Back in September 2019, I was at my local Mohawk International Raceway, New York , to attend the Big Block Super DirtCar Series.
I’ve said this before, the M. I. R , is the closest track to my home. My house in Cornwall , Ontario , is less than a mile away, just across the St Lawrence Seaway in Canada .
Matt Williamson got the checkers, and as I left the track that night I never realized it would be nearly two years before I’d return for more racing.
The M.I.R awards banquet was scheduled for March 2020, and I was all set to attend, until the plug was pulled on it, just days before.
The COVID 19 pandemic attacked the world, with freedom of movement and health rules affecting everything and everyone.
Cross border travelling came to a stop unless there were exceptional circumstances.
Thankfully, most of the restrictions have been lifted so I’ve been looking forward to getting back there.
So Friday the 3rd of June, heralded my first time back to the M.I.R races.
I had planned on going last week but, like so many other tracks, the show got lost to rain.
We still have to file the annoying Arrive/CAN App, but at least the border is open.
The weather looked good and I was over the border early, and doing a bit of shopping in Massena , before the races.
I got there well before the start time
Oh Boy it was great to be back and to re-connect with old friends.
I also had a good chat with a new face to me.
It was Justin Stone from Vermont. He is the son of former M.I.R Modified champion, Todd Stone.
The program consisted of 358 Modifieds, Sportsman, Rookie Sportsman, Mod Lites and Bandits.
I was joined on the middle in my usual spot on turn four by my buddy Don Simpson.
Bandit winner was Gary Sharlow.
Mod Lite Winner was Keven Boucher.
Modified Winner was Carey Terrance
Sportsman winner was Thomas Cook.
Rookie Sportsman winner was Cameron Reif .
There was a swift turn around of the show and it was all done by 10-15pm , no problems at the border and I was back home indoors about 10-30 pm. perfect !
My plans for Saturday were to visit Autodrome Drummond in Quebec, with my friend Chanty. We arrived a bit late due to a confusion regarding the earlier start time.
It was a regular show of Modifieds and Sportsman , plus the usual support divisions.
Also on the program, there was a qualifying session for a handful of ‘non dirt racing’ drivers, who are competing in the GP3 event held in Trois Rivieres later in the year.
I didn’t catch all the names, but apparently they are well known drivers in their field . The only name I’d heard of was Alex Tagliani, who’s an Indy Car driver.
I’m not into Indy Car racing so know little about him, I’m an F1 GP fan , so the ‘American version’ of top level single seater racing has never appealed to me .
Alex was in the # 18 T car and getting his dirt racing advice from the experienced Mario Clair.
Mario and his family are good friends of Chanty and me, so its always nice to catch up with them.
I joined the other ‘Togs’ out on the middle taking pictures until intermission .
Then the evening came to an abrupt ending when a heavy rain storm fell over the track.
Oh well, it happens. It wasn’t my first rain out, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last.
Next day was Sunday and it was ‘show time’ at my local Cornwall Motor Speedway.
One of the early arrivals was Lance Willix from Theresa , New York.
The headline event of the day was a 50 lapper for the Pro Stocks and a good field of cars were in attendance.
On my pit walk about , I came across Pascal Payeur and Vanessa from Thetford Mines with Haillie , the latest addition to the family.
Making her debut in the Sportsman Rookie division was Daphne Hebert, daughter of top modified driver , David.
Only the night before at Drummond she’d won the Sling Shot feature.
She was out in a car that looked just like ‘dads’
The Rookie Sportsman feature was up first and she came in second behind Ty David .
It was an emotional experience for all the David family as Ty got his first feature win.
Ty is the son of the late Mitch Jock who passed away in 2010.
I knew Mitch quite well and consider the David’s very much part of my local racing family.
I just had to join them for the Victory Lane celebrations, so took off my Hi Viz vest for a few moments and let my buddy Don Simpson take the shot.
The next feature was the 50 lapper for Pro Stocks.
This was one of the largest fields of Pro Stocks we’ve had for a long time, but once again it was Bruno Richard who proved to be the man to beat at Cornwall.
The Sportsman feature was up next , which was part of the Race for a Cure Series.
Shane Pecore who has gone back to Sportsman this year, took the win after a strong late challenge from Ryan Stabler.
The Modifieds followed this, where my good friend and track champion Corey Wheeler got a convincing win.
Once again , Don Simpson and I, got our traditional picture with him in Victory Lane.
The last race of the night was the Mini Stocks Feature .
This gave a popular win for local racer Pierre Picard.
My intentions were to have another Tuesday evening at the Cornwall Kart Track , but rain through out the day caused it to be ‘rained out’
R.I.P Bill Batten
On Monday the 6th of June I was sorry to see the news that BriSCA F2 legend, Bill Batten had passed away.
I got to know Bill back in the mid 70’s when I had a stint at racing an F2 stock car. He was a nice friendly guy who was very helpful.
I remember a racing tour I made in 1977 to Cornwall (England) where he lived. I came back home from that trip with a lot of spares he gave me for my race car. His car was a state of the art machine and mine was an oldie.
Here’s Bill giving me a gentle shove around the turn at the Mendips Raceway that year.
Farewell to the man they called ‘The Master’