contains all the ingredients of a hit except one; it lacks names. One name it
has—Dick Smothers—is more noted for sticking pins into CBS execs than cars into
corners. It is fair to ask just who are Ron Grable, Gus Hutchison, Fred Baker
and Dave Jordan and, for that matter, John Cannon, who is No. 1.
now retired, was a career British Army officer, and Cannon himself attended the
Royal Air Force College at Cranwell, studying everything from thermodynamics to
aerial war. He also flew ground-attack Vampires. "I loved flying," he
says, "but I hated the service." At Cranwell he discovered auto racing
at the nearby Brands Hatch and Silverstone circuits, and in late 1957, at 20,
he came to Montreal in order to earn enough money to finance a European racing
He has never been
back. He began racing 10 years ago in Canada, and in 1968 gained a measure of
notoriety when he won a Can-Am event at Laguna Se-ca, Calif., the last time, as
it has turned out, that anybody except a Team McLaren driver has won a race in
that rich series.
Last year Cannon
would have preferred Can-Am, but couldn't raise the necessary money, and when
Malcolm Starr, a wealthy Eastern owner-driver, offered him a Formula A car,
Cannon jumped. He drove superbly, won three races, led several others and
finished fourth in the final point standings.
This year, racing
a McLaren-Chevrolet for Starr and St. Louis Trucker Carl Hogan, Cannon has
already won three races and seems assured of the driving title. Then what?
"I am using this series as a steppingstone to Formula I racing," Cannon
To the SCCA,
however, the Continental is not a steppingstone to anything. In time, it is
hoped, the Continental, through television, increased prize money and greater
spectator interest, will take its place alongside the Can-Am and Trans-Am as a
racing series of the first order.
Formula A at the moment is getting its biggest boosts from outside the United
States. In Europe, where it is known as Formula 5000, several fledgling series
have caught on handsomely. In New Zealand and Australia the Tasman Cup series,
an eight-race, off-season competition for Grand Prix drivers, adopted Formula
5000 two years ago, also with notable success. It should happen here.