March 2022 REPORT

March 2022 REPORT

As usual, March was a quiet month , made worse by the annoying Canadian border restrictions that have been in place, making travel south of the border expensive and challenging. 

In the middle of the month there was light at the end of the tunnel , when the government announced , that as from the 1st of April, COVID tests will no longer be required to return to the country. Unfortunately they still require the time consuming  Arrive Can App to be filled out.

With luck, sometime down the road, this will go too.

The month started off on a sad note when on Friday 4th of March , I joined my buddy Ron Morin in St Albert for the funeral of Marcel Lafrance .

Marcel ‘ The Hammer’ was a legendary racer from my area and an inductee at the Dirt Hall of Fame , in Weedsport, New York. His racing career had come to an end before I became involved in Canadian Dirt racing  but he was a well know figure..

I didn’t know him well,  but I’ve been close friends with his family for a long time.  My travelling companion for many years , was the late Roger Aubin. His wife  Marie is the sister of Hugette, Marcel’s wife.

Roger Aubin and me on one of our road trips

My friendship with Roger , meant I also became friends with two of Marcel’s three sons , Stephane and Yves, Stephane is a top Dirt Modified driver and Yves is a notable builder of racing engines.

On March 5th  , I paid a visit to the Club Kilowatts ice races at Beaharnois , (Maple Grove) Que. This is the place where I saw my first ice races back in 2003 ,

I try to get back there at least once a year, so with the ice racing now finished at Ottawa’s Capital City Speedway, it was the perfect time for my annual visit.

The usual selection of 4 and 8 cylinder cars were taking part, as well as bikes and quads,


I also met up with Adam Payette, CEO of Go-Fuel and his son Chase,

Go Fuel were sponsoring  the Sprint Car of Maxime Foley who was doing some solo laps.

The beginning of March came in  ‘Like a Lion’ with plenty of snow, so as the saying goes, I was hoping it would “go out like a Lamb” 

Heavy snow  on Saturday 11th  combined with the 75 bucks Covid Test, forced me to cancel my plans for that day.

My intentions were to attend the Indoor Midget Racing , and Motor Sports Expo in Syracuse, NY. 

The following week end  (19th /20th)  , I was thinking of going to the Short Track Super Series double header in Pennsylvania, (Selinsgrove and Port Royal) Speedways  but once again the cost of getting a COVID test put me off.

The announcement , mentioned earlier , concerning  them being dropped at the start of next month , had just been made, so I thought , I’d  be patient and wait a little bit longer for my racing fix.

On Sunday the 20th it was the start of the F1 Grand Prix season from Barrain and it was being televised as normal by SKY TV .

It was a Ferrari first  (Charles Leclerc) and second (Carlos Sainz) with Mercedes (Lewis Hamilton) third.

While on the subject of  the F1 Grand Prix  , I must mention that  on the TV that evening I was treated to a great movie . The Sunday night blockbuster, on CHCH , was RUSH, the story about the well publicized rivalry between  Niki Lauda and James Hunt. 

I’d seen the movie before, on a flight back to Canada from the UK, but I’d never seen it without interruptions in the comfort of home.

A great movie that did a good job of telling a story I recall very well.

I remember the early days of James Hunt when he raced for  Lord Hesketh. It all took place during the easy going days of the mid- 1970’s at the same time as I embarked on my stock car racing career.


We decided to paint our car in the Team Hesketh colours of , red, white and blue strips and jokingly put “Team Eskiff” on the side, (That was the way Hesketh  was pronounced in our London area accent)

While on the subject of the good old days of British Stock Car racing , I must mention one of this months additions to my diecast collection .

Back in those carefree days,  many of my buddies hauled there cars to the tracks , on the cheap and easy to come by BMC FG trucks.

I always towed my  F1 stock car on a set of dolleys behind a big car  but on occasions I’d borrow an FG from someone. The FG was affectionately known by many, as the ‘threepenny bit’ , because of the mulitple sides on the cab, just like the Brittish threepenny bit, coin that used to be in circulation.

The day I sold one of my cars being taken away on Pete Berresford’s FG


The FG of Tony Abel (John Nelsey Pic)

Getting back to diecasts,  I managed to pick up a n FG  , from a model store in Montreal .

As the ice started to melt on the St Lawrence Seaway, a few ships have been sighted, and on the Thursday the 24th I took my first Rick @ the River picture of the year at Morrisburg 

On Saturday the 26th , I joined Don Simpson for another of our Race Shop visits.

Our destination was Trois Rivieres , Quebec and the home of Francois Bellemare # 35.

He’s currently a Dirt Modified driver but has a long career of racing in various classes, including single seater Formula Atlantic. 

I even recall him racing  an STR once on the ice.

Francois in the # 24 STR on the ice.

His latest accomplishment was a Modified win in the 2021 GP3R street races. 


Don was there to do a story for one of the media outlets and take some portrait pictures, while I looked on,  and took a few pics of my own.

We were made very welcome by Francois , his wife Julie and long time crewman Daniel Plante.

The next day (27th) , I didn’t  have any plans to leave home with an afternoon booked by the TV.   

To start things off at 1-00 pm it was the F1 Grand Prix of Saudia Arabi. This, the second race of the year turned out to be another good one, with a great scrap for the lead going right up to the line.

Max Verstappen in the Red Bull took this from Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari. Carlos Sainz in the second Ferrari came third.

Once the Grand Prix was over , it was a time to watch a bit of football.

The Canadian national  team have been doing very well and looked all set to advance to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar  if they could beat Jamaica.

The game started at 4-00 pm and by the time the 90 minutes were up, Canada had won 4-0 .

It was a great game with plenty of skill and very few players doing the ‘amateur dramatics’ every time they fell over after a tackle.

So, for the first time in 36 years they will be in the big one. 

I don’t watch too much football these days and only get interested at World Cup time to support England . ‘American type ‘ football (NFL and CFL) does nothing for me, I’d rather sit and watch paint dry, but I can really get hooked on a good game of  ‘world’ football.

So when the World Cup goes to Qatar , I will have two teams to cheer for, England and Canada.

As the month comes to an end , the future looks brighter with  most of the border restrictions coming to an end.