Rac­ing is a pas­sion for Ryan St. Ge­orge

Ryan St. Ge­orge talks about pas­sion for mo­tor­sports

The Compass - - Front Page - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Win­teron na­tive Ryan St. Ge­orge was al­ready pretty pas­sion­ate about rac­ing when he re­al­ized there was an op­por­tu­nity to get be­hind a steer­ing wheel him­self at the Avon­dale Speed­way. Now with spon­sors in tow and sev­eral solid re­sults, he’s be­gin­ning to make a name for him­self on the lo­cal cir­cuit.

Ryan St. Ge­orge is liv­ing out his pas­sion for mo­tor­sports on the race­track in Avon­dale.

St. Ge­orge, who calls Win­ter­ton home, has been rac­ing on the East­bound In­ter­na­tional Speed­way in Avon­dale for the past four years, but says his in­ter­est in the sport is some­thing that’s been with him since child­hood.

“I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in this kind of thing. Mo­tor­sports were al­ways a big deal to me, even as a kid. It was some­thing of a fam­ily thing,” said St. Ge­orge. “When the speed­way opened up a few years ago, we were all over it.”

St. Ge­orge, 28, races in the Leg­ends Rac­ing se­ries, and says that the com­pet­i­tive na­ture of rac­ing, along with the fond mem­o­ries he makes on the track are what keeps him go­ing.

De­spite his love of the sport, St. Ge­orge said rac­ing is not some­thing some­one can just pick up and mas­ter in a sin­gle day. He de­scribed the dif­fer­ence be­tween driv­ing a race­car and a road car as night and day, adding that the two are nearly in­com­pa­ra­ble.

Leg­ends cars are 5/8-scale ver­sions of NASCAR ve­hi­cles driven in the 1930s and 1940s. The cars are built with fiber­glass bod­ies and pow­ered by 1250cc Yamaha mo­tor­cy­cle en­gines, out­putting ap­prox­i­mately 120 horse­power. The 1100-pound ve­hi­cles are ca­pa­ble of reach­ing speeds of 130 miles per hour, which roughly trans­lates to 210 kilo­me­tres per hour.

Along­side the skill re­quired, rac­ing can be a costly en­deavor as well, St. Ge­orge added.

“It all de­pends on how much you can spend, or how much you’re will­ing to spend,” he ex­plained. “Get­ting your­self a car suited for this kind of thing can be ex­pen­sive on its own. A brand new car could cost you up­wards of 15, 16, 17 grand. You could al­ways get a used one for cheaper, but you never know how well it’s been treated in the past, you know?”

Ini­tial costs are one thing, but main­tain­ing the ve­hi­cle is another. St. Ge­orge noted how of­ten ve­hi­cles need even the slight­est bit of main­te­nance, which can get costly quite quickly.

“You’re go­ing to be chang­ing the oil usu­ally about once a week. Other than that, it all de­pends on how a race goes. You could come out of it with not even a knick on the car, or you might come out of it need­ing $1500 in re­pairs if some­thing re­ally went wrong.”

St. Ge­orge noted a par­tic­u­lar in­stance from ear­lier in the week where a fel­low driver veered off the track, heav­ily dam­ag­ing the front of their car. The driver in this case was un­in­jured, but the sin­gle ac­ci­dent re­sulted in over $1,000 in re­pairs.

Re­cent suc­cess

How­ever, St. Ge­orge does not let him­self worry about costs in­volved. The Win­ter­ton na­tive’s pas­sion for the sport is what drives him, and his re­cent suc­cesses show­case just how much he loves to get be­hind the wheel.

Of the past five races, St. Ge­orge and his team won four.

“It feels great, hon­estly,” he said. “We work re­ally hard. Ev­ery­one does, not just us, but it’s great to see that hard work come through in the races.”

St. Ge­orge’s team, sim­i­lar to ev­ery racer’s, con­sists of a pit crew who work on the car, as well as a list of spon­sors in­clud­ing A1 Glass, Home Hard­ware Build­ing Cen­ter, and Den­nis Porter, the owner of the car St. Ge­orge has been rac­ing for the past four years.

“With­out a team, it’s not go­ing to work. This isn’t a solo thing, even though I’m the one rac­ing,” he said. “There’s a group of peo­ple who are re­ally im­por­tant in the grand scheme of things, and what they do is just as im­por­tant as driv­ing the car it­self.”

St. Ge­orge told The Compass one of the main rea­sons his pas­sion for rac­ing hasn’t dwin­dled over the years is the com­pe­ti­tion as­pect of rac­ing, stat­ing that once a per­son is on the track, it’s them against ev­ery­one else. There are no teams, and so the level of com­pe­ti­tion rises with each car on the track.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about hav­ing fun on the track. It’s a com­pe­ti­tion, but most of the guys are pretty good sports,” St. Ge­orge said. “We’re all there to have a good time, and that’s ex­actly what we do. I love the com­pe­ti­tion, but it’s friendly com­pe­ti­tion, and I think that’s why ev­ery­one gets along so great over there.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Ryan St. Ge­orge has been rac­ing the same car for the past four years in the Leg­ends Rac­ing se­ries.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Leg­ends cars are 5/8-scale mod­els of clas­sic NASCAR ve­hi­cles driven in the 1930s and 1940s.

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