Billy Completes His 80th Lap (January 2024 Blog)

Billy Completes His 80th Lap  (January 2024 Blog)

After a very enjoyable trip to North Carolina for Christmas , I was back home in Cornwall , Ontario for New Years Eve .

As usual,  for me these days, it was a quiet one, sitting out on my front porch waiting for mid-night and watching  the fireworks going off in the distance.

January is normally an uneventful month as far as racing is concerned, and this year was no exception.

Some friends were at the ‘Chilli Bowl’ indoor  races in Tulsa Oklahoma , but it’s  something that’s never appealed to me. I’d rather save my money for something  a bit more to my liking in February.

The Cornwall  area had very little snow during December and January,  and the first two scheduled ‘Challenge Sur Neige ‘  races at nearby Ormstown , Quebec had to be cancelled.

For the first part of the month I was catching up with stuff that needed doing at home, and keeping up to date with the gossip from racing friends.

On the 19th of January , my buddy Ron Morin and I went on a short joy ride to St Albert , (Ontario) .

After a lunch at the St Albert Cheese, factory, we dropped in to Rocky Hill Farm to chat with Raymond Lavergne.

Around ten years ago , Raymond (Lavergne family) purchased the Cornwall Motor Speedway from Ron, who had owned it for over 35 years.

This was a good opportunity for me to get a picture of the past and present  speedway promoters.

On our way home, we took a look inside the Long Sault Arena.

Ron wanted to show me his picture in their gallery when he was inducted to the South Stormont Sports Hall of Fame

There were also two other well known names from the Cornwall Motor Speedway honored on the wall.

The late announcers Brian Mulligan and David Murphy were inductees.

Following  the cancelations of Ormstown’s first two events  ,by  Saturday the 20th of January there was enough snow for things to get underway .

Racing was set to begin at 11-00, so I left home early and was there about 10-30 , in time to see the end of the practice session.

It was minus 14 centigrade when I arrived. 

 I got my car right up to the fence and was able to sit in the warm until the racing began.

The program consisted of the small 4 cylinder cars and the exciting V8’s .

There were also various races for ATV/Quads , which I’m afraid I have little interest in .

So, when they were out on track , I was back in the car keeping warm.

Like most Ice and snow racing events that I attend, I never stay for long.

I spent a couple of hours taking pictures , before heading for home.

The Ottawa Senators had a rare afternoon game taking place, and wanted to be back in my house by 3-00 pm to watch their game.

 Yet another loss, 2-1 to the Winnipeg Jets.

At the beginning of the month I received an invitation from Dirt Modified driver, Perry Francis  to attend a Surprise Birthday Party for his father in law , Billy Cook

Billy , the ‘Mohawk Express’ , is a long time friend of mine, and he was turning 80 years old .

I’ve known Billy since I first got interested in Dirt Modified racing,  soon after I moved to the Cornwall (Ont) area in 1996,  He’s still racing Dirt Sportsman to this very day.

When someone asked him if he’d be racing this year ? he quickly smiled and said. “that’s not a question” , So I guess that was a way of saying , of course he will .

He has to be one of the oldest active drivers still out there on the track.  Saying that , I would say he’s more youthful than some guys 20 years his junior.

When I launched my Rick @ the Races web site back in 2008 , he was one of the first drivers to put  one of my stickers on his car.

Yes, Billy is one of the good guys.

The party was being held at the Turtles Nest on Route 37 , in Hogansburg , New York, not far from his home. 

I got there for the 5-00 pm start and Billy was at the door to greet me and the other guests  arriving. 

There were around 80 people in attendance , including a lot from the racing world. I sat with my friends  Ron Morin, his wife Reina, daughter Carol, and my buddy and fellow ‘tog’ Don Simpson.


Billy and Ron

Thomas Cook , Sportsman Driver (Billy’s Grandson) who is married to Elizabeth (Ron’s Grandaughter) with Carol .

From the Airborne Speedway at Plattsburgh .  Jamy and Beth Begor with Bucko and Tammy Branham .

There was a lot of picture taking to be done.

Here’s Billy with his wife Martha and their three children .

The final group photo, with daughters and son, with their respective partners.

It was a great night and I’m so pleased I got an invitation.

Billy sure is one of the ‘good guys’

That was the perfect way to bring the month of January to an end. 

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