Established in 1956, Chuckanut Sports Car Club in Bellingham, Washington was founded by motoring enthusiasts, with the intent to promote different forms of motoring pastimes such as Gymkhanas, Autocrosses, Rallies and Tours. The early membership was made up primarily of professional and business people, since they were the ones who could afford the Jaguars, Austin Healeys and Alfa Romeos of the day.
Chuckanut Sports Car Club remains a multifaceted organization, holding true to the founders’ original intent. Its membership includes people from all walks of life, and prides itself on its family-oriented inclusiveness. Ownership of a sports car is not a requirement for membership.
There have been hurdles along the way necessitating changes of focus for the club. One of the earliest, the opening of Sunday shopping, saw the loss of most, if not all, of the venues for our local autocrosses. The oil crises in the 1970s had everyone scrambling to procure dedicated fueling sites for our rally program. The eruption of Mt. St. Helens brought an end to the multi-day Northwest Rally Council championship series in which many members competed. The nadir of the club came in the early 1980s.
By 1986, community interest in motoring activities brought new life to the club. A few dedicated and creative members found new venues to revive the Autocross program. Thomas Glenn Way (now Bellwether Way), the Port of Bellingham lot adjacent to the pulp mill, and the parking lots at the Bellingham Technical School were used extensively. A number of members formed the core of the Bellingham Grand Prix Association. With the assistance of the Northwest Region of the SCCA, they conducted two street autocrosses in ’88 and ’89. That’s right, racing in downtown Bellingham!
During this same time, other members were active in the organization and operation of the Olympus World Rally Championship event. Several members built stage rally cars to compete in both regional-championship and national-championship stage rally events.
Today, sixty years along, interest remains strong in nearly all types of activities. The club hosts several Autocross events yearly and its members also compete in other regional and national level Autocross events. The Time-Speed-Distance Rally arm of the club competes in and provides assistance for events as varies, from regional TSD events to the multiday ALCAN 5000 Rally. Members also compete in and help man timing and route controls for stage rally events throughout the Northwest.
Social events continue to be a strong point of the club. From tours of the Le May Museum and Griot’s Garage, to potluck picnics and our “5th Wednesday” socials, there is no shortage of activities for our members. The experienced members also serve as mentors to those new to the various disciplines. Whether your interest is in Autocross, Rally or becoming a race track turn worker, there is sure to be someone available to answer your questions.