So just like that it is the end of August and summer is pretty well over. Not sure if it is an age thing or what, but this one seems like it has flown by ultra quick. If this speedy summer was not induced by strictly getting older, then perhaps the culprit must be the weather, as it seems like the 2023 racing season in Canada has been affected by Mother Nature more than I can ever remember.
Although our little flat track world is quite small in the grand scheme of things, to me it is a big part of my summer and I guess in reality, a big part of my life. While we have seen some incredible racing so far in 2023, we have no doubt missed out on a lot more as whomever is in charge of scheduling the forecast, seems to have forgotten to book a few important dates with the weather gods. With a full schedule on tap once again in 2023, Welland County Speedway saw two of their regular nights rained out in June and July. Then to top it off their August race, (only put on the schedule as a rain date), was also rained out, possibly a major flex by Mother Nature as she once again demonstrated who is actually in charge of proceedings on race day.
Our national series has not been immune to the weather either although we have been quite lucky for the most part. Our national round in Quebec that was originally scheduled for July, was switched to September after the weather forecast (and it was actually correct this time) predicted rain for a solid week before the scheduled race. Then our night race scheduled at the Erie Ramblers club track was postponed until the following day after a steady two-day rain soaked the track and the pits. Somehow, we got lucky at our round at Ohsweken Speedway and got the race in despite some of the darkest skies and bleakest forecasts I have ever seen.
Speaking of rainouts, I have never understood the riders who feel the need to go on social media to complain when a race gets cancelled because of weather. Please stop! Nobody cares that you live five minutes from the track and that it isn’t raining at your house. Somebody at the track, or more likely more than one somebody, has made the call that racing will not be happening on that night. So again, please stop. No need to be a crybaby and no need to have an online tantrum. Your post does nothing except anger the people who are involved in putting the races on. I have yet to see a race get cancelled, and then have those in charge change their minds after reading a post on social media saying that it isn’t raining at your house and that you really wanted to go racing tonight.
The CSBK series has not been immune to the weather this year either. Along with the usual rained out qualifying rounds that are often part of racing weekends in Canada, for the first time ever the series had to cancel a whole weekend. Their weekend in Nova Scotia was a complete washout, literally, after torrential rains turned parts of the track into lakes, and the only road going into and out of the track saw part of the bridge get washed away resulting in people being trapped at the track for days. Although this piece is of course motorcycle related, I do realize that we are not that important when it comes to real life and my heart goes out to all those in Nova Scotia who were affected by the devastating rain and resulting floods.
I take great pride in my race announcing. Despite the fact that I was apparently blessed with the gift of gab, I also do my best to know all the back stories, and even more importantly try to stay on top of everything that is happening on the track. At the Ohsweken round I failed at announcing 101, and although like most other racing series I don’t have the benefit of a live leaderboard to look at, I still feel the burden is mine. At this particular race, we got caught up in an incredible battle for first as well as another exciting battle going on between three other riders. Between watching these battles both by looking at the track, as well as watching the footage provided to us on our monitor in the booth, somehow, we dropped the ball and totally forgot about our rider in third place. Brandon Seguin, you deserve better after your stellar ride. You accepted my apology at the track with grace, and for that I am forever grateful. I promise though, I will do better.
On that note I would like to give a well needed shout out to our referees and our lap scorers. I don’t have a clue how you do what you do and there isn’t a chance that I could accomplish what you are expected to do at every race. Without the benefit of an overall view like I have from up in the booth, you guys still manage to manually lap score riders as they fly by the start finish line at blazing speeds, sometimes in packs of three or four at a time. While doing this you are often dealing with a million factors that could impede your duty including a dusty track, bad lighting, side by side riders, riders sometimes having the same racing numbers, and of course the riders that just have numbers that are almost impossible to read. Heaven forbid if you actually had to sneeze as the riders came by. What you guys (girls) are able to accomplish, despite only getting your first glimpse of the riders as they exit turn four, is absolutely incredible and I think you guys are Rockstars. Please racers, give these people a well deserved thank you when you get a chance.
Finally, I just wanted to give a shout out to a couple of the good guys in our sport. Brent and Tyler Thompson are two of the greatest people at the track. While both are accomplished racers, it goes way further than that. You will never see them without a smile on their faces, and even when met with some kind of adversity the most you will usually get out of them is a shrug of the shoulders. Recently they both ordered custom leathers and without a lot of sponsors to paste all over the suits, they instead decided to pay it forward. For years our sport has been lucky enough to have some fantastic photographers involved that are always more than happy to share their work. When the Thompsons ordered their leathers, they made sure to honour those photographers by plastering their names all over their suits, free of charge I might add. Thanks guys. Well done.
- From Todd Vallee