Weekly Report (12 th to 18th Sept 2017)
The past weeks lead up to the weekends racing was quite uneventful by my standards. I had no medical appointments and had the opportunity to take advantage of the late blast of summer weather that we are having in the North East right now. After the worst summer I can remember since moving to Canada in 1994, we’ve been getting July and August temperatures in mid September.
I’m not complaining and my local promoters have been smiling too. It helps to make up for the race dates lost to Mother Nature early in the year.
This weekend, was a real bonus for me, with a bunch of big events taking place , just ten minutes away from my home in Cornwall, Ontario.
On Friday and Saturday (15/16 Sept) the Mohawk International Raceway , located just across the International Bridge , in Hogansburg , New York were holding their annual end of season two day show.
On Friday they were hosting two DirtCar Series races, one for the 358 Modifieds and the other for the Pro Stocks, as well as the visiting Quebec Lightening Sprints.
On Saturday , the Big Block Modifieds SUPER DIRT SERIES was paying a visit, and were joined by Sportsman and Vintage Mods.
The TUSA Mod-lites were there for both days.
On Sunday 17 Sept , the action moved back across the bridge to the Canadian side, where the Cornwall Motor Speedway were running the ‘rain postponed’ SUPER DIRT SERIES race that had to be cancelled back in July.
So I had a feast of entertainment, right on my door step.
Big crowds were expected at the M.I.R , so I left home about 2-00 pm and had plenty of time for a nice plate of Spaghetti at the Twin Leaf diner before heading to the track.
I then relaxed in my lawn chair in the parking lot watching the pits get full, just as I thought they would ,
There were many long distance travelers who were following the Pro Stock Series including my friend Rob Yetman from Albany.
When things got started, I was joined by my ‘Tog’ buddy Don Simpson for the picture taking .
After the time trials and heat races, it was intermission time , where the grandstands were entertained by children doing some traditional Mohawk dancing.
The Mod Lites were the first of the features and were won by Paul Klager.
The Lightening Sprints followed and they were won by Guillaume Niederer .
The Pro Stocks were the first of the headline divisions, and with over thirty of them on track, it was a foregone conclusion there would be plenty of bumping and banging.
After the cautions subsided , things settled down to give us pretty good race up front, with local driver Mike White # 1x holding off series regulars Roch Aubin and Bruno Cyr.
The final race of the night was the 75 lap 358 Dirt Car Series race.
This was a good one where Quebecer, Steve Bernard grabbed the checkers from New Yorkers , Billy Dunn and Danny Johnson.
The long schedule of racing and delays in the Pro Stock race meant a later than I’d hoped for, mid-night finish. I’m glad I was near to home .
I was back over the bridge again on Saturday, and because I’d enjoyed my spaghetti so much the day before, I called into Twin Leaf again for another plate full, to set me up for the night.
Once fed , I was back at the track. The parking lot had been full on Friday night but things were even more so on the second night.
I managed to squeeze my little Chev HHR beside a large Motor Home, which I discovered , belonged to top Modified driver Matt Shepherd. His dad, Stuart, kindly pulled out the side awning, to give me a nice shady spot to sit.
Just like the night before I joined my buddy Don Simpson taking pictures.
Prior to the Intermission the first of the features (Mod Lites) took place, as well as the Big Block Modified Consis.
Derick Ellsworth was the Mod Lite winner .
During the intermission the re draw took place in front of the grandstands
First of the Features was for the Vintage Modifieds, which had two winners. They have two classes within the division, depending of the age of the car.
The race winner was Paul Billings, and the class winner for the older cars was Tim Hagarty.
Next up was the Sportsman Feature which was a 50 LAPPER.
This was dominated by Johnathan Fergusson, who was hounded for most of the race by Dave Macuccillo with Mike Stacey not far behind in third.
The 100 lap SUPER DIRT SERIES was next and as usual started with a traditional four wide salute to the fans.
Jimmy Phelps had drawn pole position and Ryan Arbuthnott was beside him.
At the offset , Arbuthnott pulled away and after a few laps had built up a commanding lead.
Eventually he was passed first by Billy Dunn then Tim Fuller.
A battle at the front developed between Dunn and Fuller, with the latter getting the edge as the laps ran down. Arbuthnott hung in there to take an impressive third.
The 100 lapper was all over by 11-00 and even after long border delays I was home before 11-40 .
Sundays racing at the Cornwall Motor Speedway was scheduled to start a bit earlier, which was good with me, as it should mean an early finish.
Joining the SUPER DIRT SERIES cars were the Sportsman and Pro Stocks.
Once again I was there early to relax in the sunshine and chat with friends.
I chatted with the usual gang of DirtCar officials in the DirtCar trailer, before chatting with a few driver friends.
I had a few words with Ryan Arbuthnott and congratulated him on his great run at the M.I.R the night before.
I then bumped into my buddy Cage Morin, driver of the # 16 Modified who was wearing a great looking shirt. I just had to get a picture , posing by his car with the Rick at the Races sticker in full view.
I then returned to the Dirt Car trailer to listen to the drivers meeting.
I then took my photo taking spot on the top of the pit tower.
The earlier start and the exceptional weather, meant I was able to get all the heat races in, before I lost daylight and needed to move to the middle.
Apart from a bad wreck and rollover by my good friend Corey Wheeler ( thankfully he walked away unharmed), there were no major delays and the show was moving along very swiftly.
The big race of the night, the 100 lapper SDS was first of the Features.
By now I’d moved to the middle and was out there to capture the four wide shot.
Tim O’Brien had pole position with Keith Flach beside him.
Flach led for the first 25 laps until the convoy of Larry Wight and Billy Decker got passed him. Decker then got passed Wight and it was only a matter of time, that the fast moving Matt Shepherd would be challenging both of them.
Sure enough, he first edged passed Wight and then started working on Decker as they weaved through lapped traffic. He did what was needed and the last few laps were a thriller, as Decker tried to reclaim the lead.
It didn’t happen, and Super Matt went on to get his 10th Super Dirt Series win of the year.
Next was the Sportsman race which seemed to be full of cautions and won by Tristan Draper.
Although it was still early , and not yet 10-00 pm , I chose to make my exit and miss the Pro Stock race,
In my absence it was won by # George Renaud #55.
I was home in good time to down-load and edit my Victory Pics for the media.
While all this was going on near to my North American home , back in my ‘birth place’ home town of Ipswich, in the UK , the BriSCA F1 World Final was taking place.
Congratulations to new ‘gold roof’ Nigel Green # 445. COLIN CASSERLEY PICS
The F1 Grand Prix was also taking place in Singapore this weekend, and provided another win for Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes.