A multi-talented member of the racing community, a driver, car builder, mechanic, and dyno tech; Joe MacMurchie’s journey spans almost 60 years. He grew up around automobiles, his father had an automotive business and they were the hobby of his friend and neighbour Lamont Brooks. Joe started with road racing, this was on dark country roads, at night, in cars he and Lamont put together. An apple box for a seat, no exhaust, no lights, only the moon and stars to navigate by. Pretty scary stuff. Graduating from that to ¼ mile drag racing on the old Bamberton cement road in the 50s and then the new strip the Quarter Milers Club acquired in ’67. Joe used a ’53 Olds, a Model A, a ’68 and a ’69 Camaro(SS396).
In 1968 things changed, he was a mechanic for Lamont at Westwood when that fateful crash took the young Victoria driver’s life. Joe was devastated vowing never to be involved in racing again. For a few years that was so but when Roy Haslam needed a mechanic and partner, he went after Joe persuading him to help. Together they built and ran the car for one season. Joe caught the bug once more. He left Roy to build and race his own cars. For a number of years he ran several classes, Sportsman, Superstock, and even one year of NASCAR. Joe crewed for, raced with and against such notable drivers as Lamont Brooks, Bob Low, Dave Copper, Roy Haslam, Neil Montgomery, Jack Jeffries, Gary Kershaw, Dave Smith, Rick O’Dell, and Don Dowdy.
Joe’s father, a VITRA tech man, was the driving force that got the infield scales at Western Speedway. Joe helped install them. Years later when there were disagreements at the track and the scales were going to be torn out, Joe stepped in, had them carefully dismantled, and transported to his property where they were stored until Tony Mortel needed Joe to be a tech man for the IDC. Joe agreed as long as they would reinstall the proper scales he had kept. (How he wished he had asked them to engrave his dad’s name on those scales when they were reinstalled.)
Once again the years went by life, family, work, got in the way, racing wasn’t so important until the WILROC Sprint Cars needed a tech crew. Joe was called on again this time though, after a short stint with WILROC, he teamed up with Neil and Jeff Montgomery and the #33 crew. He truly enjoyed those years travelling the Northwest Sprint Car Racing circuit.
Joe is taking it a bit slower now, no more races. He still goes to the race shop hanging out with Neil and plays with the engine dyno. He really likes that piece of equipment. Its his favourite toy. Peter Wille asked Joe if he would mind helping with the new dyno machine he purchased. Guess where you will probably find Joe?.
It really is an honour and a pleasure to induct Joe MacMurchie into the Victoria Auto Racing Hall Of Fame.