This weeks report begins on Thursday 9th June, when I was invited to the race shop of one of the Modified legends of my area.
When I first began following the sport back in 1995, Pierre Dagenais of Gatineau , Quebec was always a force to be reckoned with.
He won many races at his local track, the now defunct Autodrome Edelweiss in Cantley , and he raced all over the North East ,
So, on Thursday afternoon Don Simpson and I, had another of our Race Shop visits.
Joining us for the trip, was Cornwall Motor Speedways, latest media guy, Mathieu Fortin.
Pierre doesn’t actually live in Gatineau, he is based beside the Ottawa River near Masson which is a few miles out of the city.
I met up with Don and Mathieu in Cumberland, and we took my car across on the ferry to Masson.
Once we were over the other side, the race shop is less than a mile away.
Pierre is no longer an active racer, but his famous CARRIERE SABLIERE cars continue to grace the tracks.
My good friend Luke Whitteker is now the current team driver , and tonight they were busy preparing for the weekend.
Luke who I have known since he was a young teen-ager, fresh out of Kart racing has developed into one of the areas top ‘wheel’ men.
FLASH BACK to Luke in 2008.
We all had a good time chatting , before the three of us headed back to the ferry.
On Friday the 10th of June, my plans were to attend the Mohawk International Raceway but the weather forecast didn’t look good.
I’m quite lucky and have a number of ‘do-able’ Friday night tracks to choose from when the weather is iffy.
From my house in Cornwall , Ontario. the time distances are something like this.
Mohawk International Raceway NY , is less than a 15 minute drive .
The Can Am Speedway, Lafargeville, NY is a I hour 45 minute drive
Autodrome Granby, Quebec, is a 2 hours 15 minute drive
Brewerton Speedway, NY is a 3 hour drive
Albany-Sarratoga Speedway NY is a 3 hours 30 minute drive,
I like to get to all of them throughout the year but now with the high cost of fuel, it means the nearer ones get priority.
As I said, the forecast for Friday was grim, and the first two tracks to cancel were M.I.R and Granby.
Plan B was put into action,
If I left early for Can Am , I could always head on to Brewerton if they were to cancel.
I crossed into the USA at my local Cornwall border point , and my first stop was the Eisenhower Ship lock in Massena NY .
I timed it just right to catch the Sarah Desgagnes approaching.
As she pulled into the locks, the dark clouds above began to sprinkle a bit of rain and by the time I got back into my car it was coming down heavily.
It rained nearly all the way to Ogdensburg , where I pulled into the Dunkin Donuts for a coffee and to check up on the tracks status.
Good news from both Can Am and Brewerton that they were still a go.
I arrived at Can Am , at about 5-00 pm , to clear skies and a pits beginning to fill up with race cars. It looked like my luck was in,
I must mention , that in June 1995 , the Can Am Speedway was the first place I saw Dirt Modified racing, shortly after moving from England to Canada in the fall of 1994.
I think I got hooked, don’t you 🙂
On my pit walk about , I had a nice chat with my good friend Jordon McCreadie who is now driving the # 28 car.
I hadn’t seen him for over two years because of the COVID travel regulations, so we had a lot to catch up on.
It was also good to chat with Tim Baltz the track announcer who I know very well.
The program consisted of 358 Mods, Sportsman, Limited Sportsman , Sprints and 4 cylinders. Lucky for me, the Sprints and 4 cylinders were the last features to run, so it looked like I could be out of there early,
Once the racing began I shot from my usual spot on turn three for the heat races,
The heats were all done before 8-30 pm and after a short intermission I moved to turn one for the features.
First up was the Limited Sportsman which was won by Owen Nier.
Next up, was the Modified Feature with a field of 21 cars.
This turned out to be a good one with # 6 Derek Webb getting a career first modified win
The Sportsman feature followed this.
The winner of this one was Gavin Eisele, who just happens to be the nephew of Rebecca Eisele my friend the Can Am track photographer.
The show had moved along smoothly , and the time was still before 10-00pm .
I took advantage of this little treat and was out of the gate and on my way home just as the Sprint feature began. I had a couple of stops on the way , and with no problems at the border I was back in Cornwall at mid night.
Saturday the 11th of June was the Ogilvie Series at the Brockville Ontario Speedway, which is one of the major events on the tracks annual calendar .
I was there early and it was obvious by the water on the ground in the parking lot, that they’d had plenty of rain. This proved to make difficult track conditions for most of the night.
In the pits I stopped to talk to Bruce Makinson # 81 from Richmond near Ottawa.
It was his first time back racing for a quite while and he was sporting a tribute number style to honor his late father Roy. It was before my time, but apparently Roy had numbers done such as this on his race car.
The program line up was 358 Mods, Sportsman, Rookie Sportsman and Street Stocks.
There was a short delay to the start time as promoter Paul Kirkland tried his best do something with the heavy track.
I placed my lawn chair in its usual spot on the middle by turn one and stationed my self there.
After the heat races, I retired to the pits for the Intermission. as I wanted to try a few different shots.
Thanks to the use of the roof of Cedric Gaureau’s hauler I took these pics.
As you’d expect , with a heavy track due to the previous days rain, the Feature races had an abundance of cautions.
The eventual winner was Dan Ferguson .
The 50 lap Modified race was next , and oh boy there were a lot of cautions (it felt like I was watching a sprint car race LOL)
It developed into a good race towards the end as it got nearer to the checkers, with Ryan Arbuthnot holding on to the lead from a rapidly approaching Gage Morin.
The next race was for the Rookie Sportsman ,
There were only 15 laps for this one and it ran with only a few cautions.
The winner was young Jordon Wood.
By now , it was after 11-00 pm , so I chose to miss the Street Stocks feature and make my exit.
My intentions for Sunday , were to get up early and watch the F1 Grand Prix, live on TV at 7-00 am from Baku in Azerbaijan .
Well this didn’t happen. I awoke at 6-45 am , took a look at the alarm clock and said nah , I went back to sleep and that was it until 10-00 am. I later found out it was another win for Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.
I also quickly discovered that my local Cornwall Motor Speedway had made an early cancelation announcement for the evenings races. With rain in the forecast , and long distance visitors expected, they wanted to prevent people wasting time and fuel expenses.
So I didn’t have much to do except edit the previous nights pics from the B.O.S .
When this was done I took a little joy ride across town to the Gage Morin race shop.
Him and the team were on clean up duties after the beating the car got the night before.
By Tuesday the 14th June, summer weather had returned for the weekly races at the Cornwall Kart track .
I drove across town to take a look and get a few pics.
It was a nice surprise to see my good friend Lee Ladouceur and his son Trey battling it out in the Dirt Demons.
Trey was the winner , but we thought it would be nice to get them both pictured in Victory Lane.
As I sign off on this weeks Blog, it looks like a busy few days ahead , with the re-make of the post-poned Dirt Car Sportsman Series coming up tomorrow (Wednesday 15 June) at the Airborne Speedway at Plattsburgh, stay tuned !