A ‘You Were There’ Special
It’s clear from these spots why our contributor fell in love with motor sport at Mont Tremblant
Jim Blattman’s love of all things automotive began when, as a 16-year-old, he persuaded his father to take him to the 1966 Player’s 200, the Can-Am season opener, at Le Circuit Mont Tremblant. Montreal native Jim was hooked, and there followed a spell as navigator for a friend aboard an MGB Roadster in several local rallies.
The following year Jim saw his first Grand Prix at Mosport and also met aspiring racer Randy Fraser, who needed some help at meetings with his Triumph Spitfire. “Thus began my racing ‘career’,” says Jim.
The Spitfire was campaigned in the Quebec-Ontario sports car series with some success and in 1969 Randy raced a Merlyn MkII Formula Ford in the regional series. “At our first race — a Can-Am weekend — Teddy Mayer sent two McLaren mechanics to set up our suspension as a return for a favour we had done,” says Jim. “The car handled as if on rails…”
In 1970 Randy bought a new Brabham BT29 to race in the SCCA Continental Series and appointed Jim as crew chief (“I was the sole employee!”). They hit the road, travelling for 59 hours non-stop to the first round at Riverside in California, only for a blown oil seal to end their race after just four laps.
Afterwards Jim returned to Montreal, to a banking career and family life, but besides his mechanical skills he proved a handy photographer — as these shots from the 1967 USAC Labatt Indy race and 1968 Canadian GP, both at Mont Tremblant, demonstrate.
“These slides (and many others) have been sitting in an old box in the basement and I finally got around to sorting and digitalizing the contents,” says Jim, who took the photos using an “ancient” Canon 35mm.
These days Jim is enjoying retirement in Ottawa, but in his spare time he teaches performance driving at the Calabogie Motorsports Park and still follows Formula 1 as well as the British Touring Car Championship.