My love for cars dates way back to the age of 14. I was born on September 19, 1942 in England. During my early racing years I worked at Mount Pleasent Motors in Toronto where I obtained my certified Mechanics License on June 24th 1964 with an inter-provincial seal (A0177). I further studied aircraft engines and air frame mechanics.
Through my Dad, Edgar Petrie, I was introduced to Ernie Hillard and subsequently to his daughter Eleanor when I was 16 years old. She became my first girlfriend. I would drive to the Hilliards cottage on Tea Lake north of Toronto where I soon became involved with small boat racing. The small boat experience was limited to a wooden Seaflea boat called Little Miss Carriage with a 10 HP motor on board. I did not race professionally but did compete aggressively in local regattas. I also became interested in the growing sport of drag racing at the age of 16. After attending the Indy Nationals at Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1959 I realized I wanted to pursue a career in drag racing.
I did not limit myself to driving and owning one car. I wanted to drive the most current new classes of cars available as the sport of drag racing was emerging. In the early years I just tried to go faster and faster. It wasn’t until I drove my John Petrie Canadian Highlander that I realized the potential of this car. It felt great to set my car on its bumper for 1320 ft (Hold on for the RIDE!)
I was sponsored by Chrysler Canada in 1969 to run 2 race cars and carry out Super Car Clinics across Canada. Chrysler Canada renewed my contract for 1970 and allocated 3 race cars for me to run in 3 different classes along with the Car Clinics across Canada. Once again in 1971 Chrysler Canada renewed my contract with 2 race cars and I continued to run the Super Car Clinic across Canada. It was a very busy time for me conducting clinics, racing cars and building cars from the ground up at my shop in Bay Ridges Ontario.
As a professional drag racer for almost a decade I welcomed the challenge of trying to excel at my sport. In my final years of drag racing I was able to concentrate more on my driving skills and focus more on my race cars. I was able to tweak a few things on the engines and to squeeze enough horsepower out of the Hemi to become very competitive in 70′, 71′ and 72′ before my Chrysler contract expired at the end of my 72′ campaign.