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Re: [TrackChasers] Barrie Speedway and Bristol Speedway (Timmins,Ont)

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  • Bruce Eckel
    Rick, Really enjoyed your writing about your two new tracks. Felt like I was riding shotgun with you. Keep posting as this was very enjoyable reading. Bruce
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 29, 2010
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      Really enjoyed your writing about your two new tracks. Felt like I was riding shotgun with you. Keep posting as this was very enjoyable reading.

      Bruce Eckel
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Rick Young
      To: TrackChasers@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 10:30 PM
      Subject: [TrackChasers] Barrie Speedway and Bristol Speedway (Timmins,Ont)

      RICK @ the RACES (11/12 Sept)

      11 Sept Barrie Speedway , Ont

      12 Sept Bristol Speedway, Timmins, Ont

      One of my first trucking jobs, after moving to Canada from the UK in 1994 was doing a dedicated run from Ottawa to Espinola in Northern Ontario. I was on contract to one of the countries largest paper manufacturers and on most occasions I would drive up to Espinola with an empty trailer to pick up wood pulp for their mill in the Capital City. On rare occasions, I'd be asked to take a load of something ( usually insulation material) on my way up, and during the five years I worked on the job, I twice visited the northern mining city of Timmins.

      Northern Ontario is a beautiful part of the world, and this past weekend I made my third visit to the city on one of my TRACKCHASING escapades.

      For many years I'd been aware there was a track in Timmins, but knew very little about it. Things changed earlier this year when I noticed that the Bristol Speedway in Timmins were on 'Face Book'. I quickly became acquainted with Ashley Prince, one of the organizers and it wasn't long before I wanted to visit the place . With their race days being on Sunday afternoons and my commitment to the Cornwall Motor Speedway it's been difficult to plan. The regular racing season ended at the CMS last week , so I now had the chance for a trip up north. Timmins is about a nine hour drive from my home in Cornwall , so I looked for a Saturday track somewhere ( well sort of ! ) en route.

      This past Saturday you will be surprised to learn that I decided to give the 358 SUPER DIRT SERIES event at Autodrome Drummond a miss, in favor of a NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES event. The premier Canadian paved oval series was at the Barrie Speedway, north of Toronto which was 'kinda' on my way to Timmins !

      At 8-00 am this past Saturday I left my home in Cornwall bound for Barrie, and after traffic delays in Toronto, due to a Hwy 401 accident, I was at the track soon after 2-00 pm. Already there were plenty of people in the area , who I later found out were attending the adjacent Flea Market.

      The NASCAR hot laps were taking place when I arrived, and following these I went for a pit walk about. The first people I chatted to were my friends Wallace and Dexter Stacey. Only last week I'd seen them at the Cornwall Motor Speedway with their Modified, competing in the 358 SUPER DIRT SERIES. As well as being regular SUPER DIRT SERIES entrants they have also been doing the NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES with a paved late Model. Their stunning yellow 'Bully's Truck Stop' Dodge Avenger became the latest race car to wear the RICK at the RACES decal. It was also good to meet up with a number of my fellow media friends, Greg and Dale Calnan ( Ontario Oval.com) Adam Ross (Dirt Track Digest) and Greg McPherson (Inside Track Magazine). I think most of them thought I was a bit crazy when they learned of my weekend plans. Adam even suggested I was sick !

      The domestic divisions of 4 and 8 cylinder stock cars had their heats and features first , which were followed by the Late Model time trials. I've never been too complimentary about the NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES ( or it's forerunner , the CASCAR SUPER SERIES) in the past so it was with great trepidation I ventured on to the center for the full 300 laps. I've always thought that a series, with such a small roster ( I think I counted 18 cars take the green) should never have races this long. I've said it in the past that it's that 'NASCAR' tag that over rates this series and makes for higher aspirations and expectations than it deserves.

      The 300 laps went by quicker than I expected and there is no doubt that it was a very exciting race. I think one of the main reasons being was the excellent Barrie track, which lends it's self perfectly to this type of racing. The third of a mile high banked oval most definitely helped to provide the action in a relatively small field of cars. As the checkers fell, there was only a few inches separating first placed DJ Kennington and Don Thompson. In the past few years I've seen the NASCAR/CASCAR Late Models perform at the Capital City Speedway, Kawartha, St Eustache and the Circuit Giles Villeneuve but this by far was the best I've ever seen. I was very impressed and could be tempted to attend more events for this series in 2011.

      BARRIE SPEEDWAY, Ont. became track # 183 on my TRACKCHASING totals

      The show was over by 10-00 pm so I jumped back into the HHR for the second leg of my tour. By 1-00 am I'd reached North Bay, Ontario where I planned to park up for the night. My target was the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop on Lake Shore Drive which I'd used many years back. Imagine my surprise, when on arrival, I found that most of it had disappeared. All that remained was a few fuel pumps and small convenience store. Gone was the restaurant , motel and showers. Luckily there was still a parking lot, so I parked up and got my head down for the night.

      When I awoke, the first thing I did was to phone the Timmins track promoter, Gaston Gagnon to check on the status. Things were positive so my next port of call was the local Tim Hortons for a wake up cup of tea. It was then while pulling in to 'Timmy's' I heard that unwanted 'fast ticking' noise you get when an flasher light bulb has blown. It was now a tea 'to go' and a visit to the North Bay Walmart, where for around 8 bucks I got the new bulb fitted ( plus a spare) in less than ten minutes.

      While I was there I chatted to one of the guys in the work shop about the long gone North Bay Speedway . The old place that now looks like it's a home for horses and show jumping was located beside the Trans Canada Hwy 17 . When I was trucking up that way I would often park the truck on the shoulder for a few minutes to watch a bit of the Sunday afternoon racing. The guy I spoke to said it had closed down after new ownership failed to get insurance. He told me his dad used to race there and was disappointed when it closed up because he never got a chance to race. He also mentioned that there were plans to open a new speedway in Sudbury next year, so I'll be keeping my ears open !

      After our brief chat I was soon on my way again, and planned to stop somewhere for a decent sit down breakfast. Things changed when I saw my first sign post after leaving North Bay. It had been many years since I drove in these parts of the world and for some reason , I thought that Timmins was only a couple of hours further up from North Bay. A ten year lapse, must have effected my memory ! Because the sign stated Timmins 399 kms ! The track I was heading for was the other side of the city, so that meant at least 400 klicks on roads that had a maximum speed limit of 90 kms. Oh dear , what have I done ! were my thoughts after working it out that it would take more than four hours to get there.

      It was now starting to rain as I headed further north and it was at this point I was starting to question my sanity . Shall I carry on , or shall I abandon the idea ? Well, I guess the adventurer in me won over sanity and I pressed on regardless. The sky was overcast and the rain continued right up to Kirkland Lake and beyond. Just after mid day I got to Matheson , the place on Hwy 11 where you branch off for Timmins. In the distance I could see a few patches of blue sky and my optimism returned. It got better and better the closer I got to Timmins and by the time I got to Shania Twain Way, and the sign that welcomes you to the city, the sun was shining. I stopped by the sign for a photo opportunity.

      Let me Digress... Like most 'Brits' of my age, before moving to Canada, I had very little love of country music. Whining songs about run away wives and pick up trurcks ( Intentionally spelled that way, as that's the way singers pronounce it in the songs) never really appealed to me . At around the same time that I moved to Canada ( 1994) there was a big change in country music, 'New Country' became more palatable and I started to enjoy it. It wasn't long before Dwight Yoakam, Brooks and Dunn, The Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks, Jo Dee Masena and a good looking girl by the name of Shania Twain were part of my CD collection. Shania from Timmins in Northern Ontario became one of my favorites as she went on to gain world wide fame. She never forgot her roots , and the city are justifiably proud of her. Hence the photo shoot

      By the time I arrived at the track it was 1-00 pm and just a few minutes before the scheduled start time. The Bristol Speedway is run by Gaston and Lori Gagnon and is located at the rear of their business, an auto wrecking yard on Hwy 101. It's a dirt track of about a quarter mile in length with small area and grandstand for spectators. From the main highway you drive through the yard to reach the track entrance and parking lot. I'd just parked my car when I heard the announcement that the first heat was about to start. Wow ! It's amazing to think, that I drove all those miles, and arrived spot on time.

      I watched the first race then went to meet Lori. She was sitting in the control box and told me to make myself at home and feel free to wander around. Her husband Gaston is also the starter, and I got to meet him later. I also met Ashley , my Face Book friend who works in the registration office and takes care of the scoring. Like everyone else I met at the Bristol Speedway, she was very helpful and friendly. Her boyfriend, Buck Michaud races in the 4 and 6 cylinder division and his Pontiac Sunfire now has a RICK at the RACES decal on it. As you'd expect there is also an 8 cylinder division, and the intermission entertainment consists of Mud Bog drags on a section of ground between the grandstand and front stretch. I knew before I arrived that I'd have to limit my time at the track, so at about 2-30 pm I bid my farewells. I really enjoyed my visit to Timmins, it's a typical small and friendly grass roots concern that gives a lot of enjoyment to many people who live a long dist! ance from the up market and more professional raceways.

      BRISTOL SPEEDWAY,TIMMINS, Ont became track # 184 on my TRACKCHASING totals

      I had to be back at work the next day so my journey home would have to be done as quickly as I could with the minimum of delays. My first stop was to fill the tank with gas before leaving the city. ( You can expect to pay about ten cents more per liter up there) After refueling my next stop was at Harvey's in New Liskeard for quick burger before getting on the move again. I didn't want to be stuck in the boonies late at night looking for a gas station so thought it prudent to top up again in North Bay before heading through the hills towards Pembroke. I made one more stop at Tim Hortons in Deep River before the final leg home, and it was just after 12-30 am that I pulled into my driveway in Cornwall

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