All of a sudden things have got busy.
After a long winter , followed by a few weeks of wet weather, I’ve had a full agenda this week.
On Tuesday 8 May, the Brockville Ontario Speedway had their practice night in readiness for the season opener on Saturday.
I took a slow drive down in the afternoon , via the old Highway 2 . I passed the Johnstown Bridge to the USA , near to the old transport yard in Prescott, where I had my first Canadian truck driving job, over 20 years ago.
I’ve crossed that bridge many times on my trips away.
There were race cars from all the weekly division on a warm and dry night. Before things got under way I wandered the pits and had my usual chat among friends. Gatineau Sportsman driver Alex Gagnon will be driving the Al Dickie owned car this year so his good friend and Pro Stock driver Stephane Lebrun was there driving Alex’s regular car.
This was Staphane’s first time driving a Sportsman, and my friends Chantel and Ted Lesage had come along with them to add support.
A new addition to the 358 Modified ranks was Steve Barber # 80 who was moving up from the Sportsman.
Also there, was the 38 Special Team of Luke Whitteker
When the cars took to the track for practice, I started off by trying something a bit different.
As this was a practice event, there were only a few fans in the grandstand , so I took advantage of this and early evening sun, to get some pics with my long lens, high up , and looking down on turn four.
One of the first to oblige me with an action ‘photo op’ was Vintage Mod Driver , Denzil Billings Jr. He flipped over several times on the back straight.
After chatting with him later in the pits, I’m pleased to say he had no injuries.
I took a few more pictures from my usual spot in the middle on turn one and two, before calling it a day.
The next day, Wednesday 9 May, I was at the Cornwall Hospital for day one of my monthly two day sessions, of I.V.I.G transfusions. I was all done by lunch time, and was home relaxing around my house during the afternoon, until my ‘Tog’ buddy Don Simpson picked me up.
The Mohawk International Raceway were having their pre-season practice night and we took a ride across the bridge to take a few pictures.
There were plenty of cars in attendance and a lot to see.
The practice was over at 8-00 pm and I was back home by 8-15 pm.
The next morning, Thursday 10 May, I returned to the Cornwall Hospital for ’round two’ of my transfusions.
On Friday night, the Mohawk International Raceway, was the first of my local tracks to have its 2018 season opener. It was the start of a busy weekend for me.
There were 14 Modifieds in attendance, and over 30 Sportsman.
Although it was sunny and dry, it was a bit chilly, and by the time the first Feature of the night took place ( Bandits) it was uncomfortably cold.
As planned, after the Modified Feature , which was won by Tim Fuller, I made an early exit, missing Johnathan Ferguson taking the Sportsman win.
Apart from the cold temperature, my exit was for another good reason.
I had to be up early the following morning (Saturday 12 May) for a road trip. I had to be in Combermere, Ontario, which is a 3 hour 15 minute drive from my home in Cornwall for 11-00 am in the morning. I was attending the funeral of Klaas Staal.
He was someone I have to be very thankful for.
If it wasn’t for him and his late wife Charlotte, I would not be living in Canada today. The Staals were my ex wife Pat’s , Aunt and Uncle, who lived in Combermere, Ontario after emigrating from the Netherlands after World War 2.
In 1993 , when I was living in England,Pat, Carla my daughter, and myself took a two week family vacation to Canada, and visited them. We instantly fell in love with the country, and applied to emigrate on our return to the UK.
It was a difficult process , and we needed a lot of help from the Staals to get accepted.
By September 1994, we were living in Combermere, Ontario, Canada, and I was working for the Staal family business, The Valley Cottage Raing & Moving LTD. So, I have a lot to be grateful for.
Pat has recently returned to live in the UK , and she flew back here for the funeral.
I left home in Cornwall at 6-30 am and met Pat at the Renfrew Tim Hortons at 9-00 am. She followed me from there in her rental car to Combermere for the 11-00 am Funeral service at the graveside next to Lake Kamaneskeg.
After paying my respects to the family at the refreshments gathering afterwards , in the nearby Purdy Church Hall , at 1-00 pm I made my departure for my next engagement .
On the brighter side, it was the birthday of my dear friend Chantel Lesage, who wanted to spend her special day at the Brockvile Ontario Speedway’s season opener.
I met her in Kanata (Nr Ottawa) and she joined me for the drive to the B.O.S.
Not only was it the season opener, it was the first round of the Ogilvee Series for Modified and Sportsman. There was a good turnout of cars which included about 25 Mods.
That’s good for these present times.
The Modified Feature turned out to be one of the best races you could wish to see. Brockville expert Danny O’Brien looked all set to get another victory, until Luke Whitteker stormed through the pack to pass Danny on the last lap.
It’s unbelievable really, because just a few months ago, young Luke was laying in hospital, seriously injured after a Skiing accident, and his racing season looked in doubt.
Due to my heavy schedule , again I had to leave before the end and missed Johnathan Ferguson for the second night running get the Sportsman win.
After taking Chantel back to where she’d parked her car, I returned home to Cornwall. It was a long day, for sure.
I was out of bed before 9-00 am on Sunday morning, in good time to watch the live TV coverage of the Spanish Grand Prix from Barcelona. It wasn’t the most exciting race I’ve seen, and it was another dominating win for Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton getting the win and team mate Bottas getting second. Verstappen in the Red Bull was third.