RICK @ the RACES (21 to 24 May)

Date: 5/26/2010 7:11:29 PM

RICK @ the RACES (21 to 24 May)

21 May                         Mohawk International Raceway ( Hogansburg NY)

22 May                        Brockville Ontario Speedway (Ont)

23 May                       Cornwall Motor Speedway (Ont)

24 May                        Autodrome Edelweiss ( Cantley Que)

The Victoria Day Weekend signals the start of summer here in Canada and for those that could make it, there were four days of racing on offer. Once again my 6-00 pm finish at work in Cornwall (Ont) allowed me to visit the Friday night races at the Mohawk International Raceway at Hogansburg NY .

With the races starting at 7-45 pm I thought I'd got plenty of time to get there, but I was wrong. I sat for over 45 minutes at the USA/CANADA border. Once upon a time you'd be over within a few minutes but these days the situation is much different. After living in Europe for most of my life and seening the frontiers coming down, it seems crazy to me, that two friendly North American countries such ours, still have to deal with all this nonsense.

I got to the track just as the four cylinder heats were getting under way and it wasn't long before I was taking photos alongside my buddy Mike Watts.

Feature winners were, Todd Stewart ( 358 Mods) Chris Raabe ( Sportsman) , Dave Bissonnette ( Pro Stock) and Joey Foster (Bandits)

The show went along smoothly with out any major delays and was all over before 10-00pm . On the journey home it was once again the border crossing that spoiled my night, this time with 30 minute delay.

As I awoke Saturday morning and peered out of my window I was surprised to see it was raining. The weather forecast never mentioned this ! Thankfully , it soon came to an end and the sun started shining, so I started to prepare my stuff for the nights racing.

My destination was the Brockville Ontario Speedway. They'd had very little rain, and on arrival it was shorts and tee shirt weather. As usual the pits were full and joining the nights program were the Vintage Mods. This division is organized by track photographer Henry Hannewyk , who also owns one of the cars ( a Tony Blake replica)

I enjoy watching these and a new addition to the ranks was Morrisburg's (Ont) Cole Dingwall in a beautiful 1962 Mercury Comet bodied car. It was built by his father Keith 'Chico' as a tribute to his late grandfather, Ford Dingwall who passed away earlier this year. Come feature time , it was Cole that I was taking pictures of in Victory Lane.

The Modified feature was won by Brian McDonald of Cornwall (Ont) after fending off a late challenge from Kingston's (Ont) Pat O'Brien.

The Sportsman feature was definitely the best race of the night, with a three way battle between Adam Turner, Randy Earl and Chris Raabe. It could have been anyones race, but as the checkers fell it was Turner of Picton (Ont) who took the win.

I must also mention that the south western Ontario based 'Have Bus' company had display at Brockville. They are the specialist's in transporting race fans to special events. The trip that will interest most dirt racing fans is the one scheduled for the Dirt Track World Finals at Charlotte NC in November. Doug Andrews the boss of 'Have Bus' told me that he'd already filled one bus and was now working on the second. He went on to tell me that if he could get at least 10 people signed up from Eastern Ontario, he would arrange to make a pick up from the area. Check out the website www.havebus.com 

While I was at Brockville another of my friends, Erin Joyce was making her 2010 Sprint Car debut at the Brighton Speedway (Ont) . She plans to race both Sprints and Legends ( on a limited basis) this year. A Big thanks goes out to Erin for adding the www.rickattheraces.com logo to her car. That's great and I really appreciate it. She now joins Tabatha Murphy, Billy Cook and Steve Barber who are helping to promote the site.

After a late night supper at the 730 Truck Stop on Hwy 401 I was back home around midnight, and by 3-00am I'd downloaded my photos and sent them off to the media . Sunday was going to be a busy one, so I allowed myself the luxury of a lay in.

It was the first 'biggy' of the year at the Cornwall Motor Speedway and my plan was to be there early and meet up with my friend and DIRTCAR media man Tom Skibinski. I arrived at the track around 1-00pm and Tom who'd traveled up from Rochester NY arrived soon after. We then spent the time chatting and getting our stuff ready before the evenings big races.

The main events were the 100 lap Canadian Nationals for 358 Modifieds and the 50 lap DIRTCAR Pro Stock Series race . As well as this the program included SPORTSMAN and the four cylinder Mini Stocks. The weather was perfect, there was lots of sunshine and not a rain drop in sight. The pits were packed with cars and included many rare visitors.

One of the rare visitors was New Jersey's Brett Hearn # 20 , who went on to win the headline event after a race long battle with Quebec's Clement Therrien.

The Pro Stock Series race turned in to a bit of a marathon, with yellow flags and carnage every few laps. The eventual winner was Cornwall expert Joey Ladouceur. During the heats I was pleased to see my buddy Gilles Godard # 27 get a 'straight from the box' win with his new car

The Sportsman event provided yet another win for Chris Raabe while Ronnie Tyo took the Mini Stock Feature.

The next day was the 'Holiday Monday' here in Canada and the main event of interest to me was the 358 SUPER DIRT SERIES race at the Merrittville Speedway (Ont) . Unfortunately the logistics of the trip weren't compatible with my work schedule for Tuesday morning. Merrittville is located close to Niagara Falls and is over six hours away from Cornwall. A late finish would mean very little sleep before starting work at 7-30am. I reluctantly decided against the trip and opted for something local.

Autodrome Edelweiss at Cantley (Que) , just north of Ottawa, were holding an afternoon Enduro, so that's where I headed. It was a light hearted affair and I joined track photographer Al Patrick on the center.

One car that really got my interest in the 8 cylinder class was a 1977 Chrysler Cordoba.

Let me digress, Back in the UK during the early 90's before my emigration to Canada in 1994 , I'd become a Classic American car enthusiast ( 'Yank Cars' as they are called over there). You don't see too many big American 'boats' in Europe so a lot of the people that do have them belong to clubs which organize shows and cruise nights . I was a member of the AAC of the UK ( American Auto Club of the UK) and my first 'yank tank' was a 77 Cordoba, just like the one that was racing.

It was a really scorching hot day at Edelweiss so I decided to leave for home before the last race.

Later that night , I had a 'Face Book' message reminding me of something I'd missed that afternoon. I'd completely forgot that the near by Capital City Speedway in Ottawa were having a practice day. I could have attended both if I had planned things better. I could of seen Bruce Makinson's DIRT Sportsman doing some hot laps and Erin Joyce in her Legend !  Rudy Thompson filmed Bruce in action. Check this out


Finally I must mention that this Wednesday (26 May) is the Capital City Speedway's Season opener. Work commitments will prevent me attending the CCS too many times this year so I'd like to wish Good Luck to all the drivers and the new management team for the coming season


PIC  1      John Lazore #19 and Clayton Benedict # 12 in action at the MIR

PIC  2     Todd Stwart the 358 winner at the MIR

PIC  3     Chris Raabe the SPORTSMAN winner at the MIR

PIC  4    Dave Bissonnette the Pro Stock winner at the MIR

PIC   5   Tabatha Murphy is plugging my website at the BOS again in 2010 .

PIC  6    Henry Hannewyk with his Tony Blake replica at the BOS

PIC  7   Cole Dingwall in Vintage action at the BOS

PIC  8   Cole Dingwall, the Vintage winner at the BOS

PIC  9   Brian McDonald # 96 and Tim O'Brien # 88 in action at the BOS

PIC  10  Brian Mc Donald win the 358 Mod feature at the BOS

PIC  11  Adam Turner the SPORTSMAN winner at the BOS

PIC  12   Erin Joyce's Sprint Car with the www.rickattheraces.com logo at the Brighton Speedway

PIC  13    Gilles Godard # 27 wins his Pro Stock heat at the CMS

PIC  14   Dexter Stacey # 3D and Brett Hearn # 20 in action at the CMS

PIC  15  Brett Hearn wins the 2010 Canadian Nationals at the CMS

PIC  16   Joey Ladouceur wins the DIRTCAR Series Race for Pro Stocks at the CMS

PIC  17   A 1977 Chrysler Cordoba arrives at the Edelweiss Enduro

PIC  18   The Cordoba in action at Edelweiss

PIC  19   A 1977 Ford Thunderbird at Edelweiss

PIC   20   Flashback to the late 90's in the UK and my 1977 Chrysler Cordoba


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