As a teen growing up in Vancouver, John Copp took an early interest in racing often sneaking off to the old Digney Speedway in Burnaby. He decided to race in 1951 and prepared a 1929 Pontiac, alas, his racing career ended before it began because he was unable to get his parents to sign the permission slip. Twenty years later, a chance meeting with Roy Haslam and Denny Rand, started a long active relationship with the racing community. John became involved sponsoring Roy’s 67 Chevelle through Garden City Auto. He also sponsored other drivers notably John Forsyth and Billy Price. The Garden City name was well known during the 70s and 80s, not just through Stock Cars and Open Comp cars on and off the Island, but Garden City Nights as a lap sponsor at Western Speedway. When Roy, Terry, their crews, and families travelled off Island, John took his family along too competing at over twenty tracks in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the U.S. (Washington State, Oregon, California, Nevada, & Minnesota) The teams returned with many first place finishes and Championships setting some track records that still stand today. Their accomplishments made John very proud. Although he liked travelling to new tracks, he enjoyed competing at home at Western Speedway most, especially during the IDC Series and the Canada 200.
John liked everyone to enjoy the racing but always strived for the best in competition. That’s just what it was the night he put “The King” Kershaw in the old black Camaro and Roy in the new white Camaro. A great fan draw, good competition, and a fun night of racing. There is a continued relationship today with many of the friends John made during those racing years. They remember an approachable, yet imposing man, with a strong handshake and long thick cigars. After Garden City Auto became Garden City Suzuki, John found a new avenue of racing. For two years he supplied his son Steve and Roy with Suzuki 4 X 4s and they competed in the Boomerang 250 off road in Nanaimo bringing home 1st place trophies in their class. Although he thinks the stairs in the stands have become longer and steeper over the years, you may still meet John at Western. He goes to watch his grandson Trevor race Go-Carts or Hornets and Steve driving Stock Cars or Late Models.
We take pleasure in Inducting John Copp into the Victoria Auto Racing Hall Of Fame.