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Sad News, John Ward

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#1 Rhythm Willie

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 07:30 AM

Have just heard that my mate of 40 years, John Ward, passed away suddenly at his home last night.

John and I were good friends and team mates since the 70's, both of us having a passion for both racing slotcars and playing and coaching basketball together.

John and I were also involved in designing wingcar bodies for Sunsett. John's "Kaditcha" body was revolutionary in the 80's. He was an avid collector of vintage and model slotcars and recently competed in the Adelaide Grand Prix.

He will be sadly missed, I will advise funeral details.

Dennis Traeger

#2 Garry J

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 08:57 AM

Sad news indeed, Dennis.

I had some correspondence from John not too long ago, a great guy with a generous spirit.

Rest in peace mate.

Garry J

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#3 billj

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 09:41 AM

Very sad news indeed,was just talking to john yesterday, he will be sadly missed by all

#4 kash15394

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 03:36 PM

Very sad news Dennis..I only knew John for 13 years he was a good bloke who would help anyone. He will be missed....

R.I.P. M.J.Ward.

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 03:53 PM

Sorry to here Dennis.

John was one of the first persons i met when i first got into slotcars. Loved his back in the day stories.

We all know how much he was waiting for that King to be up and running.

R.I.P John

Regards shane a

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#6 Chris @ Thunderbird Raceway

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 06:08 PM

Very sad news indeed. I was absolutely floored when I got the news early this morning as John dropped into the raceway only yesterday afternoon for a chat and was looking forward to the Flexi Kar race on Saturday on the 'King' track he loved so much. He had intimate knowledge of the track as he helped with the build way back in '89 and he was like a kid in a lolly shop when he was able to run his Flexis and Wings on the track again after so many years in the wilderness. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Out of respect to John, we will have a minute silence on Saturday afternoon at 1pm before the race.

R.I.P. John Ward.

Chris Osborne
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#7 Cleveland

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 07:26 AM

Very sad news indeed

I first met John at the local model swap car meets. He was a very avid collector of vintage slotcars and a huge wealth of knowledge of the older items, which he was more than happy to share helping out other collectors like myself.

He will be sadly missed

R.I.P John

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#8 ForestRaceway

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 10:33 AM

I too am very saddened by the news of John's passing. I've known and raced with John for many years, first at Nostalgia raceway and then at Adelaide Model Raceway and considered him a good friend. Like many of us, slot cars was his primary hobby, however he had a substantial depth of knowledge and experience which covered both vintage and modern slot cars. He was an accomplished modeller and was always building cars that he wanted to build, usually from vintage or scratchbuilt parts. He would often help out with advice or the odd part. He loved Can-am, with an obsession on Chaparrals. He even built at least two 1/24 2J Chaparrals completely from scratch using plasticard.

His last race was this year's Adelaide Grand Prix, a race that he loved attending and one that he had won twice, once in 2003 and then again in 2005, with plenty of podiums as well. I remember when he won in 2003 it was such a relief for him, having tried since the start back in 1996. I'm happy to say that most of the cars I have won with were built using a design principle, copied from John's 2005 scratchbuilt car.
Prior to this year's race, John had noticed a bump in the braid which was deslotting his car on the donut. We decided the fix the track and did it together. After, I commented on how nice it was to work with a professional. He had a deft touch from many years of slot car building.

I think with John he felt a kindred spirit with his fellow slot car mates. You could tell he was deeply affected by the passing of three others from Nostalgia raceway over the years.
You too will be sadly missed John.


#9 jphanna

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 01:53 PM

i have memories of John at Redline, mainly amongst the wing car enthusiasts. He was always nice to me, and i remember him as a very dedicated and fierce competitor, when i watched the wing car races.

its never a good feeling when people that we shared a hobby, and memories with, pass on.

In the brief time that i knew you, thanks for your kindness john.

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#10 MGB618

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 04:03 PM

A dear friend of mine for many years and fellow slot car buddy namely John Ward passed away suddenly on Thursday night 14/11/13, which I am still having a hard time to accept.

I consider John to be the King of Slot Cars in Adelaide, no matter what type 1/32, 1/24, Vintage to the Group Wing Cars, John was into it, from starting out as young lad in the sport from the Shelton Raceway days, Adelaide in the 60's.

John was a particular craftsmen at building chassis, motor assembly and painting with avid detail of the bodies of all different classes.

Additionally, designed and made body moulds for the late Bob Crawford of Sunset Racing Shells.

A legendary fierce competitive racer with many title wins under his belt locally and nationally over the years.

John had a great relationship with so many in the sport, where he was so well respected at his excellent all round slot car skills, but more so his ready willingness to assist any new comers and fellow racers with any support, simply a great bloke all round.

John will always to me be referred as one of the true legends of Slot Car Racing in South Australia.

Sadly missed by all.

Grant Ashby
Vale Park, Adelaide

#11 Rhythm Willie

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 12:18 PM

John's funeral will be held this Friday November 22nd at Taylor and Forgie's Fumeral Chapel, 15 Cowan Street, Gawler at 1.30 pm.

Edited by Rhythm Willie, 19 November 2013 - 12:22 PM.

#12 GRS

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 11:16 AM

Its now some 30 years ago since my friends, John, Joe, Declan & I got involved with slot car racing & mind you, this was not in the traditional way, by buying a car and going racing, no, being the early 80s & the boom period of the 60s and early 70s well & truly behind us and with no race centers left open at this time, we had no option but to buy a very well used commercial sized racetrack from this
period and restore it so that wed actually have somewhere to race in the first place! Once we had restored it and given that this sort of track takes up a very large amount of real estate we then decided we had to house it somewhere and as a result, decided to open our own commercial raceway at Pooraka. Well, after much work, the great day came for us to have our grand opening and one of the very first customers through the door was this school teacher fella whod pulled up in a really cool, 2 door Datsun Coupe complete with sunroof and carrying a very, very large box of old slot cars! Well, we soon came to learn that this guys name was John Ward, collector, scale modeler, pro racer & all round slot car aficionado! Given that our knowledge of slot car history was extremely limited, he soon began to fill in all the blanks as hed been visiting slot car centers and racing since he was a young boy, hed been to them all - Shelton Raceway, Chequered Flag, John Martins, Ramblers Raceway, Sunset Raceway, Road Runners Model Car Club, Gawler Raceway, Lincoln Park, Trackburners & AMR to name but a few! Well, John was a pretty likeable fellow and we quickly found out that he was also the ultimate enthusiast, he was interested in and wanted to collect the full spectrum of slot cars and parts - everything from the oldest model Strombecker to the latest, state of the art winged car!
We also soon found out that John wanted to continue exploring every raceway possible and he quickly became a very affable, travelling companion as we travelled all over Australia competing in some very large races against the very best competitors that Australia had to offer. In fact, not long after opening we met this policeman on holidays from Victoria, a fella named Jim Orr, a lovely guy who ended up becoming a lifelong friend to John, well Jim suggested that we should think about travelling over to Victoria to race in a big race that they were planning and if we could all make it over theyd christen it, the Vic SA Challenge. Well, this sounded good so, we all travelled over to Footscray for the big race and we were just blown away by how bloody fast these Victorians were! Thanks to a lot of team work and pooling of resources a few of us actually managed to make the final of the big race and going into the very last bracket, I was racing next to John, he turns to me and says, can you believe it! Youre in second place and Im in third at the moment, if we drive very carefully we might be lucky enough to finish on the podium. Well, this sounded like a good plan, so the power comes on and there I am carefully picking my way through the traffic hoping for a place and then I seem to notice this car next to me its flying past every other lap! Im thinking, wow, those Victorians are really fast Ill be lucky to get a place at this rate, well come the end of the race it turns out that Id indeed been relegated from second place to third, so what about Wardy, howd he go, Im thinking that he must have finished back further. How wrong I was, this guy that was flying past and lapping the field in the last bracket was none other than John Ward, hed driven so well and been so fast that he not only placed in his first big interstate race hed actually gone on and won it! John was stoked, I think that this motivated him to keep competing at this level of racing and in the process he went on to race at every big race in Australia for the next 20 years or more!
If John wasnt in a final, he was always helping out one of the SA guys who were, people like Dennis Traeger who I know won a number of National Championships thanks to Johns great and dedicated pit work. John was also my pitman when I won the Dawn Trading Trophy back in 1985. That was the thing about John, he not only wanted to compete, he was also happy just to be there, soaking up the experience and helping out those that he could in the process. When we went on to build our King Track in 1989, John was there, laying braid, painting, providing fun and doing whatever he could so that we could all enjoy racing on a world class, state of the art track, again he was there, competing in and preparing cars when we won the Bathurst 1000 Pot of Gold Race in Sale, the proceeds of which we used to fund the building of the King Track. John was also there, competing, helping out, making sure everyone enjoyed themselves when we attracted the worlds best Pro racer, Paul Pfeiffer from the USA out to Adelaide to compete in the 1995 Australian Nationals. More recently, John was also there getting everyone together to help celebrate Bob Crawfords 70th birthday as he was, staying in touch with Jim Orr throughout his final days! I could go on and on but suffice it to say that John amassed an extensive and distinguished racing history, only eclipsed, might I say by his even more extensive collection of slot cars and parts!!
More importantly, through his love of the hobby, he amassed a fine collection of friends, supporters and admirers and it is wonderful to see so many of those people paying tribute by being here today.
Well - Johns finally visited his last slot car center I think, some call it Celestial Raceway - hes about to qualify for the Pro Main with a very, very special, pro modified, Group 7, Chaparral - hes got some helpers of his own there - a fella called Bob, whos moulded a fantastic body to enable the somewhat familiar but now even more radical and aerodynamic curves of the Chaparral to mount to the finely crafted titanium chassis that Johns mate, Jim, has just assembled. Johns done a wonderful job of painting the body, his finely honed, artistic skill has resulted in a concourse quality finish that everyone is in awe of. God knows what he has sold to put together the finest motor combination ever seen, an open setup featuring 48 of the rarest, rare earth magnets ever used with a 13 turn 22 gauge, gold wire arm that spins at over 250,000 rpm, its such a high revving power plant that he has had to get his buddy, Adam, to fabricate a special gear set just to handle the power.
Well hes about to qualify - he really doesnt have to, hes done it a thousand times before - in fact hes qualified just by being there - hes moving now - his car goes ever faster - hes in control - a wonderful, masterful, spiritual like control, his body is now moving - a slow circular dance, hes flying, his speed is unbelievable, never coming off, never slowing down - so fast that I can't quite see him now....
God speed John - Rest in Peace.

Greg Spooner

#13 Jaak


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Posted 23 November 2013 - 12:09 PM

Thanks for sharing these stories guys.

I never heard of John being an European and all but am grateful to read about him.

I guess for all that knew him "Gone but never forgotten" seems to apply.

May he race in peace.

Edited by Jaak, 23 November 2013 - 12:09 PM.

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