Ernie de Vos
1/7/1941 - 5/3/2005
Born in The Hague, in the Netherlands, on July 1, 1941, Ernie de Vos was two years when his Jewish parents had to survive the Nazi invasion.
After the war they settled in Canada with just 100 dollars. Ernest was nine years old and his father survived by taking odd jobs. In 1959 he was sent to Paris to study at the Sorbonne. Ernest did well but when he moved to England, he paid more attention to motor racing than his studies.
A meeting with Jack Brabham in 1961 sealed his future and he became Brabham's representative in the American market. To help promote the business Brabam gave him a Formula Junior to race.
His first competition was the Harewood Trophy which comprised of 5 races over 10 days. In his first single-seater race he took his first victory. He repeated the feat the following day then again on the last day. Ernie was crowned Champion of Canada de Formule Junior 1963 with 5 victories, one second place and one retirement in 7 races.
He was then invited to take part in the Formula Junior US Eastern Championship. This pitted the best from the North American continent. And once again Ernie won with his Brabham-Ford, beating the cream of the American drivers.
About this time Peter Broeker was looking for a second driver for his Stebro project. Wanting to sign a Canadian driver, it was natural to choose the in form Ernie Devos. Ernie was entered into the US Grand Prix in 1963. Unfortunately the second Stebro was not ready in time. Continuing on its impetus, Ernie returned to Formula Junior with his Brabham.
Ernie won several races in South America, Australia, New Zealand and even in Japan. In 17 races, he won 12, finished on the podium another 3 times, retired once and 1 DNS.
It looked like Ernie was just begining, but that was not the case. The next year he took some time out to reflect on his situation. He reflected for so long that he only raced once in the Player's 200 endurance race. He drove an H.D.V. Special but retired early. It was his last appearance on a track.
He married in 1968 and settled in Quebec where he opened a garage in 1972. It is was at this time that he became interested in cycling.
In 2004 Ernie bought a property in Florida and he was cycling on the hard shoulder of U.S. 41 near his residence when he was hit by a truck. and killed. The accident happened only a hundred miles or so from where Bob Wollek was killed riding his bicycle just outside the Sebring circuit.