READY FOR SOME FLAT TRACKING?
Flat tracking starts this weekend, and hockey icon Johnny Bower to wave the green flag at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville.
There are several race series which get underway this weekend, including Flat Track Canada, which starts with its opening round in national competition this Saturday at the Woodstock Fairgrounds.
This opener will feature dirt oval motorcycle racing in all classes, with heats starting at 1:30 p.m. and the official opening ceremonies at 3 p.m.
The Woodstock event will be the first of nine nationals for 2017, which will compete across Ontario with stops at Welland County Speedway, Flamboro Downs, and Ohsweken Speedway.
There is a full card of provincial racing as well under the sanction, including a race at the Paris Fairgrounds this coming Sunday. Welland County will hold eight provincials throughout the summer.
Flat track racing has been taking place for more than 100 years, and has experienced a surge in popularity recently. There are 18 classes of riders and machines under Flat Track Canada sanctioning, from 50-cc bikes for children starting at four years old through to veteran riders 40-plus. ATV and Speedway bike racing is also part of the program.
For more information, go to flattrackcanada.com.
Ohsweken Speedway opens its 22nd season tomorrow night with a regular card of racing for the Kool Kidz-Corr/Pak 360 Sprint Cars, Strickland’s GMC Crate Sprint Cars, Middleport Mechanical Thunder Stocks, HRW Automotive Mini Stocks, and Gale’s Auto Aftermarket Bombers.
The 3/8ths-mile clay oval, which is home to the only stop for the popular World of Outlaws Sprint cars along with the season-ending Canadian Sprint Car Nationals, has also announced its 2017 Wall of fame class to recognize individuals who have contributed to the track.
Those to be honoured in a special ceremony are Mini Stock competitor Jim Cochrane, sponsorship supporter Gale Hill, Sprint Car driver Tom Huppunen, and track announcers Clinton Geoffrey Kruchka and Adam Ross. Kruchka is also the track’s general manager.
The Wall of Fame was established in 2015, and this year’s ceremony will be held June 16, the anniversary date of Ohsweken’s inaugural race in 1996.
Here’s an interesting 50th anniversary. To help celebrate the 50th year of Grand Prix racing in Canada, and the last time the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (nee Mosport) has announced that Johnny Bower will serve as Grand Marshall for the road circuit’s opening this weekend, the Castrol Presents the Victoria Day SpeedFest Weekend.
Perhaps the Leafs’ most noted goalie, Bower started his career with the New York Rangers in 1953, then signed up with the Leafs in 1958. He played until 1970, retiring at the age of 45. Along the way, he won four Stanley Cup championships, and two Vezina Trophies.
The iconic circuit will offer a wide range of racing this weekend. The Pirelli World Challenge will feature the highly competitive GT SprintX class with super cars such as the Mercedes AMG GT3, McLaren 650S GT3, Cadillac ATS-V. R GT3, and Ferrari 488 GT3.
Three Canadian series — the Canadian Touring Car Championship, the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama and the Nissan Micra Cup Series — will round out the weekend.
The author of several books on auto racing, Tim Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Flat Track Canada opens it season this weekend at the Woodstock Fairgrounds with a full card of motorcycle dirt track racing.