A ‘You Were There’ special
Our latest feature showing the best reader photos focuses on the first year of Can-Am
Pharmacist by day, motor sport enthusiast by night and at weekends…’ That’s how the second contributor to our occasional Private View series describes himself. Australian George Stefanoff arrived in England in 1965 for work and to do a spot of co-driving in his spare time, making many motor racing friends on the way. He contested a number of European rallies before ending up in Canada, which is where this collection of pictures hails from.
George was lucky enough to catch the maiden season of Can-Am, reporting on what he saw for Sydney title Racing Car News. The first year of the CanadianAmerican Challenge Cup attracted an impressive line-up including Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon, Mark Donohue, Dan Gurney, Graham and Phil Hill, Parnelli Jones and that year’s champion John Surtees. And then there were the cars — McLaren M1B, Lola T70, Ford GT40 and of course the Chaparral 2Es.
“Everyone was in awe of the winged Chaparrals, but no one discounted the McLarens and Lolas,” recalls George from his home near Canberra. “All the names were there, and the McLaren dominance after the first year was awesome.”
George’s back catalogue is impressive — we’ve previously featured some of his rallying shots in You Were There — but these pictures focus on the debut Can-Am race at St Jovite on September 11, 1966 and then round three at Mosport just two weeks later. In fact, the six-round series was squeezed into a two-month schedule in an effort to attract as many drivers as possible in between Grands Prix and American road racing dates. Those deliberating might have been persuaded by the prize money on offer, which totalled $358,000 for that first season of racing.
“This collection [and more] should have come your way a few years ago, but life got in the way,” says George. “So, 40 years later, they may be of some use to you.” Indeed they are — we’ll leave you to enjoy them…