John Biggs was an owner of Victoria Auto Wreckers when one of his employees, the late Bob Bissenden, approached him to build a race car. “Much to the disapproval of my dad, I agreed to Bob’s idea and this started a very successful partnership over the next twelve years. In order to race at Western Speedway you had to belong to VITRA (Vancouver Island Track Racing Association). After he joined, John never missed a meeting so he could learn all there was to know about racing, in particular, the rules. The first car John and Bob built was a stock car, a 1949 Ford. They raced the car between Grandview Bowl in Nanaimo on Friday night and Western Speedway Saturday night every weekend for five years. VITRA started a new Super Stock class and in order to run they built a 1957 Ford. Other than running at Western Speedway, they also ran Tri City circuit and Monroe.
During John’s twelve year span, he was elected VITRA President three times 1968,1971, and 1972. As President it was his responsibility to represent VITRA at Western Speedway Board of Directors meetings, as VITRA owned 10% of the track. It was also his responsibility to actively promote racing at Western. It was his suggestion to enter race cars into the May Day Parade.(This is still going on to this day with other racing groups). John`s idea was more fans they put in the stands, the bigger percentage of the gate receipts they would receive in purse money. It was very popular. Some of John`s highlites: held other executive positions, won mechanic of the year 1968, won Sportsman of the year 1966, won Member of the Year twice 1968 and 1971, Tech Chairman, awarded Honorary Award 2009 along with Bob Bissenden.
One year while racing on the Pacific North West Circuit, a fellow racer told him about this tire that was called a racing slick and how it would improve the cars handling. The next weekend John drove to Sedro Wooley and bought a set of four of these tires called `slicks`. When he got home he bragged to his friends and Promoter, the late Reg Midgley, that they were going to get a clean sweep (which Reg announced in the program). And they did just that!! Fast time, won the A Dash, Fast Heat race, and Main Event and for this made a staggering $35.00 dollars. After that everyone had slicks and never had another clean sweep.
At one point when he was President, VITRA had a staggering seven hundred members and to put on a banquet was quite a challenge. One year, he rented Work Point Barracks, a large empty building then had to find tables and chairs he got from the school board, rent outhouses, had three bars set up, and arranged catering and music. This took a lot of time and effort but all in all everyone had a great time. One drawback was the next morning, thanks to a lot of volunteers (and a lot of hangovers), they had to put the building back to the way it was. The next year same thing at the Bay Street Armories, not a small feat by any means.
John met and made many friends while racing and as Head Tech had to make some hard decisions with fines and even suspending a friend for one year for an engine infraction. This made him not very popular, but rules were rules and had to be strictly adhered to. But as John said: “Ì enjoyed this time of my life, being part of VITRA and the fellowship and, if I was young (a lot younger) I would not hesitate to do it all again“.
The Hall of Fame Committee is very pleased to induct Harold John Biggs into the Victoria Auto Racing Hall Of Fame.