THE QUEBEC SWING
This last week in July has traditionally become the ‘Quebec Swing’ for the Super DirtCar Series, and over the years it’s turned out to be one of my favorite locations of the tour.
The two venues involved, Autodrome Granby and Autodrome Drummond are always packed with enthusiastic fans and the atmosphere is always electric. Loud music, fireworks and plenty of razzmatazz.
The races were taking place on Monday and Tuesday (23/24 July) and the weather forecast didn’t look good.
Regardless of this , I was willing to take the gamble.
In the past I have stayed up in Quebec overnight, but this time for various reasons, I would be making two separate trips.
On day one, for the Granby show, I was joined by my ‘Tog’ buddy Don Simpson. We went through lots of rain on the journey from my place in Cornwall , Ontario, and we never expected the race would survive.
It’s nice to be wrong occasionally .
Although it was still very wet when we arrived at 5-00 pm, Dominic Lussier, and his management team were still optimistic the show would go on.
With plenty of packing and little bit of help from Mother Nature, who gave us a break in the rain, the racing got under way.
So for the heat races I shot on turn three and four and for the feature, I was on turn one.
The feature was an exciting race with Matt Sheppard chasing Stewart Freisen around for much of the the 100 lapper.
Sheppards challenge evaporated when he picked up a flat tire and had to pit.
Stewart carried on to the the Checkers with Jimmy Phelps second and Erick Rudolph third.
Don and I decided to miss the Pro Stock and Sportsman Features, and took off , once we’d got our Victory Lane pics.
I was back home in Cornwall by 12-30.
After a good nights rest it was time for another trip to the Belle Province , for day two of the SDS Quebec tour.
By mid afternoon on Tuesday I was heading to Drummondville.
I was there in good time to have a snooze in the car before most of the fans had arrived.
It was going to be a packed house and I wanted a parking spot near the pit gate
As the race haulers began to pull in, I had my walkabout and chat to some friends.
Bethanne Sheppard was there with her merchandise, while husband Matt was working on his car.
I chatted with Max McGlaughlan and his girl-friend Shayla, as well as Chantal Provencher.
It was also good to catch up with Eric Pivin, a fellow photographer who was there with his baby daughter Annabelle talking to Mr Starter , Dave Farney.
I shot pictures from my usual spot on the inside of turn three and four for the heat races, which were conveniently got in , just before a small bout of rain. Luckily the rain didn’t last for long, and after a short delay for some packing, the show got back on course.
As usual for an SDS race at Drummond, it was a full house and the crowd were full of enthusiasm.
Quite often when I go to Drummond for the SDS , I decide to forego picture taking for the big race, and take the offer of a place in one of the booths. It’s nice to go back and be a ‘race fan’ again, once in a while.
It was another great race between DirtCars top two, with Matt Sheppard and Stew Friesen doing the dominating. Early leader was Steve Bernard, who had drawn pole, but had to retire with mechanical probs.
This time it was Matt taking the checkers with Stew in runner up. Erick Rudoph got his second podium third place in two days. The race was over by 11-00 pm and I was soon heading back to Cornwall.
On Wednesday night (26 JULY) I was off to Ottawa Airport, to pick up my daughter Carla, who was flying into Canada from Austin , Texas for a short trip.
We had a relaxing day on Thursday before heading to the Ottawa General Hospital on Friday. I had an appointment with my MYASTHENIA GRAVIS Specialist doctor and Carla was accompanying me.
Although we were back in Cornwall in good time, I chose to give the evenings races at the Mohawk International Raceway a miss.
In fact with Carla paying me a visit, I decided to take the whole weekend off from racing and spend some quality time.
We went out to nice places to eat like Schnitzels on Pitt Street , Cornwall, and visited the Rib Fest that was taking place down by the water.
Like I said , I missed my usual Saturday and Sunday dirt racing , but I still got some racing in.
On Sunday morning I watched the live TV broadcast of the Hungarian Grand Prix. This turned out to be another win for Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes.
Carla had an early morning return flight on Monday morning so she had booked a Hotel close to Ottawa Airport for Sunday night.
So instead of the Cornwall Motor Speedway, we were at the Rideau Carleton Raceway (or Hard Rock Casino as it’s now known) in Ottawa . We watched the harness racing while enjoying the buffet in the restaurant.
After dropping Carla off at her Hotel, we said our goodbyes and I returned home.