This weekend at Mosport (CRMP) was the BEMC Late Summer Trophy Race, formerly called the Indian Summer Trophy Race. Both the BEMC and the event have a long history, which cannot be told without mentioning the long-lost Harewood Acres race track near Jarvis, Ontario. Here’s an excerpt from a Canadian Racer article about the track.

Some race fans may think that “big-time” road racing didn’t come to Canada until Mosport opened in 1961. Actually, professional races were held two years earlier at the Harewood Acres; the premier circuit in Canada.

Harewood began its life in August, 1940 as a military airfield supporting the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. It was the home of Number One Bombing and Gunnery School. Over 12,000 trainees passed through until the airfield closed in February, 1945.

Harewood’s new role as a racing circuit began in 1956 when the British Empire Motor Club (BEMC) relocated their club from the circuit at Edenvale. BEMC moved most of their equipment from Edenvale and added to the infrastructure with a three-story scoring tower and cement block pit wall. The new 3.5 mile track opened on May 19, 1956. Admission was $2.00, with 4,500 spectators in attendance.

After the first season, some deterioration of the runways forced the circuit to be reduced to 2.45 miles. A further circuit length reduction took place in 1959, this time to 1.9 miles. This would be Harewood’s permanent length. The width varied from 30 feet to 200 feet.

On July 25, 1959 Harewood hosted the first O’Keefe Sundown Grand Prix, a six-hour race that began in the daylight and finished in the dark. Harry Blanchard and Roger Penske covered 254 laps in a Porsche RSK to take the victory in the 50-car field.

The second O’Keefe Sundown Grand Prix was held on October 1, 1960. The first and second finishers from that spring’s Carling 300 teamed up to compete in the Sundown. Roger Penske and Peter Ryan took their Porsche RSK to victory over Francis Bradley and Ludwig Heimrath.

Between 1956 and 1960 other clubs, in addition to BEMC, organized regional events at Harewood. These included the Sports Car Club of Toronto, the Grand Valley Car Club, the North Toronto Motor Club and the CRDA.

It appeared that Harewood’s days as a racing facility were numbered at the start of the 1961 season. The track’s operators, the British Empire Motor Club, had been building Mosport and the new track was ready to open in June, 1961.

From 1963 to 1970 Harewood continued to host many club events. It was the home of the Great Lakes Trophy Races, the Mid-Summer Trophy Races, Burlington Autosports Club Challenge Cup for Sedans, the Trillium Trophy Races and the Indian Summer Trophy Race.

The 1970 season was the end for Harewood, as the owner sold the land to Texaco and the company built an oil refinery on the property.

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