Speedway

Formula A racing at the Edmonton International Speedway, Alberta, Canada. May 1970.

Formula A racing at the Edmonton International Speedway, Alberta, Canada. May 1970.

Writing Prompt No. 64

Guest Post No.1 by Retronaut

I remember he built a car that he raced at the circuits a drive away from our house. He built it in our garage sometimes wearing a strange mask with a rectangular window when welding pieces of metal together. He looked like a spaceman from an old 1950s B movie; the story of invaders from outer space, that sort of thing. I remember the powerful smell of fibreglass. The acidic odour would catch in the back of my throat. It was unlike anything I’d ever smelt before unless you count the metallic paint in those little pots used for painting model aeroplanes.

The car was blue. He likes blue. A beautiful bright royal blue with a number on the bonnet. I don’t remember what number or whether it was single or double figures. I don’t know. I remember the number was painted black on a white circle. He still has a steady hand.

I sat in it once. I was aged about 10. I remember my surprise at how small and squashed the cabin was. So low to the ground. I remember putting my hands on the steering wheel feeling the squish of the material under my fingers. I remember putting his helmet on which was way too big but it still pushed my cheeks onto my teeth. I wish there was a photograph. His helmet was blue too. I remember him sticking a line of white tape and a line of red from the top of the visor all the way down the back, right down the middle, while we all sat watching Saturday night telly. I remember how careful and precise he was. I remember wishing I could do these things as well as he did.

He had a bus, a coach, he fitted out. Two race cars in the back, one above the other. A place to eat and sleep at the front. No one else in our suburban cul-de-sac had a bus parked down their driveway. Somewhere there is a photograph of me and my Mum peeling potatoes at the kitchen sink. Through the window behind us, you can see the front of Dad’s bus. As if it had always been there.

Above photograph is from the capsule ‘May 1970: Racing at the Speedway’ found at the wonderful Retronaut. Image is reproduced here with the kind permission of Wolfgang Wild.

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