By Greg Calnan – My journey took me to the indoor micro sprint track in Tillsonburg for this edition of ‘On The Road’. The cars that race here on a weekly basis may be tiny, but the action is as fast and wild as their full-size Sprint Car counterparts.
On Tuesday, September 28th, my friend Kevin Norris and I headed to the track together with two separate agendas. For Kevin it would be a chance to compete in his #41 Outlaw kart in the Expert division. Due to mechanical difficulties and a busy work schedule, he hasn’t had the time to compete weekly like he had the season before. My desire to tag along and see the track got him motivated though, and we made the trip southwest from Brantford.
The track is located at Chesterman Power Products in Tillsonburg, Ontario. At the back of their property is a large building which is home to micro sprint racing every Tuesday night throughout the summer. During the winter months, the racing surface is converted into a motocross track. They also host R/C racing throughout the winter. The building is comparable to a small arena with upstairs seating, as well as an enclosed pit area in the lower level. The setup is quite unique, and allows spectators to be up and close to the action from a number of vantage points.
The parking lot was packed with race trailers and micro sprints. Each week the track runs four divisions – Beginners, Juniors, Seniors and Experts. There were a number of competitors both young and old ready to race on the indoor dirt oval.
Upon arrival, I went and introduced myself to the man who runs the show – Dave Chesterman. Dave was gracious enough to allow me to stand on the starter’s tower and shoot both photos and video. Unfortunately my father Dale, who normally does a great job with photography, wasn’t able to make the trip. I was left holding the camera and it was apparent very early that this isn’t my speciality. Nonetheless I had a great deal of fun trying to catch these cars as they whipped by each lap.
I have seen several photos of the track, and even watched them put on a demonstration race at Ohsweken once this year, but seeing them on their home track in person was most impressive. The cars in all four divisions can motor around the oval in no time at all. The Expert class is controlled chaos.
Just like full-size Sprint Cars, these machines need a push start to take off, and when they took off, they moved in a hurry. Most of the field was able to lift the front wheels off the track through the corners. Their lap times are just over 8 seconds around the 1/11 mile track, which is close to 48 MPH, which is incredible considering the tight confines they race within.
The show ran along smoothly with racing action starting at 7pm and wrapping up around 9pm. It was the final points night of the season, and all drivers were racing for every point they could gain. Teams were also looking forward to their big season-ending 100 lap special on Sunday, October 3rd. Many teams were talking strategy, with the hot topic being fuel mileage.
For anyone that doesn’t think a micro track is a real race track, they need to see and be a part of the experience first. The racers and crews were just the same as at any track – There for the fun and the thrill of competition. I would certainly suggest a trip to Chesterman’s indoor facility to anyone looking for fix of racing during the week.
THANK YOU: Thank you Dave Chesterman and his staff for their hospitality. The officials were nice enough to allow me to invade their flag stand for the evening and it was much appreciated. It gave me a great view of the action and a chance to see how well they run the show from the stand.
WHO I MET: During the evening I had the chance to meet Greg Beecroft from Ridgetown, Ontario. Greg owns and operates One Stop Auto Parts and is the sponsor of many drivers, including former SOS champion Adam West, and Late Model driver Dale Glassford. He was there with his son Josh who competes in the Senior division. It was nice to meet Greg after having seen his sponsor logo for years in and around Ontario racing.
WHO WAS THERE: While I was there I also ran into Paul Ballantyne. Paul is a former Sprint Car driver, and crews with the Hills Racing team on a weekly basis at Ohsweken and a variety of other tracks around the northeast. Paul was there helping Miles Hill and his daughter Alex as she prepared to race that evening. It was nice to see a few familiar faces at the track. With the indoor track growing so rapidly, it will only be a matter of time until a few of their regular drivers are moving up to full-sized cars and becoming familiar faces across the province.
My trip to Tillsonburg was certainly a great deal of fun and a totally new experience. I will certainly be returning in 2011 to see more of the racing action at the Chesterman facility. I highly recommend the trip to anyone who is looking for racing during the week.
For more information on the Chesterman Power Products indoor facility visit www.chesterman.ca.
That does it for this week’s edition, so until next time I’ll see you “On The Road!”
Greg Calnan – Editor / Columnist for OntarioOval.com. Contact Greg at email@example.com