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Wpg Free Press: On the road after retirement

March 30, 2017 — 

As the Winnipeg Free Press reports: 

George E. Chapman is spending the first day of his retirement behind the wheel, a 3,000-kilometre drive south from Winnipeg then west to Phoenix, Arizona.

It’s a fitting send-off for a former Canadian national race car champion, although this drive will certainly be longer, slower and less flashy than his winning laps. Instead of the sleek, yellow Lotus 23B Chapman raced to victory in 1966, he’ll be driving a Honda Accord. Instead of being the sole driver, Chapman will share the wheel with “a lady friend” who he became quite close to during his running days.

“A plain Jane car,” he calls it on a chuckle.

Looking dapper in a suit with an Air Force pin affixed to his lapel, the 88-year-old lawyer took a break from recycling decades worth of old case files on Tuesday to talk about flying airplanes, winning car races, running marathons and everything else he managed to jam into a career that spanned more than six decades…

He studied science at the University of Manitoba and then attended its law school, graduating in 1954. Having been involved throughout university with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)’s reserve program, Chapman wanted to become a pilot, but didn’t because RCAF wanted him to be an Air Force lawyer instead (they would later make him an honorary colonel).

So instead of the military, he joined his father in private practice; Chapman became Chapman and Chapman. But Chapman, then just 25, never settled fully at his desk. A job meant he finally had enough money to regularly race the MG car he’d bought three years earlier, inspired by watching his first race in 1951 on the streets of Watkins Glen in New York.

“I wanted to make sure that I’d have enough money to repair it if I crashed it or banged it up,” he says. But once he started driving the MG regularly, Chapman wanted more.

“I bought a succession of cars after that,” he says, “I got very deeply involved in car racing.”

Read the full story here.


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