RICK @ the RACES (6/7 Feb)

Date: 2/8/2010 3:27:45 AM

RICK @ the RACES (6/7 Feb)

6 Feb              Maniwaki , Que ,   Rallye Perce-Neige,

7 Feb              St Damase ,Que,   Winter Enduro

I was up bright and early this past Saturday for a three hour drive to Maniwaki, Quebec. The reason for the early start was to catch the 9-30 am start of the Perce-Neige Rally. I left Cornwall , Ontario at 5-30 am in the morning and by 7-15 am I was parked in the parking lot outside the Giant Tiger store in Wakefield, Quebec. It was here where I'd arranged to meet my friend Erin Joyce, who would be joining me for the trip. Actually it was Erin, the young Legend and Sprint Car driver that alerted me about the Rally . The event had escaped my agenda, and I wasn't originally intending to be there. Erin lives near Wakefield so she parked her car and joined me for the rest of the journey.

We arrived in Maniwaki about 8-45am , in plenty of time to grab a breakfast at McDonalds before the cars were put on display in the parking lot of the towns MAXI store prior to the official start. One of the reasons Erin wanted to be there, was to see some friends that were competing. Her friend Nancy Haywards's husband Warren was taking part, with navigator J Morrow.

Nancy, an enthusiastic Rallying fan went into great detail, telling us how their Suburu was constructed. I also had a quick chat with two fellow 'Brits' that were taking part. They were the brother and sister team of Nick and Kelly Mathew who were also in a Suburu. They told me they had been living in Canada for about 10 years and were formerly from Blackburn, Lancashire. Check out their website www.2britsracing.com

At 9-30 prompt the official start too place and the first to leave was Canadian Rally Champion Pat Richard and his navigator Alan Oakwell.

We watched most of the cars setting off , which left at one minute intervals , before driving Nancy back to the Rally service area. After meeting some of the crew members Erin and I went to the Marie-Anne special stage for a while. We didn't stay there too long as we both had other commitments later that day, and needed to be heading homeward. After stopping at the Maniwaki Tim Hortons we were soon on our way.

Once we arrived at Erin's place, I had a quick chat with Mike, her Dad and took a look at their Sprint Car before driving back to Cornwall.

On Sunday I returned to Quebec for the first Winter Enduro at St Damase.

I heard about this event via a French language ice racing forum that I monitor. There was a brief mention of it about a month back, then the info dried up. Luckily that initial notification had a phone number, and I was able to clarify it was on before making the trip.

As this was a new track for me, I had no idea what to expect until I arrived. It was located right in the middle of the town, on what appears to be the fairgrounds or sports park. The track is of a grass/dirt surface covered in snow. The front stretch is about the same length as a football pitch ( soccer to my North American friends) and the back stretch has a chicane. Both front and back  stretches were close together with two tight hairpin bends at either end. There was floodlighting on either side and there were semi permanent grandstands in place. These two factors got me wondering what else the facility was used for, so I started asking questions.

A friendly lady in one of the concession stands, spoke English and told me that each July they have a Corn Festival, and this area is used for the Destruction Derby and Truck Pulling attractions. She said that this was their first ever ice racing event. Actually, there was very little snow or ice, and it mostly consisted of mud until they shoveled snow in from elsewhere .

This had been a two day event and it seemed like it was part of the towns Winter Festival. Thirty cars of the 4 cylinder Enduro type took to the track for just one race. It was a 100 lapper, or 60 minutes ( Which ever came first).

There was lots of action and good fun was had by the reasonable sized crowd of locals that turned up. I compare this event to a similar one I attended a couple of years ago at Clarence Creek, Ontario.

This was track number 179 on my TRACKCHASING totals.

PIC 1  'Yours Truly' in Maniwaki

PIC  2   The Suburu of Pat Richard

PIC  3  Pre race interview of Pat Richard by the media.

PIC  4  Erin Joyce ( L ) and Nancy Hayward ( R ) at Maniwaki

PIC  5  The interior of the Chapman/Morrow Suburu at Maniwaki

PIC  6  Driver Warren Hayward ( L ) and navigator J Morrow beside their car at Maniwaki.

PIC  7  Some of the competitors lined up prior to the start of the Rally

PIC  8  British competitors Nick and Kelly Marthew at Maniwaki

PIC  9   Nick and Kelly Mathew are flagged off at the start of the Rally

PIC  10  Warren Hayward and J Morrow are flagged off at the start of the Rally.

PIC  11 The first stage of the Rally was the 'Marie-Anne'

PIC  12  Erin and Mike Joyce in the workshop with their Sprint Car.

PICS  11 to 20    Action from the Winter Enduro at St Damase


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