As we move through the years we gather all types of memories, meeting a wide variety of people who fill up portions of our lives.
I am fortunate enough to meet more people than the average person due to the nature of my work but sometimes a good person slips through the cracks.
Such is the case of Gord Bonin, a Saskatchewan-born man who called Red Deer home for a good chunk of his exciting and fast life.
He recently passed away in Las Vegas at the age of 65 and while some people might not recall the name anyone associated with the world of drag racing will know immediately we are speaking of ‘240’ Gordie Bonin.
He was a fixture on the NHRA circuit in the early ’70’s and shocked the racing contingent by placing second in the 1972 nationals with his Pacemaker Vega funny car and kept showing up to the big time races, placing well, finally winning the title in 1979 with his Bubble Up Trans Am.
The winning didn’t stop there for Bonin as he won the NHRA Division Six Funny Car title every year from 1975 to 1980.
The source of the nickname was the fact he consistently pushed his car to crack the 240 mph barrier while so many others failed to get the speedometer to reach that number.
Also in 1979, Bonin became the fourth member of the NHRA Cragar 5 Second club when he flew down the quarter mile track in 5.97 seconds.
Another claim to fame was a cameo in the movie Fast Company which saw Bonin drive his funny car through a garage door, roll up to a red light and then to the joy of a couple of young men, he launched it off the line when the light turned green.
Bonin was well respected within the ranks of the NHRA and became the group’s marketing director. He is also a member of the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Now I will admit I have never had the patience to watch NASCAR or even the Indy races but I did enjoy the mere seconds it took for a funny car or a top fuel dragster to rip down the track, two more quickly line up, burn out and be ready for the next duel.
Gordie Bonin was one of the best at his game at the highest level of the sport and we can call him our own.
I only wish I had met him but that is my loss.