Early May 2021.
After an uneventful month of April , things got busy as we went into May.
The Ontario, COVID Lockdown was still in place , but as a many race teams had their cars ready in anticipation , a few race shop visits came our way.
My buddy Don Simpson and me have been carrying on with our visits.
Things resumed on May 4th when we were asked back to the Jessica Power Dirt Sportsman shop in Kingston.
She’d just had the car ‘wrapped’ complete with the new sponsors name (QUICK WICK) , and wanted some publicity pictures.
Don and I , arrived in the afternoon and did our thing.
Next up was a Solo visit for me.
With the the Covid restrictions getting me down, around lunchtime on Thursday (May 6th) I took off for a road trip to beat the boredom.
It was a lovely sunny day, and didn’t know where I was going, I just threw a suitcase in the car and took off down Hwy 401.
By the time I reached the Trenton , On- Route Services, I’d figured out my destination. Niagara Falls seemed a good idea , as the hotels would be cheap with no tourist about. So, I sent a couple of messages to racing friends to see if they needed anything picked up at BICKNELLS Race Parts in St Catharines, while I was down there.
I got into Niagara around 7-00 pm and as expected , I quickly found a nice cheap, 60 bucks a night room at the Glengate Hotel on Stanley Ave.
After dumping my stuff in the room , I drove into town to grab a quick picture of the falls, and find somewhere to eat.
Lockdown, meant a drive thru at Arbys.
Once back at the hotel, I sent a message to my photographer friend Alex Bruce who lives in St Catharines to see if he fancied meeting for coffee the next day.
Ralph Murphy had got back to me that night , and needed some parts picked up at BICKNELLS, so I arranged to meet Alex and his wife, Helen there. (They are also ex -pat Brits, originally from Glasgow)
Alex has also been killing his ‘COVID’ time like me, taking pictures of ships, so I left my car at BICKNELLS and I went off in theirs to take some pics by the nearby Welland Canal.
We got back to BICKNELL’s after lunch, in good time to get a message from Corey Wheeler / Gilles Godard who also needed parts,
Alex and me then went to say hello to Randy Williamson, the boss of BICKNELL RACING PARTS (and father of Mat, the top Canadian Dirt Modified driver).
We’ve both known Randy for a long time, and he kindly gave us a tour of the factory.
The Bicknell chassis is arguably the most popular Dirt Modified chassis and the factory, with over 45 employees churn out over 300 per year.
The list of major victories for their products would be too long to list.
As well as Randy and Mat, we also bumped into Dalton Slack, an up and coming youngster who also works at the factory with his father who is a partner in the business.
The company founder, Pete Bicknell is still very much involved in the business too , and there is a special section for his workshop.
We got a peek preview of his 2021 car.
It was a really enjoyable tour and by about 2-00 pm I was ready to leave. The race parts were loaded into the trunk and I made my departure.
As mentioned , this trip was a spur of the moment thing, and I had originally thought of spending two nights away. With the change in weather, I decided to head for home and joined the Friday night crawl around the roads of Toronto.
By 7-00 pm I pulled off Hwy 401 at Prescot to drop off Ralphs parts and an hour later I was home in Cornwall.
As the month goes on there are more race shop visits for Don and me, but they will follow in the next report.