WEEKLY REPORT (13 Aug 2018)
Well, my last report ended on Sunday 5th August, after leaving the Cornwall Motor Speedway early, to ensure I had a good nights sleep before Mondays adventure.
The August ‘long weekend’ in Ontario traditionally sees the SUPER DIRTCar SERIES visit the Merrittville Speedway on the Holiday Monday. This is followed by Tuesday night, at the Ransomville Speedway, just across the Niagara River in New York State.
Most years the Niagara ‘Swing’ has been on my agenda.
I usually stay at the Blackstone Inn , when I’m down there, but after failing to get through on the phone Sunday afternoon, I started ringing around.
I was quoted a good price for two nights at the Comfort Inn and told them I would phone them straight back. The price was really good so just to make sure, when I called them back, I got them to confirm the price was for two nights .
On Monday morning (6 Aug) I left home in Cornwall, around 8-00 am for a steady drive down to Niagara Falls.
I arrived at the Hotel at around 3-00 pm to find that the desk clerk I’d spoken too the previous day, had got it wrong, and the price given to me was ‘per night’ and not for ‘two nights’.
I was not happy, and after a lot of discussion I decided to try elsewhere.
I drove a couple of miles down the road to my usual Blackstone Inn , where I got a room, a lot cheaper.
By now it was about 4-00 pm so after a quick wash and sort out, I made the 20 minute drive to the Merrittville Speedway.
One of my favorite things about this event, is the Pasta Supper they arrange prior to the races.
Meat Balls and Pasta, Bread Roll, Salad and Dressing, plus a drink of your choice (Pepsi or Water) all for 12 bucks. Great Value !
After this I wandered the pits and attended the drivers meeting.
While I was here I bumped into former track owner, and legendary racer Pete Bicknell who was chatting with starter Dave Farney.
Although it had been another hot and sunny day, rain was on its way, and the big 100 lap SDS race that we’d all come to see, was sensibly brought forward , to take place immediately after the intermission.
Once I was on the middle I joined my ‘Tog’ buddies, Dale Calnan and Tom Stevens.
Features for the Sportsman and domestic divisions would follow.
Rain was also threatening the race scheduled for Ransomville the next day with forecast saying a 70 % chance.
Once the cars took to the track, I took my usual position on the inside of turn three and four.
With the heats all done and Intermission over, the usual Merrittville way of introducing the drivers right in front of the granstands on the front stretch, took place before a Four Wide Fan Appreciation lap go the race going.
The race was dominated throughout by Ryan Susice, driving the # 3 , Slack owned car.
Early challengers were Mike Bowman, Chad Brachman , and Erick Rudolph, but in the closing laps, it was Danny Johnson who looked like he could do it.
Danny just didn’t have that little extra required to get past, and as the checkers fell, young Ryan Susice was there to claim his first SDS Victory.
It was now almost 10 -30 pm, so I made my exit, and headed for my room. Not long after getting there, it started to pour with rain as I sat out on my balcony looking over a wet Niagara Falls.
I hadn’t been feeling very well for a couple of days, with some of the Myasthenia Gravis Symptoms I suffer from, re-occurring, so with the rain expected for Ransomville, I decided not to book the room for an extra night.
My plan was not to gamble, and set off for home in the morning. After a slow and steady drive back, I was in Cornwall about 6-30 pm on Tuesday night.
I had a good nights sleep and plenty of rest and I was looking forward to the big midweek BULL RINGER 110 at the Brockville Ontario Speedway. It was a round of the 358 Modified DirtCar Series.
I was also hoping to attend a meet and greet publicity function with Stewart Friesen and Danny O’Brien at the 1000 Islands RV base in Gannanoque prior to the show, but I had to cancel that Idea after arranging a visit to my doctors office.
It was while talking to Henry Boer of 1000 Islands RV that I learned that both his event and Brockville’s races had been cancelled due to heavy rain.
On Thursday it was the turn of my local Mohawk International Raceway to have their Mid Week Special , the Pete Mitchell Memorial Race, another round of the 358 DirtCar Series. The weather forecast looked a lot better for this one.
I was accompanied on the short trip by my good friend Chantal Lesage, who took a few snap chat pics along the way.
We had supper at the Twin Leaf diner in Akwesasne before getting to the track around 5-30,
We went straight over to see her dad, Ted who was in the Tech Inspection area.
The track looked in good shape as we wandered the pits to chat and take pictures.
The drivers meeting took place, and I went on to the middle with Don Simpson to take pictures of the hot laps.
The Sportsman were out first and after a few groups had been around we got a few spots of rain.
The rain got heavier and the cars returned to the pits. So did Don and I, who made for the tech shed to shelter.
After the rain had stopped and some time was spent on packing, the cars went back on track to test it out. It was soon deemed to still be still too wet, and with the time being close to 9-00 pm the night was brought to an end.
On Friday (10 Aug) there was another 358 DirtCar race scheduled for Autodrome Granby in Quebec and my plans were to join my buddies Ron Morin and Don Simpson for the ride up.
As mentioned earlier, my Myasthenia Gravis symptoms had been re-occurring and during the afternoon, just before we were about to leave, I wasn’t feeling good. I decided to be smart, and give the racing a miss and stay at home.
In my absence, it was Carey Tarrence who took the honors.
I managed to book an appointment with my doctor for late on Saturday afternoon, so the races at the Brockville Ontario Speedway were also given a miss . Danny O’Brien picked up the checkers once more.
When this week began, it looked like I would be at a race track, somewhere every night, but for one thing or another , Merrittville on Monday was the sole event in the bag.
With the change of medication, that the doctor had prescribed, and starting to feel a bit better, there was no way I was going to miss Sunday nights races at the Cornwall Motor Speedway.
I arrived about 30 minutes before start time, which allowed me enough time for some chatting in the pits.
There was a busy program ahead, that included a visit from the Lightening Sprints and the North East Late Models. Neither of these additional divisions, get me too excited, but at least, my preference, the Modifieds and Sportsman were still on the card.
In the pits I found my old friend Terry Ladouceur with his Sprint Car, who had switched from Pro Stocks to that division this year.
Once the racing got under way, I shot the heat race action from the pit tower.
There were three rare additions to the program that caught my eye. Tim Fuller was there, as was Mike Maresca in one of Carey Terrances . My friends from the Brent Kelsey Sportsman Team were also making a Cornwall appearance..
For the Features and Victory Lane presentations , I moved to the middle to join fellow ‘Togs’ Don Simpson and Sylvain Louwers.
It’s always nice to say hello and get a little hug from Michelle, the sponsors and trophy hostess.
First up was the Mini Stock Feature which was won by Yanick Potvin.
Next was the Lightening Sprints, won by Jordon Poirier
Then it was the Late Models, won by Charlie Sandercock.
Next was the Feature, I’d come to see, the Modifieds. Early leader was Steve Morris but as the race drew nearer to an end, Joey Ladouceur homed in on him.
Once he’d edged past there was no stopping him, and even after a couple of late cautions closed the field, he managed to keep in front for the checkers.
I’ve considered Joey and the whole of the Ladouceur family to be good friends for many years, and this victory was especially sweet.
I fist got to know them in the summer of 2001 when I was involved with Joey’s father, Laurent Ladouceur representing Canada in the BriSCA F1 World Final in the UK.
Over the years, Joey , the eldest son of the legendary Laurent has won many races in the Pro Stock and Sportsman divisions but never in the Modifieds.
That was until Sunday night when a lot of emotion spilled over into Victory Lane. What a great night for a great family !
To finish the night it was the Sportsman Feature where another friend, Justin Lalancette took the honors.
So my week was over, and instead of a feast of racing, I netted just two events.
Guess , that’s the way it goes sometimes.