After many weekends of traveling to Quebec for my racing, this week I remained in Ontario.
For many years , one of my favorite events on the dirt racing calendar has been the Apple Fest at the Brighton Speedway. They first introduced 358 DirtCar Modifieds to their annual fall racing feast in 2005, and I have rarely missed a show since then.
Kyle Dingwall was the winner in that inaugural year.
Due to other commitments my last time in attendance was 2018 when Gary Lindberg was the winner.
So , I was looking forward to getting back there for the 2021 edition.
The accommodation for the last trip was my Chevy Impala, but not this time. I’m getting too old to sleep in my car, so booked a room at the Motel 6 in Trenton.
I left home in Cornwall at 9-30 am and after stopping for a Mac n Cheese lunch at the Kinston Panera Bread, I was booking into the Motel at 1-30 pm.
Plenty of time to chill out and relax before heading to the track, which is located about 20 minutes away.
The program for Fridays nights show had a DirtCar Sportsman Series race as the main event, as well as Late Models, Canadian Modifieds, Thunder Stocks, Mini Stocks, and Vintage Mods. Not forgetting the 358 Modifieds who were there for a ten lap dash, prior to Saturdays main event.
The Sportsman series attracted about 50 cars , so as you can imagine, the pits became quite full.
On my walkabout , I had a chat with Ryan Scott, He had been absent from the tracks for this year after sustaining injuries in a winter snow-mobile accident.
This was his first time back and he was taking precautions , by being well strapped up to prevent agitating his neck and back.
It was also good to see up and coming William Racine making the trip down from Granby , Quebec.
There was a lot of racing to get in and even with a 6-00 pm start , it was going to be a long night. Promoter Mark Rinaldi and his team had a busy task ahead , making sure things moved quickly to get the show in at a sensible time.
I spent most of my night on the middle by turn three and four, with fellow ‘togs’ John and Peter Lyng , Don Simpson and Rod Henderson (official track photographer).
As expected, it was a long night and some of the Victory Lane pictures were done , in block at the end of the night.
Bobby Herrington was the winner of the main event, the DirtCar Sportsman Series .
He was chased across the line by William Racine .
The other big race of the night for most of us DirtCar fans , was the 358 Modified ten lap ‘Dash for Cash’ .
This was won by my buddy Corey Wheeler, who kindly gave me one of his prize apples.
The racing was over shortly after mid night and I was back at the Motel 6 in Trenton in time for a couple of beers while downloading and editing some of my pics.
Check out time was 11-00am so left there about 10-45 am for my next port of call. To kill time before the evening races, I decided to take a look around the National Air Force Museum of Canada, that was located just a ten minute drive away.
I must admit, it’s a very impressive place, even for someone like me who’s not a plane ‘buff’.
As you entered the main hall, the center piece that greets you is a giant Halifax Bomber , a world war two, aircraft that was built in Cricklewood (north London) and Radlet , Hertfordshire, close to where I lived in the UK.
There was a lot to see in the main hall , and even more when you toured the grounds.
There were some interesting planes I’d never seen before,
My favorite has to be, the good old British Spitfire.
Someone like me who is more interested in land transport, had to take a few pics of the trucks on display.
From the Museum I headed to the track, via a tour of Brighton Harbour.
The racing was set to begin at 3-00 pm with the Features scheduled for 7-00 pm . On paper, it looked good for an early finish but the weather forecast for the night , wasn’t good. A bit of rain was forecast for about 7-00 pm .
There were 30 DirtCar 358 Modifieds in attendance for the weekends big race , the Apple Fest Shoot Out.
Also on the program the DirtCar Sportsman had another Series Race.
Add to this the domestic divisions of Mini Stocks , Thunder Stocks , Canadian Modifieds and the Late Models meant it was another full night of racing.
Don was missing on the Saturday, opting to head for Autodrome Drummond, but instead I was joined by two other buddies, Alex Bruce and Jim Clarke.
It was great to see ‘Mr ‘ Smallblock , Pete Bicknell in attendance as well as many other drivers from his Niagara area.
Everything started off well, with the program skipping along nicely and the heat races were all in the books.
The Canadian Modifieds ran their feature just as huge black cloud passed over with not a drop of rain falling.
We thought we were saved until about 7-00 pm , when half way through Ministocks feature it started to sprinkle . The rain started falling and with 12 laps in the books, the race was brought to a stop.
I managed to get back to my car to shelter, until the rain had stopped. I stayed there until I got a message from fellow ‘tog’ Peter Lyng , who had stayed on the middle.
He said the track was almost packed and if I was coming back out , bring some food. So off I went to buy a couple of Hot Dogs. Well, I think he underestimated the condition of the track 🙂
It was still wet and slushy and I couldn’t get across. I sat waiting by the start line chatting to my old friend Jim Swing while the hot dogs became cold dogs.
Once on the middle it still took a while to get the track ready, as Paul Kirkland of the Brockville Speedway (on the grader) , helped Mark and his team with prep.
It was after 10-00 pm before we got back to racing, but the wait was worth it. Before the rain it was a dusty , one groove track, but with moisture now added, we had an excellent track.
First up was the Thunder Stocks , where Adam Turner got the win.
He was on double duty that night, also running his Late Model.
Next up was the second DirtCar Sportsman Series race of the weekend.
Ryan Scott brushed aside all his injury issues , keeping Bobby Herrington at bay , and getting a well deserved win. The delays caused by the rain, meant all of the Victory Lane pictures were taken at the end of the night.
The Modifieds were next and like most Apple Fest shoot outs, it was a good one.
Gary Lindberg Took an early lead but was soon overhauled by Chris Raabe. Chris pulled into a good lead and looked like he’d got it in the bag, until a late caution.
While the yellows were out , the #01 pulled off the track and returned to the pits. (I’m yet to find out why) .
On the restart Danny O’Brien in the Slack Racing # 3 , who ‘d been a quite away back in second , took over the lead spot. In the handful of laps that remained , he fended off a strong challenge from Brianna Ladouceur , and then Corey Wheeler who came charging up from behind on the last lap.
What a great race it was.
It was now past mid-night , and thankfully the last race of the weekend, the Late Model Feature , was run without too many delays.
It was won by Andrew Hennessy.
The Victory Lane pictures were all done soon after 12-30, and by the time I left the track it was about 12-45. I wasn’t expecting it to finish this late so had no motel booked . I figured if I got tired on the drive home, I’d nap in one of the On-Route Service areas. As it happened , it was a nice drive back and with just two stops along the way , I was in Cornwall by 4-00 am