Jack Smith, who flew combat missions in not one but two World Wars, built his first race car in 1911 in his hometown of Calgary after watching the legendary Barney Oldfield in action. He was 15. After World War I, he built and drove his own sprint cars to two successive Alberta championships. He then moved to British Columbia, where he proceeded to win the Victoria, Northwest, B.C. and Vancouver championships. His many talents enabled him to manufacture not only his own chassis but his own engines and the parts for them. In 1927, he decided to branch out and try boat racing but returned to cars after winning 14 of the 15 races he entered. He’s particularly remembered for two things from the early 1930s: he was instrumental in forming, and was the first president of, the B.C. Automotive Sports Association, the parent club from which all B.C. motorsport clubs today have sprung, and he was part of a group that built the Langford Speedway in 1936. His last race as a driver was at Victoria’s Colwood Horse Race Track in 1934. He won. He then ran cars as an owner till World War II broke out. Influenced by the European Auto Union cars, he built a pair of rear-engine sprint cars after the war and campaigned them successfully at Langford in the late ’40s. Mr. Smith passed away in July, 1974.
Image via Canadian Racer