Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rick Young's 'Rick at the Races' Aug 27-29

Rick Young’s ‘Rick at the Races’

Aug 27 Autodrome Edelweiss
Aug 28 Brockville Ontario Speedway
Aug 29 Cornwall Motor Speedway

With the help of Mother Nature and an early finish at work on Friday, I managed to attend three events this past weekend. It was warm and sunny in the North East and all my local tracks went ahead on schedule with no rain related cancellations.

On Friday, I finished work in Cornwall (Ont.) before 6-00 pm and was able to make a rare visit to the Autodrome Edelweiss, located in the Gatineau Mountains, a twenty minute drive north of Ottawa. The regular start time is 7-45 pm and thought I had plenty of time to get there for their 100 lap Modified Special. I hadn't realized that the racing was starting earlier for this event, and as a result I missed the first heat.

Once arrived, I soon got myself stationed on the center and started taking pictures alongside track photographer Al Patrick. On normal nights, it would be fair to say that Edelweiss struggles a little bit to get good car counts as far as the Modifieds are concerned. (This is mainly due to the tracks location and the abundance of Friday night tracks in the area). So it was very pleasing to see that the 100 lap 'Super Challenge' had attracted a good field. There were 27 Modifieds in attendance.

Ron Morin was also there with the Cornwall Motor Speedway Pace Truck so I joined him on track for the rolling lap parade. Thanks to Ron, the CMS Pace Truck now has a RICK @ the RACES decal on it.

The track was in really good shape and it was no surprise to me when David Hebert from St Damase Quebec, crossed the line to take the checkers. When it comes to 'long haul' races David is one of the best in Canada. Kayle Robidoux gave him a good run for his money and the two of them ended the race inches apart. Early leader Steve Bernard wasn't far behind them in third.

Many of the additional cars present were Autodrome Granby and Drummond regulars, who would be staying in the area for the Brockville Ontario Speedways staging of the 100 lap 'Super Challenge' the next day.

Brockville was on my agenda too, and I was there early enough to do the rounds of socializing before it all started. During the night, a few more RICK @ the RACES decals were pictured with friends, Sheldon Hoogwerf, Tabatha Murphy, Chantal Lasage, Bruce Makinson, Matt Billings and Dylan Evoy. Check out the new section 'STICKERBUDDIES' on I have to thank Lynda Makinson (Bruce's wife) for arranging a photo shoot of the lovely ' Cheryl's Angels'. Check out the photo section!

Once the action got underway I took my usual spot on the center with my Brockville shooting partner, Henry Hannewyk. There were 38 Modifieds in attendance and we knew it was going to be an action packed night. During the heats, I was given a photo opportunity, all track cameramen dream of. Right in front of me a big wreck occurred involving John Mulder, Mario Clair, Yan Bussiere and Michel Chicoine. As both Clair and Chicoine flipped over wildly, I looked on in amazement. By the time I realized that I should be capturing the action, it was too late and the shot was way out of focus. Oh well! You can't win them all! Thankfully all the drivers concerned were unhurt but the Mulder, Clair and Chicoine cars were out of action for the rest of the night. The latter two drivers, quickly unloaded their spare cars from the haulers so they could compete in the consi's.

Over the years, the BOS has always been considered good hunting grounds for the Kingston, Ontario brothers, Pat, Danny and Tim O'Brien. All three of them were in the big race and I think most people were expecting one of them to win. First it was Danny who looked like doing it, then it was the turn of elder brother Pat, but the one guy they couldn't get passed was David Hebert. Hebert had the car hooked perfectly and there was nothing Pat could do to get by him. In the closing stages, when it looked like a possibility, a front end failure on the home straight put him out of the race. At about this time brother Danny had slipped back a few spots and it was deja vu, as Robidoux and Bernard followed Hebert across the line. How often does that happen? I saw two 100 lap races in two days, at two different places and at both tracks, the first three were the same. Another great drive by David Hebert, who can always be relied upon to give it 100%.

The next day, after a three week hiatus due to rain, I was back at the Cornwall Motor Speedway. It was a regular show for Modifieds, Sportsman and Pro Stocks, with the Semi Pro's and Mini Stocks taking center stage for their big races of the year.

As usual, I was there early and before the racing took place, the Mini Stock of Ronnie Tyo and the Pro Stock of Gilles Godard's were photographed with RICK @ the RACES decals on them, Thanks Guys!

The first Feature was the 25 lapper for the Mini Stocks which was won by Mike Gaucher. This was followed by the Modifieds which turned out to be a battle of the 'young guns'. Teenagers, Matt Billings and Gage Morin showed great maturity as they raced like veterans side by side (and fairly) to the checkers. At the flag it was Morin, in an emotional first Modified win at his grandfather Ron's track.

It was good to see PJ Peters taking a long overdue victory in the Pro Stocks, while Chris Raabe notched up yet another Sportsman win in his record breaking year. The Semi Pro's ended the night with their 25 lapper, which as expected had plenty of cautions. The eventual winner was Gaetan Amesse.

It was beautiful night to be out racing as the show moved along nicely with no delays (apart from the last race!) and was all over before 10.00 pm. Just what I needed after a busy week!

Finally, before I sign off for this week, I have to mention long time RICK @ the RACES reader, Randy Zimmer from Buffalo New York. Randy is one of the top USA Rally drivers who I first came across in February 2006 at the annual Challenge Sur Glace at the Bertrand Fabi Circuit in Sherbrook Quebec. He was competing in his Subaru and I photographed him both on the track and during the podium celebrations after he gained a creditable third place.

The next time we met was in September of that year, at (what is believed to be) the first ever European style Rally Cross to be held in the USA. Up until then the USA's idea of a Rally Cross was a pretty boring 'one car against the clock' affair. Randy was one of the pioneer competitors at that historic event which was held at the Glad Rag Speedway, Corinth NY.

Since then we've kept in contact and once when I needed info about the Buffalo Airport, on an occasion when my daughter was using it to visit me, he was very helpful. When the RICK @ the RACES decals were mentioned in my weekly report, Randy was one of the first people to contact me. "Can you send me one for my car, as I'm racing at the first Rally America Rally Cross at the New Jersey Motor Sports Park on Aug 28/29" was his request. I was flattered, one was dispatched immediately and the decal was on his car for the event. Thanks Randy, much appreciated.

PIC 1 Edelweiss Modified action
PIC 2 Edelweiss winner David Hebert
PIC 3 Ron Morin sticks a Rick at the Races decal to the Cornwall Motor Speedway Pace Truck
PIC 4 'Cheryl's Angels' beside Bruce Makinson's car
PIC 5 & 6 The wrecked cars of Mario Clair and John Mulder at the BOS
PIC 7 Mario Clair's wrecked car at the BOS
PIC 8 Pat O'Brien and Pat O'Brien side by side at the BOS
PIC 9 Pat O'Brien's front end failure puts him out at the BOS
PIC 10 David Hebert, was the 100 lap winner at the BOS
PIC 11 Dylan Evoy was the SPORTSMAN winner at the BOS
PIC 12 Sebastien Benoit and Matt Billings at the CMS
PIC 13 Gage Morin celebrates his CMS victory with his grandfather, promoter Ron
PIC 14 PJ Peters wins the CMS Pro Stock Feature
PIC 15 A wreck in the SPORTSMAN feature at the CMS
PIC 16 Chris Raabe in Victory Lane at the CMS
PIC 17 25 lap Mini Stock Feature winner at the CMS, Mike Gaucher
PIC 18 Gaetan Amesse wins the 25 lap Semi Pro Feature at the CMS
PIC 19 Randy Zimmer at the Challenge Sur Glace, Sherbrooke, Quebec, 2006
PIC 20 Randy Zimmer at the New Jersey Motor Sports Park Aug 2010