By: C. Ray
Jim Bandes was a teenager when he bought his first Ferrari. “Back then, they were like, $3.00 each.” And 1/64th the scale of a normal car. Like many boys growing up in the 1960s and 70s, Jim was a slot car racer. “I got hooked on it, big time. I used to do everything I could to save up enough money to run down to the local hobby shop and buy a new car.” When he discovered the Lorain Race Palace, a slot car track in his hometown of Lorain, Ohio, Bandes was hooked. The Race Palace shut down after just two years, so he moved on to a racetrack in nearby Elyria. “During the late 60′s and early 70′s, there were slot car raceways everywhere. And I do mean everywhere”. In Canada, Scott Wylie’s story mirrors Jim’s almost exactly. “Being a kid in the ‘60’s, everybody had a race set,” Wylie says, gazing over the 6-lane track at the GrandPrix Slotcar Raceway, in the Downsview area of Toronto. “Through that hobby, I stumbled on to a commercial raceway where they had a big track like this. And I never looked back.” GrandPrix is owned by Wylie’s long time friend, Ernie Mossetti, who has operated the raceway since 1988. Wylie and Mossetti have been racing together since the 1970’s.