Saturday, January 20, 2018

"Happy Birthday" Scott Maxwell

January 20, 1964
Scott Maxwell
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canadian.
Scott has competed and won titles in Formula Vee (1984), Formula Ford 1600 (1985 and 1986), Canadian National Showroom Stock (1992 and 1993) and Grand-Am (2002 and 2008). He also contested the Canadian GM Challenge, Porsche Cup and Pro Formula Ford 2000 series from 1986 through 1990. He made a single Indy Lights start in 1992.

One of the highlights of Maxwell's career came in 2000 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he won the LMP 675 class for Multimatic Motorsports aboard a Nissan-powered Lola with fellow Canadians John Graham and Greg Wilkins.

In 2003, Scott Maxwell along with David Empringham and David Brabham won the first ever Daytona Prototype race at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. However, The Racer's Group GT-class Porsche 911 won overall honors in that race. He also contested the American Le Mans Series with Panoz in 2003 and Krohn-Barbour Racing in 2004 as well as contesting several Rolex Sports Car Series events for Multimatic Daytona Prototype customers. 2003 was to also see Maxwell make his NASCAR Winston Cup Series debut, but he failed to qualify the #43 car for Petty Enterprises at Watkins Glen International.

The Canadian co-drove with Grand Am Cup Champion David Empringham in 2005 aboard a Multimatic Motorsports entered factory Ford Mustang FR500C. Maxwell missed out on sharing the title because he skipped one race to compete at Le Mans for Panoz Motor Sports.

(Photo: / ProRallyPix via photopin cc)
Scott Maxwell, David Brabham, Panoz Esperante, American LeMans race, Portland, 2006

In 2006, Maxwell clinched another milestone victory for Multimatic Motorsports when he teamed with David Brabham and Sébastien Bourdais to win the GT2 class at the 2006 12 Hours of Sebring. In 2008 he won the Grand American Road Racing KONI Sports Car Challenge driver's championship with partner Joe Foster aboard the Hypersports Mustang FR500C run in cooperation with Multimatic Motorsports.

Multimatic Motorsports celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2012, and drew on Maxwell’s expertise and experience to help develop Aston Martin’s Vantage V8 GT4 for Grand-Am GS competition. Maxwell and co-driver Tonis Kasemets showed the Vantage’s potential with a podium finish. Teamed with young gun Jade Buford the following year, the pair netted seven top-tens in the Aston, before returning to familiar territory in 2014 to co-drive a Ford Boss 302R.

For the 2015 season, Maxwell is co-driving with Billy Johnson in the #15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang.

Scott was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2014.

1984 Formula Vee - Scott preparing to climb into the Silver #88 Lynx, myself in the yellow #137 Horst Kroll built Altona.

"Hall of Famer" Billy Foster Dies In Crash - January 20, 1967

September 18, 1937 - January 20, 1967
Billy Foster
Born in Victoria, British Columbia.
Foster died in a crash during practice for a NASCAR stock car race at Riverside International Raceway in Riverside, California. Foster is the only Canadian racing driver to have been fatally injured at a NASCAR event.

He and Mario Andretti became best of friends, building a close relationship which Andretti claimed he would never do again with a fellow racer because Foster's death so significantly affected him.

Besides driving in NASCAR, Foster also drove in the USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1964-1966 seasons, with 28 career starts. He finished in the top ten 10 times, with his best finish in 2nd position in 1966 at Atlanta. He was the first Canadian to race in the "Indy 500", competing in both the 1965 and 1966 races.

Foster was cousins with musician, producer, composer, arranger David Foster and with Canadian stock car driver Jim Steen.

He was inducted into the Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 1993.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Gilles Villeneuve Born In Richelieu, Quebec - January 18, 1950

January 18, 1950 - May 8, 1982
Gilles Villeneuve
(Photo: Formula1streaming via photopin cc)
Born in Richelieu, Quebec, Canada.
Villeneuve grew up in Berthierville, in the largely French-speaking province of Quebec. Villeneuve spent six years in Grand Prix racing with Ferrari, winning six races and widespread acclaim for his performances.

An enthusiast of cars and fast driving from an early age, Villeneuve started his professional career in snowmobile racing. He moved into single seaters, winning the US and Canadian Formula Atlantic championships in 1976, before being offered a drive in Formula One with the McLaren team at the 1977 British Grand Prix. He was taken on by reigning world champions Ferrari for the end of the season and from 1978 to his death in 1982 drove for the Italian team. He won six Grand Prix races in a short career at the highest level. In 1979, he finished second by four points in the championship to teammate Jody Scheckter.

Villeneuve died in a 140 mph (225 km/h) crash caused by a collision with the March of Jochen Mass during qualifying for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder. The accident came less than two weeks after an intense argument with his teammate, Didier Pironi, over Pironi's move to pass Villeneuve at the preceding San Marino Grand Prix. At the time of his death, Villeneuve was extremely popular with fans and has since become an iconic figure in the history of the sport. His son, Jacques Villeneuve, became Formula One world champion in 1997 and, to date, the only Canadian to win the Formula One World Championship.

For more see; The Gilles Villeneuve Story - The Early Years

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Gilles Villeneuve Story - The Early Years

January 18, 1950 - May 8, 1982
Gilles Villeneuve
(Photo: Formula1streaming via photopin cc)
Born in Richelieu, Quebec, Canada.
 Villeneuve grew up in Berthierville, Quebec, Canada. He often claimed to have been born in 1952. By the time he got his break in Formula One, he was already 27 years old and took two years off his age to avoid being considered too old to make it at the highest level of motorsports.

He was born to Séville and Georgette Villeneuve
(Photo credit: ©David Hutson)
Seen here with younger brother Jacques, who also had a successful racing career in Formula Atlantic, Can Am and CART.

Since 1967 he started going steady with Joann Barthe, whom he married in 1970.
(Photo credit: alessio mazzocco via photopin cc) 
Gilles and Joann had two children, Jacques, the future world champion in Formula 1, and Mélanie. During his early career Villeneuve took his young family on the road with him in a transformed old yellow bus, the front half living quarters, and rear half a workshop during the racing season, a habit which he continued to some extent during his Formula One career.

Villeneuve started competitive driving in local drag-racing events, entering his road car, a modified 1967 Ford Mustang. He was soon bored by this and entered the Jim Russell Racing School at Le Circuit Mont Tremblant to gain a racing licence. He then had a very successful season in Quebec regional Formula Ford, running his own two-year-old car and winning seven of the ten races he entered.
(Photo; By John Chapman (Pyrope) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons)
Villeneuve's 1973 Magnum MkIII Formula Ford car, with which he won the Quebec Formula Ford championship.

The next year he progressed to Formula Atlantic, competing there for four years, running his own car again for one of those seasons. Money was very tight in Villeneuve's early career. He was a professional racing driver from his late teens, with no other income. In the first few years the bulk of his income actually came from snowmobile racing, where he was extremely successful. He could demand appearance money as well as race money, especially after winning the 1974 World Championship Snowmobile Derby. His second season in Formula Atlantic was part-sponsored by his snowmobile manufacturer, Skiroule. He credited some of his success to his snowmobiling days, "Every winter, you would reckon on three or four big spills, and I'm talking about being thrown on to the ice at 100 miles per hour. Those things used to slide a lot, which taught me a great deal about control. And the visibility was terrible! Unless you were leading, you could see nothing, with all the snow blowing about. Good for the reactions and it stopped me having any worries about racing in the rain". He won his first Atlantic race in 1975 at Gimli Motosport Park in heavy rain.

 In 1976, teamed with Chris Harrison's Ecurie Canada and factory March race engineer Ray Wardell, he dominated the season by winning all but one of the races and taking the US and Canadian titles. He won the Canadian championship again in 1977.

On September 5, 1976, in a non-championship Formula Atlantic race through the streets of Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Gilles Villeneuve driving a March 76B, not only added another win to his belt but he also defeated a brace of F1 drivers led by Alan Jones and defending world champion James Hunt. Both were mightily impressed with Villeneuve's driving and when Hunt got home he raved about Gilles to McLaren bosses Teddy Mayer and Tyler Alexander, and to sponsor Marlboro too. 

Hunt's enthusiasm convinced Mayer and Alexander to give Villeneuve a try and after a fast, spin-filled test he made his F1 debut in the 1977 British GP at Silverstone. A fantastic showing was muffled by a faulty water temperature gauge which forced Villeneuve to make a pitstop. But as fast as he clearly was Teddy Mayer believed Gilles would crash too many cars and the relationship cooled. As the season wore on, Mayer decided to hire Patrick Tambay instead of Villeneuve. 

Meanwhile, back in North America, Gilles's was able to wrap-up the Formula Atlantic  Championship with a win in Quebec City. The next day Gilles and his manager flew to Italy to sign a two-year contract with Ferrari and two weeks later he would make his Ferrari debut in the Canadian GP at Mosport. Villeneuve retired from the race after sliding off the track on another competitor's oil.

Villeneuve later remarked that: "If someone said to me that you can have three wishes, my first would have been to get into racing, my second to be in Formula 1, my third to drive for Ferrari."

The Gilles Villeneuve Story - Home Hero And Legend Arrives

October 8, 1978

Gilles Villeneuve celebrated his first victory in Formula 1 before a home crowd at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on October 8, 1978.

The 1978 season saw a succession of retirements for Villeneuve, often after problems with the new Michelin radial tyres. Early in the season, he started on the front row at the United States Grand Prix West, but crashed out of the lead on lap 39. Despite calls in the Italian press for him to be replaced, Ferrari persisted with him. Towards the end of the season, Villeneuve's results improved. He finished second on the road at the Italian Grand Prix, although he was penalised a minute for jumping the start, and ran second at the United States Grand Prix before his engine failed. Finally at the season-ending Canadian Grand Prix, Villeneuve scored his first Grand Prix win.

The Canadian Grand Prix has been part of the Formula One World Championship since 1967. It was first staged at Mosport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario as a sports car event before it alternated between Mosport and Circuit Mont-Tremblant, Quebec after Formula One took over the event. After 1971, safety concerns led to the Grand Prix moving permanently to Mosport. In 1978, after similar safety concerns with Mosport, the Canadian Grand Prix moved to its current home on Île Notre-Dame in Montreal. Before the race, in pre-race interviews Mario Andretti noted that he thought that the circuit has been designed in favour of Gilles Villeneuve, a comment that was picked up by local press. Andretti responded to the comments on race day morning, stating that he is "not critical of the race organizers", but instead "critical of our own FOCA officials who were sent over here to approve the track".
(Photo: Archives de la Ville de Montréal via photopin cc)
Poor weather and rain on Friday morning meant that the first practice session began 20 minutes later than scheduled. When the session did start, the two Ferrari drivers were fastest, Carlos Reutemann fastest with a lap of 2:02.600, ahead of team-mate Villeneuve.
The second practice session held on Friday was in damp weather conditions as the track dried, with Reutemann again fastest, with a lap of 1:57.900. Wet weather greeted the teams again on Saturday morning for a 90 minute practice session, although conditions got better towards the end of that session, allowing Lauda to go fastest with a time of 1:51.700, Keke Rosberg, Andretti and Watson completing the top four.

The entry of 28 cars had to be trimmed to 22 before the race, and those who failed to qualify were, unusually, from six different teams. They were Clay Regazzoni of Shadow, Beppe Gabbiani of Surtees, Arturo Merzario in the car bearing his name, Hector Rebaque in a privately run Lotus, Rolf Stommelen of Arrows and Michael Bleekemolen of ATS.

There were uncharacteristically bad performances from Reutemann, who took third in the championship with Ferrari, but could only qualify 11th, and the Tyrrells of Patrick Depailler and Didier Pironi, both also regular points scorers but down in 13th and 18th. Piquet was 14th on his debut for Brabham.

The top ten was just as interesting as the bottom six, as eight different cars were featured. Jacques Laffite was the lowest ranked of these, putting his Ligier 10th. World champion Andretti was also off the pace for Lotus, qualifying 9th. Hans Joachim Stuck drove very well to put the other Shadow 8th, beating his more decorated team mate Regazzoni by over two and a half seconds. Brabham, one of only two teams to have two cars in the top 10 (the other was Lotus), had Watson and Lauda 4th and 7th. They were split by Alan Jones's Williams, a sign of continuing improvement for the team and their Australian driver, who had finished 2nd the last time out at Watkins Glen, and Emerson Fittipaldi, who dragged the uncompetitive Copersucar up to 6th.
(Photo: Archives de la Ville de Montréal via photopin cc)
Home favourite Villeneuve put the Ferrari 3rd, a good performance from the Canadian who had been outperformed by team mate Reutemann all season. He was beaten to 2nd by Jody Scheckter of Wolf, who had also been improving of late. However, pole was a surprise. Jean-Pierre Jarier, who had fallen out of favour with ATS earlier in the season and been dropped in favour of drivers such as Alberto Colombo, Hans Binder and Harald Ertl, had last been semi-competitive with Shadow back in 1975 and had been drafted in by Lotus to replace Ronnie Peterson after his tragic death at Monza two races previous, took pole by just 0.011 seconds from Scheckter. This was no surprise after the Frenchman had set the fastest race lap in his first appearance for the team at Watkins Glen, but was classified 15th due to running out of fuel when in 3rd place.

The race started with Jarier in the lead, but Jones had a magnificent start, jumping up from 5th to 2nd. This meant that Scheckter dropped to 3rd, Villeneuve to 4th and Watson down to 5th. Andretti had jumped up past Lauda and Stuck and was holding 6th. Fittipaldi was a casualty on the first lap, sliding off the track into the mud and retiring. Stuck joined him at the same spot a lap later. There was more drama in the race on lap 6, particularly for the Brabham team. First, Lauda had a brake failure and was out. Shortly afterwards, Andretti attempted to pass Watson in the other Brabham, and the two made contact, dropping almost right to the back of the field. This allowed Patrick Depailler up to 5th and Reutemann in the other Ferrari into 6th. Three laps later, Watson had an accident of his own, and was out for good. The next retirement was on lap 17, when Bobby Rahal in the second Wolf suffered fuel injection problems and reduced the field to 17 runners.

Jarier had opened up a lead of 20 seconds at this point, as Jones in second was holding up the faster cars of Scheckter and Villeneuve behind him. However, on lap 18 Scheckter found a way past, and Villeneuve followed him through a lap later. At the same time, Depailler was dropping down the order with technical issues, allowing Reutemann into 5th and Derek Daly in the Ensign up to 6th. Daly was passed by Riccardo Patrese not long afterwards. A good few laps ensued for Ferrari, as the very fast Villeneuve fought his way past Scheckter, who everyone knew was to be his team mate at Ferrari in 1979, for 2nd on lap 25. On lap 27, current team mate Reutemann battled past the slow Jones into fourth. Jones also slipped behind Patrese two laps later. Daly moved back up to 6th on lap 33 when Jones dropped back even further with his own technical problems, but the Irishman was under severe pressure from Didier Pironi in the other Tyrrell. Lap 38 saw another retirement, that of René Arnoux in the Surtees with oil pressure difficulties.

The recovering Depailler fought his way past first team mate Pironi and then Derek Daly to take back 6th place on laps 47 and 48, just when trouble was beginning for fellow Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jarier, leading the race for Lotus, which first became apparent when Jacques Laffite was able to unlap himself in the Ligier. Three laps later, Jarier was out with no oil pressure. This was tragic for the Frenchman, who was looking certain to take his first victory, but fantastic for the Canadian fans, whose hero Villeneuve now looked set to take his. This allowed Daly back into the points in 6th. 1976 World Champion James Hunt crashed out two laps later, an unhappy end to his last race for McLaren, with whom he had had so much success, as it was known that the following year he would move to Wolf to replace Scheckter. He was followed out of the race by Laffite's Ligier a lap later, who had transmission problems.

From then on, the order did not change, and Villeneuve came home to take his first Grand Prix victory in front of his own fans.
Villeneuve was killed in 1982 on his final qualifying lap for the Belgian Grand Prix. A few weeks after his death, the race course in Montreal was renamed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after him. And so far Gilles Villeneuve, is the only Canadian winner of the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix.

The Gilles Villeneuve Story - The Tragedy

May 8, 1982
Gilles Villeneuve
The first few races of the 1982 season were promising. Villeneuve led in Brazil in the new 126C2, before spinning into retirement, and finished third at the United States Grand Prix West although he was later disqualified for a technical infringement. The Ferraris were handed an unexpected advantage at the San Marino Grand Prix as an escalation of the FISA-FOCA war saw the FOCA teams boycott the race, effectively leaving Renault as Ferrari's only serious opposition. With Renault driver Prost retiring from fourth place on lap 7 followed by his teammate Arnoux on the 44th lap Ferrari seemed to have the win guaranteed. 

In order to conserve fuel and ensure the cars finished the Ferrari team ordered both drivers to slow down. Villeneuve believed that the order also meant that the drivers were to maintain position but teammate Didier Pironi passed Villeneuve. A few laps later Villeneuve re-passed Pironi and slowed down again, believing that Pironi was simply trying to entertain the Italian crowd. On the last lap Pironi passed and aggressively chopped across the front of Gilles in Villeneuve corner and took the win. Villeneuve was irate as he believed that Pironi had disobeyed the order to hold position. Meanwhile Pironi claimed that he had done nothing wrong as the team had only ordered the cars to slow down, not maintain position. Villeneuve stated after the race "I think it is well known that if I want someone to stay behind me and I am faster, then he stays behind me." Feeling betrayed and angry Villeneuve vowed never to speak to Pironi again.

On May 8, 1982, during the final qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder, Pironi had set a time 0.1s faster than Villeneuve for sixth place. Villeneuve return to the track on his final set of qualifying tyres, some say he was attempting to improve his time on his final lap, while others suggest he was specifically aiming to beat Pironi. 

With eight minutes of the session left, Villeneuve came over the rise after the first chicane and caught Jochen Mass travelling much more slowly through Butte, the left-handed bend before the Terlamenbocht double right-hand section. Mass saw Villeneuve approaching at high speed and moved to the right to let him through on the racing line. At the same instant Villeneuve also moved right to pass the slower car. The Ferrari hit the back of Mass' car and was launched into the air at a speed estimated at 200–225 km/h (120–140 mph). It was airborne for more than 100 m before nosediving into the ground and disintegrating as it somersaulted along the edge of the track. Villeneuve, still strapped to his seat, but without his helmet, was thrown a further 50 m from the wreckage into the catch fencing on the outside edge of the Terlamenbocht corner.

Several drivers stopped and rushed to the scene. John Watson and Derek Warwick pulled Villeneuve, his face blue, from the catch fence. The first doctor arrived within 35 seconds to find that Villeneuve was not breathing, although his pulse continued; he was intubated and ventilated before being transferred to the circuit medical centre and then by helicopter to University St Raphael Hospital where a fatal fracture of the neck was diagnosed. Villeneuve was kept alive on life support while his wife travelled to the hospital and the doctors consulted with specialists worldwide. At 9:12 that evening, racing lost a legend.

Continued; The Gilles Villeneuve Story - The Legacy

The Gilles Villeneuve Story - The Legacy

January 18, 1950 - May 8, 1982
Gilles Villeneuve
(Photo: IDR via photopin cc) 
At the funeral in Berthierville former teammate Jody Scheckter delivered a simple eulogy: "I will miss Gilles for two reasons. First, he was the fastest driver in the history of motor racing. Second, he was the most genuine man I have ever known. But he has not gone. The memory of what he has done, what he achieved, will always be there."
Villeneuve is still remembered at Grand Prix races, especially those in Italy. At the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, the venue of the San Marino Grand Prix, a corner was named after him and a Canadian flag is painted on the third slot on the starting grid, from which he started his last race. There is also a bronze bust of him at the entrance to the Ferrari test track at Fiorano. At Zolder the corner where Villeneuve died has been turned into a chicane and named after him.

Among all the pilots who gave their lives for the glory of the Scuderia, Gilles is the only one who had the honour of a memorial.

The racetrack on Île Notre-Dame, Montreal, host to the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix and NASCAR Nationwide Series, was named Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in his honour at the Canadian Grand Prix of 1982.
(Photo: Christopher Neugebauer)
 "Salut Gilles" sign at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve start-finish line

In Berthierville a museum was opened in 1992 and a lifelike statue stands in a nearby park which was also named in his honour.

In June 1997 Canada also issued a postage stamp in his honour.

 There is still a huge demand for Villeneuve memorabilia at the race-track shops and several books have been written about him. The number 27, the number of his Ferrari in 1981 and 1982, is still closely associated with him by fans. Jean Alesi, whose aggression and speed in the wet were compared to Villeneuve's, also used the number at Ferrari. Villeneuve's son, Jacques, drove the #27 during his IndyCar and Indianapolis 500 winning season with Barry Green and has also used the number for occasional drives in NASCAR and the Speedcar Series. Canadian driver and 2011 IndyCar Rookie of the Year James Hinchcliffe adopted the number 27 for the 2012 season.

A film based on the biography by Gerald Donaldson was announced in 2005, intended for release in 2007, but as of 2014 has not emerged.

Villeneuve was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame at their inaugural induction ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto, Ontario on August 19, 1993.

Formula 1 - A Tribute to Gilles Villeneuve - YouTube

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

"Happy Birthday" Kerry Micks

January 10, 1961
Kerry Micks
Born in Mount Albert, Ontario, Canada.
Micks currently competes in the NASCAR Pinty's Series. Kerry and his wife Susan formed Micks Motorsports in 1992 to compete in the CASCAR Super Series. From 1990 to 2006 he drove in CASCAR, where is the all time leader in starts with 165 and second in wins with 24 in the series. Micks won his first and only CASCAR Super Series Championship in 1993. Micks was the first Canadian driver to race a Ford when Ford of Canada came on board for the CASCAR Super Series in 1995.

 After NASCAR completed their buyout of CASCAR in 2007, Micks began to race in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. He has had 3 wins Montreal, Trois-Rivières (2007); Mosport Speedway (2008) as well as 2 poles Barrie (2007); Montreal (2008). In 2009 he had little success, but in 2010 things looked promising he lost on the last lap to D.J. Kennington after winning the pole and leading most of the laps in July at Autodrome St-Eustache and had 6 top fives finishing 4th in the final point standings.

In 2012 Micks stopped competing full time on the Canadian Tire circuit, splitting the races with fellow veteran driver and 1994 CASCAR Champion Mark Dilley. Micks would run the road courses in the #02, while Dilley would run the oval circuits. Micks would races one oval however, entering the teams road course car, renumbered at the 56, at Riverside International Speedway. Micks retired from the race after just 4 laps, giving him his only DNF on the season.

Micks continues his part time schedule in 2013, racing 6 races for Micks Motorsports, while added an additional two races in the #98 Ford owned by Canadian NASCAR pioneer Jim Bray. Micks would DNF out of 4 of his races entered in 2013, including both in Bray's cars. Micks substituted for Dilley at the oval at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, surprising the field by winning the pole and leading 86 laps before dropping out with ignition failure.

For the third season in a row Micks would split 2014 with Mark Dilley. Micks again enter his road course car into two oval races, at Riverside and Barrie Speedway, this time numbered as the 9. Micks entered a Dodge at Barrie, making it one of the only times in Micks career he would race something other than a Ford.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

"Canadian Motorsport Hall of Famer" Craig Hill Born - January 9, 1934

January 9, 1934 - November 1, 2012
Craig Hill
 (Photo; John R Walker)
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
In a driving career that spanned almost 40 years, Hill raced and won in almost every type of racing car, He started out in stock cars at the CNE Speedway, raced supermodifieds at Nilestown and Delaware Speedways near his London area home, raced full-size midgets in the United States and then went road-racing in sports cars and sophisticated open-wheel formula cars. He was Canadian Formula B champion in 1969 and 1970, driving a Formula Ford he modified to formula B spec. He co-drove with Ludwig Heimrath to win the Sundown Grand Prix at Mosport in 1973 and 1974.

As advertising and promotions manager of Castrol Canada, he was involved in that company's investment in Canadian motorsport. It's an understatement to say that he did an incredible amount for Canadian racers and motorsports.

Craig Hill was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 1996. He died at his home in West Lorne, Ontario, on November 1, 2012. He was 78.

Wheels Editor Norris McDonald wrote; Farewell to a Canadian motorsport original, Craig Hill 

Friday, January 05, 2018

"Riverside International Speedway Founder" John Chisholm Born - January 5, 1946

January 5, 1946 - July 4, 2014
John Chisholm
Born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.
John and father Donald co-founded Nova Construction, one of the largest road building companies east of Quebec. When it came to the business of moving dirt and building roads, John was a natural from the start.

The Chisholm clan, whose centuries-old motto was "I am fierce with the fierce", was a family of farmers, loggers and earth-movers. Mechanical competence was considered a necessity of life. So at age 4, with his father looking on stoically, John Nova learned to drive a tractor. He bought his first D4 dozer at 17 and won a contract to dig the basement of the Angus L. MacDonald Library at St. Francis Xavier University, happily cutting classes to do so. Later that year John quit school for good and founded Nova Construction.

John Chisholm had a dream, to build a superior racing facility in his hometown of Antigonish. A lover of NASCAR racing, he traveled to Tennessee in the mid-1960s to scope out the legendary Bristol Motor Speedway, and ultimately created a replica. The Riverside International Speedway opened in 1969 and quickly became known as one of the premiere race tracks in the country.

In 1972 Chisholm climbed behind the wheel of his own race car and was a top modifed racer at Riverside driving cars built by Bobby Allison, Holman Moody, and Ed Howe. Until then most race cars driven in the Maritimes were home-built.

He ran the first Export “A” NASCAR race at Ontario’s Cayuga International Speedway. In 1975 he hosted the Export “A” NASCAR Series at Riverside, bringing in the reigning Daytona 500 winner, Benny Parsons, to drive his ’72 Chevelle.

In 1989 he sold Riverside, buying it back in 2005. He rebuilt the facility in 2006 and his son Donald races their today.

John Chisholm was inducted in the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame November 15, 2008. He was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame October 17th, 2015 alone with Ralph Luciw, Alex Tagliani , Don Thomson Jr and in the International Category Sir Jackie Stewart.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Happy Birthday "Canadian Superbike Champ" Jordan Szoke - December 30, 1978

December 30, 1978
Jordan Szoke
(Photo; canadianautoracing)
Born in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.
Jordan Szoke’s career started as the youngest roadracer to earn his professional license, at the age of 15. Jordan showcased his raw talent consistently landing him on the podium. Shattering track records and earning championships gained him some deserved notoriety.  Winning his very first National Championship at the age of 16, only two short seasons after entering competition, it was clear that this was exactly what Jordan was born to do.
(Photo; canadianautoracing)
Throughout his evolution Jordan has won over 20 National championships in his 20 year career.  Jordan changed the record books in 2010 when he earned both Superbike and Sportbike championships for 5 years consecutively. Jordan also holds the record for the most Superbike Championships in Canadian History with 10 in total. His seventh title in 2010, his tenth title in 2015, and his eleventh title in 2016 was achieved with an unprecedented perfect season.

2016 also found Szoke entering into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame. Also claiming the 2016 BMW Motorrad Race Trophy comprising of 20 championships with in 24 countries on six continents. 

(Photo; canadianautoracing)
Jordan follows his passion for everything two wheels and competes successfully in many bicycle events road and mountain.  In 2012 Szoke claimed three championships in three different disciplines; Road racing, Observed Trials and Mountain Bike.

He is also known for his off the track charity work competing annually in the Wayne Gretzky Celebrity Golf Tournament. He was recognized for his achievements by receiving the prestigious Award of Merit from the foundation. Jordan also endorses a program Racing for a Cure that accumulates funds for the Princess Margaret Foundation for cancer research. 

Jordan has been inducted into the Brantford Hall of Fame and earned Athlete of the Year.