canadian rallysport hero. He is the only Canadian rally driver ever to win an FIA World Championship Rally. Teamed with co-driver Doug Woods, he decisively won the 1973 Press-On-Regardless Rally. He is one of the few Canadians to have been seeded by the FIA and the only North American ever ranked in the top seed. Additionally, Boyce scored countless Canadian and SCCA sanctioned event victories during his career, including the Canadian Winter Rally and the Rally of the Rideau Lakes. His record of five consecutive Canadian National Championship titles has never been equaled. Entering his first rally in 1967 with his brother Harry navigating in his mother’s Mercury Comet, Walter took just two years to hit his stride on the national stage. Between September 1969 and March of 1971, he entered 21 Canadian National Championship rallies (including 4 FIA listed international events) and recorded 10 wins, 5 places and 6 DNF’s. 1969 also included a third overall in the famous Press-On-Regardless, his favourite event. He even competed in and won the Cannonball Run – One Lap of America in 1985. Not content to just compete in rallies, Walter Boyce has written about the sport in a number of Canadian publications, assisted in event presentation and was the President of Outaouais Valley Autosport Club.