Canada’s Own – Legend Lost
DragRaceCanada is feeling very humble today. Regrettably, we have been informed that Canadian legendary drag racer Gordie Bonin has passed. Gordie was found dead in his hotel room in Las Vegas last Friday — he was 65 years old…..
No name is associated within Canadian drag racing more then “240 Gordie” Bonin. He was the flame that first ignited passion for many Canadian fans of NHRA racing. He was the first that gave that base one of their own to cheer for within the sports’ highest level and he fully deserved the loyalty they reciprocated back to him over the many years that followed.
I can speak of exactly that with a personal reflection of my own. One of my earliest and fondest memories was when I got to see Gordie race very early in his career. That was at the NHRA Pomona Winternationals – I want to say about 1975 or 1976. That was a time which preceded my photo-journalist career and I was sitting in the stands spectating — still trying to grasp what the sport of drag racing was really all about and whether or not I actually liked it.
I remember watching Funny Car racing on Saturday and Bonin produced a truly dramatic late event qualifier – coming from outside the program into the field. I recall vividly watching the car go into a early and very large power stand — but Bonin stayed on the throttle the whole time with the front wheels dangling and not touching the surface until 3/4 track. It was awesome — and that single minute moment scarred my brain and swayed me to the sport. When I look back that is a catalyst of why I am a fan and deeply involved today.
Originally from Red Deer Alberta, Bonin’s illustrious Funny Car racing career included six national event wins for Canadian team owner Ron Hodgson during the 1970’s and three other wins during the 1990’s while being involved with Paul Candies & Leonard Hughes and also Roland Leong.
While Bonin for sure gained his fame driving “fuel floppers”, he also had seat time in numerous Top Fuel dragsters and in fact won the FIA European Championship in 1999.
Gordie Bonin was also inducted into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame back in 2000 alongside Ron Hodgson and Gordon Jenner; a trio that made up what is arguably the most successful drag racing team in Canadian Motorsport history.
On behalf of all Canadian drag racing fans – DragRaceCanada expresses it’s heart felt condolences to the family, friends and associates of Gordie Bonin.
Fans are encouraged to reminisce about his career a bit by visiting his official website : www.240GordieRacing.com
Photos & Posting by: Bruce Biegler