John Cannon

John Cannon

21/6/1933 - 18/10/1999

British born Canadian Can-Am driver who lost his life in a plane crash in 1999.

Though John Cannon was born in London, England he was a Canadian who started racing an Elva Courier in California in 1960!

He raced a variety of sports racing cars.

In 1965 he teamed up with television actor Dan Blocker who played 'Hoss' Cartwright in the mid-1960s television western Bonanza, and raced a Genie Traco Oldsmobile, finishing 2nd at Nassau during the Speed Week.

He also raced Dan's Nickey-Vinegaroon in 1966 winning the Las Vegas round of the United States Road Racing Championship before joining the Can-Am series laterin the year. The Nickey-Vinegaroon was a 1965 Huffaker MK10 Genie powered by a Traco 300-cubic inch Oldsmobile with 42mm 481DM Webers.

In early September he entered a round of the Canadian Road Racing Championship as a test for the up-coming CanAm round at Mosport. Driving a Mk1 McLaren fitted a 365 cid Chevy he had a close race with local favorite, Ludwig Heimrath. Cannon getting the edge for a narrow win.

In Can-Am he raced the McLaren M1B Chevrolet finishing 4th in his first race at St. Jovite in September. Sticking with his M1B the following year he had an unspectacular season with his best finish a 7th at Laguna Seca.

In 1968 though the M1B was now getting a bit long in the tooth he put in the drive of his career on the 13th of October at Laguna Seca. He qualified in 15th for the race which was run in the rain. He not only won and put in the fastest lap but lapped the whole field which included Denny Hulme (2nd) and Bruce McLaren (5th).

In 1969 he carried on with Can-Am but was also offered the chance to drive single seaters in Formula A (F5000) in the team part-owned by his friend Dan Blocker. Cannon won three rounds and ended the season a creditable fourth in the championship. The following year he won the SCCA Formula A title in a McLaren M10B.

In 1971 he impressed in the European Formula 2 Championship and drove a BRM P153 in the US Grand Prix and a March 701 in the Questor GP.

In 1972 he returned to race in the uSA in the L&M F5000. He also drove in a few rounds of the British F5000 Championship and the European Formula 2 Championship.

Cannon continued racing in F5000 with occasional drives in USAC and Can-Am. In 1976 he finished second in the Rothmans F5000 series.

Cannon was killed in an aircraft accident when an air supply fault led to a fatal crash-landing in a cornfield in New Mexico.

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