Francis Bradley

0/0/1927 - 6/6/2009

Francis Bradley
Francis Bradley was the 1962 Canadian Driving Champion. Francis Bradley died 13 years ago, he was 82 , He would have been 95.

Bradley, an Englishman, came to Canada in 1954. He started racing in 1955 and moved quickly from racing his own family Volkswagen to sponsored rides, in the Eglinton / Caledonia Motors Porsche 550 Spyder and then the ex Peter Ryan Lotus 19 Climax known as Miss Whiz, the car he raced in the first Player's 200 in 1961.

An employee of the TTC, he drove a bus during the week and went racing on weekends. Once, the old Weekend magazine published a feature on him and called him "Canada's fastest bus driver." He got a great kick out of that.

"Those magazines were very popular in their day," he said about Weekend and the also-long-gone Canadian magazine. "Everybody read them. One Monday after I was in Weekend, everybody getting on my bus had a big smile for me and asked how I'd done at the races. It was very gratifying."

Bradley was the driver chosen to drive through a banner to officially open Mosport Park in 1961. In 1962, he took over the Lotus 19 that had been raced the year before by the late Peter Ryan and drove it to the Canadian Driving Championship. He defeated talents like Ludwig Heimrath, and Harry Entwhistle to earn the title.

After winning the championship he switched to sedans and raced through to 1967. "I felt, with three children growing up, that I should stop taking chances," he once said, in reference to his three sons and some of the crashes he'd seen over the years.

His last full season was in 1967. He last strapped himself into a race car in anger in 1971 as a co-driver for the Six Hours of Mosport.

Norris McDonald - Toronto Star


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