Great news today.
Selection Committee of Canada Post has seen fit to honour
to a release, the 20 stamp issues and two commemorative envelopes approved
by the committee for 2011 feature a wide variety of topics and people. In
addition to Miss Supertest, baseball Hall of Fame member Ferguson Jenkins of
Chatham and the
The selection of Miss Supertest is due almost entirely to the efforts of John Lyons of Picton. John went to every newspaper, radio and television station he could to make the case that Supertest and her driver, the late Bob Hayward, were worthy of such a stamp.
And the timing was critical because 2011 would mark the 50th anniversary of Supertest and Hayward's third and final glorious triumph - beating the Americans for the Harmsworth Trophy.
We sat down
for a chat in January and I wrote about him and the campaign in a Toronto Star
Wheels column in February. Said John when we were having coffee:
"The Stamp Selection Committee of Canada Post and its chairperson, Robert Waite, must know that Canadians are supportive of such a stamp. They get about 600 applications a year and fewer than two dozen are approved. So it's really important for people to get behind this."
I was amazed at the response to that column. Many of the people who wrote or emailed Mr. Waite copied me and I received dozens of pledges of support.
I can just
imagine the avalanche that descended on Ottawa because John convinced yacht clubs,
members of Parliament and even Mayor David Miller of
Jim Phillips, Director of Stamp Services for Canada Post, made the formal announcement this week and said that “Miss Supertest marks the glory of the Canadian hydroplane racer, three-time winner of the Harmsworth Cup.”
For those of you who aren't familiar with Miss Supertest, the boat, the man and the story make up a wonderful slice of Canadiana.
First, a little
background. In 1902, the fellow who owned
Jim Thompson of
In 1959, Miss Supertest III was constructed and this boat was a winner right out of the box. In August of that year, Supertest III, with Hayward driving (Thompson did virtually all of the testing and development work on the third boat but left the actual race-driving to Hayward) went up against the American champion Maverick, which was defending the Harmsworth Trophy on the Detroit River, and beat him.
The victory caught Canadians by surprise but very quickly there was joy in the land. They might be our friends, but there's nothing Canadians like to do better - be it in hockey or the War of 1812 - than beating the Americans.
As dictated by
Alfred Harmsworth back in 1902, any challenge for the trophy had to take place
in the country of the Harmsworth holder and so, in August of 1960, the
Americans brought three boats - the maximum number of challengers under the
rules - to
By now, Miss Supertest was a Canadian icon: a household name from one end of the country to the other. The excitement over the showdown was unimaginable.
The boat and
the man were national heroes and were given a ticker-tape parade up
Miss Supertest III and
only allow Miss Supertest III to compete in the Harmsworth Trophy races;
Miss Supertest III and Bob Hayward are members of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame; they, and Thompson, are inductees of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame.
And the piece
Congratulations to John Lyons and to the Stamp Selection Committee of Canada Post for this wonderful day in the history of Canadian motorsport.