After adding a big highlight to his season with a ride on the turn one and two wall at Flamboro Speedway, it seems like a fitting time for John Karley to revamp his program entering 2021 – and that’s exactly what he is doing.
The Canadian Vintage Modified Series President revealed to SHORT TRACK MUSINGS he is in the process of building a brand new car, with a new Stryker Chassis from Mike Westwood underneath it, for the 2021 season.
“We’re going to completely go over our program – redoing the gears, rear-end and front axles, new chassis, new tin work, and hopefully new color,” he revealed. “I don’t know yet but I used to change the color on a regular basis so we’ll see what happens.”
His work isn’t done there, though, as he also purchased another car within the club – the No. 25 previously piloted by Max Wright – and is in the process of transforming that into the No. 44 for Connor Ross to pilot in 2021.
Karley noted the chassis that rode the wall in 2020 will be put “on the frame jig and see what needs to be cut out and fixed and get it square,” if possible. If so, then that chassis, combined with a new crate motor and the body for the No. 25 will become Ross’ No. 44 ride.
That doesn’t mean he is getting rid of his old body, though, as it may go on a new Stryker chassis from Westwood to possibly be rented out to either generate interest, or work a racer that isn’t set to get into ownership quite yet.
If all goes to plan, it should allow him to return to familiar territory, running up front and collecting checkered flags against the best in the province while working behind the scenes to make the club better.
Racing and Canadian Vintage Modifieds is something he has always been around, virtue of watching his father compete in the Limited Sportsman Division.
“Some looked like Hobby Cars, Vagas, Gremlins – they were all kind of missed-matched and ran all over Ontario at even tracks that don’t exist anymore,” Karley recalled. “So I grew up with Dad racing and when he raced at Flamboro, we went and watched him. When he went other places, we wouldn’t go because there’s seven kids in our family – and you can’t take a family of nine to the track because woman and kids weren’t allowed in the pits. So you couldn’t afford to take us all.
“But Dad working on the car and he ran pretty good back in the day before he retired in 1976. We lost dad in ’84 and I drove my first race in the summer of ’85. I always liked the Hobby cars, liked the shape of them and the sound of them.”
Karley would initially get his hands dirty helping Charlie Beck for a couple years, before purchasing a car from Murray Timm who was selling his to buy a new one.
“I took out a loan and it was in the rulebook that you could not borrow money to race, but I did,” he revealed. “Then I started in ’89 with a loan that I never knew how I’d pay back. Been doing it pretty well ever since and going into my 32nd year as a hobby driver.”
With 31 years of experience under his belt, it’s not surprising for it to be difficult to select just one memorable moment that stands above the rest.
“Some of the wrecks were really memorable,” he started. “A lot of people I met down in Michigan as we used to go tour down there in the 90s. They actually started their vintage races based on our rulebook; they called and asked if they could use our rulebook. I went down and had a meeting with Rob Parker and there were a couple other guys and met them and had a good discussion about it to get them going.
“All of the people that I’ve raced against, all the different tracks – there’s so many different tracks all over Ontario, Michigan, Indiana and New York. The club has been around and to be president – this will be my sixth term as president and I try to make a difference as it comes to being president in how to run the club.”