2022 Oh What an Eventful Year (Mid January 2023 Blog )
Another year is upon me , but before I start blogging about 2023, let me reflect on last year .
2022 turned out to be such an eventful year, it would take forever. to mention everything .
As well as a full season of racing at my local tracks. there were so many special moments, it would be almost impossible to name them all.
During the year , I visited a number of new tracks, as well as a few old favorites.
Now that my daughter Carla has relocated to Willow Springs , North Carolina from Austin, Texas it has made it so much easier to go visiting. From my place in Cornwall, Ontario, it’s a do-able drive in a day , or two days if done at a more leisurely pace , with a hotel stop along the way.
I ended up making five trips during 2022.
In February , I took off in my Chev Impala on its maiden voyage to her place.
A day after my arrival in Willow Spring , we all jumped into Carlas Audi for a few days in Myrtle Beach South Carolina.
While we were there , we paid a visit to the Lake View Speedway , at Nichols which was my first ‘new’ track of the year.
The DirtCar Sportsman were there , and a few of my local drivers were in attendance.
My second trip down to Carla’s was on Tuesday the 12th April , for the Easter holidays.
While I was there, we attended the NHL game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Detroit Red Wings.
Then on the 16th of April, I drove my Impala to the nearby Fayetteville Speedway NC , for a night of Late Models , Mods etc.
This was my second ‘new’ track of the year.
Johnny Pursley 09 was the big winner.
On Thursday May 12th , one of my best memories of 2022 began, when I flew out of Montreal Airport bound for Amsterdam.
Anyone who has followed my blogs , will be well aware that when I lived in the UK, I made many racing trips across the English Channel to the Netherlands, where I made a lot of friends.
I ‘d mentioned to Carla , that I’d like to return there one day, and she went ahead and arranged a fantastic family trip.
Carla, Alex and the grandkids flew from JFK in New York to the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and I met them there. (on Friday the 13th )
We had a Volvo Wagon as a rental car and our first stop was at Baarlo in the province of Limburg.
We had a cabin booked on the same campsite that we stayed on , 30 years a go, located right next to the now, defunct Baarlo Auto Speedway.
That night I’d arranged to meet up with Mat Gulikers who operates the Dutch Stock Car Museum in Maastricht, who’d arranged for us to go inside the old track and see the place.
The speedway closed in the late 1990’s but in recent years a smaller ‘field’ track , located about a mile away at Soeterbeek , has been putting on annual events.
One of these events was happening on this particular weekend. (Saturday 14 May) so it became my third new track of the year.
It was great to meet up with old friends Rien Rutjens , Robert Wilms and Wendy Van Lier.
The following day (Sunday 15th) , we left our campsite at Baarlo bound for Cologne , in Germany .
It’s only about an hour and half drive from Baarlo so we had plenty of time to enjoy the sights before booking in to the Marriot Hotel in the City Center.
First on the agenda was to visit the Lindt Chocolate factory, before checking out the famous Dom Cathedral.
This was followed by an early evening cruise up the River Rhein.
We were up early the next day (Monday) for a long day of travelling.
We were heading for Friesland , in the north of the Netherlands.
We had an RB&B booked beside the water at Sneek , and and our plans were to meet up with our long time friends, the Boschma family. (Willem, Anne and his three girls Elsje,Marja and Nelly) ,
We first met them all in 1986 , when Willem was a top Dutch F1 Stock car driver.
They often stayed at our house on their trips to the UK.
Willem and I, revisited the Blauwhuis Speedway, where we first met, 30 years ago.
A couple of days were spent with the Boschma family, touring around and seeing the sights of Friesland.
I opted to be driven around by Elsje, the oldest of the daughters, in her 50 year old 428 cu Ford Torino Wagon.
The final few days of our Dutch trip were spent in the beautiful city of Amsterdam .
Once back in Canada, my local racing season was now getting into full swing.
The end of July signaled another big high-light of my year. when I became the proud owner of a 1978 Ford Thunderbird.
I’ve always wanted one of these after ‘falling in love’ with the NACO pace car they used at Baarlo over 30 years ago.
One came up for sale in Napanee , and I decided to ‘go for it’ .
I guess after being driven around Friesland in Elsje’s Torino it rekindled my urge to get something cool .
On the 3rd of Aug , I was setting off again in the Impala for my next trip to Carla’s place in North Carolina.
During my weeks stay , I visited my fourth new track of the year.
The Wake County Speedway in Raleigh , is only a 20 minute drive from the house, and I went along for the Friday nights racing.
Once back in Canada, there was plenty of local racing to get me through August.
On Friday the 2nd of September , I set off on a very special , second European trip of the year.
I flew out of Montreal, to Aberdeen in Scotland , via London , Gatwick , to meet up with my sister Anne.
She had driven there from England and the purpose of our trip was to visit, my late fathers final resting place in Duthie Park.
While in Aberdeenshire, I visited the Crimond Raceway.
My fifth new track of the year.
Anne drove us back to England for a few days, where we visited my mothers final resting place , in rural Oxfordshire
After a few days at Anne’s home near Chipping Norton , she drove me to my brother, Chris’s place in Dunstable.
From there , I then met up with my old buddy Colin Herridge.
He drove us both to the races at Mildenhall on Friday the 9th and BriSCA F1 World Final at Ipswich on the 10th.
Charlie Sworder # 5 became the 2022 World Champion.
On Sunday , Colin dropped me off at Gatwick Airport in his Peugeot .
From there I was joined by my long time friend , Lynn Longden who flew back to Canada with me for a three week vacation.
There was still plenty of local racing taking place going on until the end of October.
During that time I ended up back in hospital , after taking a bad fall at the Cornwall Motor Speedway.
I broke my nose and also one rib.
On Thursday the 27th of October , I was fit enough for my fourth trip down to North Carolina.
I met Carla and the family in Charlotte, where my Grandson Benji was playing in a Lacrosse Tournament .
This also coincided with the World Short Track Championships at the Dirt Track at Charlotte .
There were a lot of Canadians taking part in the Pro Stock division, so It was nice to get back there after I’d been absent for a few years.
Before heading back to Canada , a few days were spent at Carla’s place , joining the grand kids celebrating Haloween.
I was back in the USA on Saturday the 19th of November, to attend the DIRTCAR AWARDS BANQUET in Syracuse, NY.
I always enjoy this annual event
To end such a memorable year, I was yet again heading back to Carla’s place , to spend Christmas with the family.
What a year it turned out to be ! and I have so many fond memories,
Let’s hope 2023 can be just as good.