MARCH 2021 REPORT
The month of March began with warmer temperatures and sunny days, and as a result the third and final ice races scheduled for Ottawa’s Captital City Speedway on the 7th of March had to be canceled.
The better weather had its upside and meant , I was able to get out and about in the car and on Tuesday the 9th of March I was in Iroquois , Ontario, paying a visit to former Capital City Speedway , Legend Car driver Mike Madore.
When Mike quit racing , he developed a passion for restoring old busses, and he invited me along to take a look.
His latest project is a 1953 Flxible he picked up in the USA.
My next little joy ride was on Saturday the 13th of March when I joined my ‘Tog’ buddy Don Simpson on a trip to Granby , Quebec to the racing shop of Michael Parent. Michaels shop is just a few minutes away from Autodrome Granby. Don was doing an article for one of the racing web sites.
Michael started his dirt racing career in Sprint Car racing and had his first race in 2006 during an E.S.S event at the Fonda Speedway.
Around 2016 he switched to the Modifed division and has since settled in nicely.
At the same time as Don and I were visiting, , STEEVY DEZIGN was there applying the wraps to this years cars.
One of my other outlets of relief from the COVID restrictions is my passion of diecast collecting, and every so often I will jump into the car to chase an obscure collectable I’ve seen advertised on Kajjiji or Market Place .
On Tuesday (16th) , I took off to Smiths Falls, where I picked up two old French Dinkys. An Peugeot and a SIMCA.
The Flea Market I was visiting, just happened to be opposite the Smiths Falls Train Museum.
On Friday the 19th of March, Don and I went off on another of our Race Shop visits.
If you turn the clock back more than ten years, to when the now defunct, Autodrome Edelweiss (Cantley, Quebec) was at its prime, two of the regular weekly runners were Nicolas Vaillant # 72 and Dan Jalbert # 5 .
Recently the two have reunited at VAILLANT AUTOSPORTS to build race cars.
We were invited along to see the new facility in Gatineau , Quebec.
To start with, they will be concentrating on building Dirt Pro Stocks and pavement Late Model Chassis, but all so have plans , down the road, for a Modified . Back in the day , Dan used to build race cars under the name of ‘Wild Thing Chassis’ Also helping out in the large work shop, is his son Corey and Dirt Sportsman driver Jarrett Herbison.
After returning home to Cornwall that night , I had a knock on the door from my buddy Ron Morin.
He had some hot -news he couldn’t wait to tell me. The news was , his grandson Gage Morin would be back on the race tracks this year after a lay off for three years.
I’ve followed Gage’s progress since he was a kid in the MiniStocks division in 2008 ,
He’d progressed, and been a regular winner in the Modified division, until his team disbanded at the end of 2017.
His talents have been missed by the local fans and it sure is good news, to hear he’s been offered a drive. The car is jointly owned by Cliff Merpaw and the Lavergne Bros, Raymond and Jacques.
Ron didn’t know much more info at this stage, but told me he was taking Gage over to see the car, in the morning, so I asked if I could go along too.
The car was being garaged at Stephane Brisson’s place in St Albert, so I joined Ron and Gage early Saturday morning ,for the short trip.
The car is a former J.F Corriveau Modified and the team have two W 16 engines at their disposal.
The fledgling new team will be calling the Cornwall Motor Speedway their home track and may venture further afield as time progresses.
The weather was warm and sunny that weekend and I wasn’t going to stay indoors.
So, on Sunday, I took off on another little joy ride to check out a local race track I’d never been to before.
There was no racing taking place that day, but I wanted to take a look at the Luskville Dragway, in Quebec.
I’m afraid to say , that drag racing is not my thing these days, so I have never been there before.
Maybe one day I will, if there is no regular dirt racing taking place locally.
To end the Month of March, on Monday the 29th, Don and I , had another episode of our ‘Don and Rick at the Race Shops’ on the agenda.
When I moved to Ontario , Canada over 25 years ago from the UK, my first home was in Combermere, Renfrew County. We had arranged to meet up with top Dirt Modified driver Ryan Arbithnott at his shop in Renfrew, so decided to make a day of it.
First port of call was a visit to the site of the long gone Golden Lake Speedway.
The outline of the old track is still visible on the Google Earth pictures, but the old entrance is overgrown and gated , so we didn’t venture further.
Next stop was Barrys Bay , where some pics of the Zurokowski Park and the Avro Arrow Memorial.
After a bite to eat in the local Tim Hortons we followed Lake Kamaneskeg down to Combermere where we stopped to say hello to my long time friends Brian and Vicky Staal. From there place we went further along the lake to check out my first home, in Mill Street Combermere.
Before leaving the area , we had a quick photo shoot at Pastways Lumber , where the same old trucks have sat, for as long as I can remember.
It was now time to head to Ryans for our Race Shop Visit, so took the scenic route through Rockingham and the old Opeongo Road back to Renfrew.
Ryan was there to meet us at his shop on the road to Burnstown. located just a few miles from the family business VALLEY SALES & EQUIPMENT .
As with all our Race Shop Visits , we were made very welcome. The Arbithnott’s have been connected with racing for many years, with Ryan’s father Steve, and his grandfather before him, all being accomplished racers.
We chatted for an hour or so, before heading for home.
By the time I dropped off Don in Russell and got back to my place it was getting late. It had been a long day and I had an appointment for my I.V.I.G transfusions in Cornwall Hospital early the next day .
Needless to say, I slept well that night.