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.

British Empire Motor Club

Inducted 2003

Had it not been for the Toronto based British Empire Motor Club (BEMC) and its members, who organized major motorsport events and also helped to develop racing circuits such as Edenvale, Harewood Acres and Mosport Park, it is very likely that motorsport in Canada would not be as successful as it is today.

Formed originally in 1928 as a motorcycle racing club (its first event was a scramble), it has gone on to organize more motorsport events including car and motorcycle races, hill climbs, ice races, scrambles, trials and rallies, than any other club in Canada. The club promoted its first motorcycle road race in 1931 on a 1.5-mile closed circuit at the Bridle Path and Post Road in what is now midtown Toronto. By the mid 1930s, BEMC was organizing
motorcycle races on the sand at Wasaga Beach, and the crowds were huge. In 1939, the club decided to accept car enthusiasts as full members but auto racing was not promoted until 1950 when a motorcycle-car program was held at an old airport at Edenvale, near Stayner. Sixteen cars entered that first
event. Six years later, when the club moved its activities to Harewood Acres near Jarvis, 122 cars were entered for the first auto race there.

In 1958, the members – in a huge gamble – took an option on a piece of property north of Bowmanville and the first competitive event, on May 24, 1959, at what became Mosport Park was – what else? – a motorcycle scramble . The club, with partners, operated Mosport until 1966 when it was sold to private interests.

Literally thousands of people have enjoyed membership in the British Empire Motor Club. Still organizing races after all these years, the club celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2003.