By Greg Calnan – Now that the short track racing season in Ontario is basically complete, it’s time to look back at the many stops OntarioOval.com made during a busy inaugural season.
Peterborough Speedway was a bookend of sorts for our travels this year. Back on May 15th my photographer/father Dale Calnan and I made our first visit to this very unique 1/3 mile paved oval. We followed that up with a return trip for the Autumn Colours Classic on Thanksgiving weekend.
The track is located just off Highway 115 on the northwest end of Peterborough. I had been to Kawartha Speedway before, but never realized how close it was to the track in Peterborough. It’s literally a 10 minute drive up the road – anyone living in the area is fortunate to have two tracks so close by.
Our first visit to the track in May was a fun trip. It’s always interesting to see a speedway for the first time. The added bonus on that excursion was a chance to finally see the Ontario Legends Series in action, and they didn’t disappoint. We arrived early enough to watch each division run practice sessions and check out the entire facility.
The track is promoted and operated by Jean-Paul “J.P.” Josiasse and his family. During our initial visit, I was able to meet J.P. and introduce myself and the website. We were graciously welcomed to the track and allowed access to the infield to take some photos. In helping to promote grass roots racing in the province we have tried our best to work in a visit to each track and series. J.P. has been great in assisting us ever since we met.
The weather in May was actually colder than our return trip in October. Thus, the race in May didn’t attract a large crowd. Winter jackets and gloves were the attire for that spring trip, but thankfully the weather on Thanksgiving weekend was beautiful for the 18th annual Autumn Colours Classic.
When we returned for our second visit, we weren’t sure what to expect. All we knew was it was going to be a huge event. Huge was an understatement. As we pulled into the parking lot, it was a sea of campers – Motor-homes, trailers, and tents as far as the eye could see. This mobile community was large enough to have its own municipal election. Immediately we knew this wasn’t just any other event.
For three days, Peterborough Speedway played host to what has become known as the ‘Superbowl of Ontario Short Track Racing’ and that it was. Drivers from all across the province were on hand to battle for bragging rights in this prestigious weekend. Everything from Hurricane Midgets to Super Late Models were on a racing card that had something for everyone.
For me, the atmosphere at an event is what makes or breaks the show for me. Obviously the on-track product is most important, but the overall experience is how I judge any trip to the track. The Autumn Colours Classic at Peterborough definitely impressed me in this area. We had a great time at the track and enjoyed meeting a variety of different people and interviewing many of the competitors.
My ‘tip of the cap’ this time goes to the Mini Stock drivers in the A-Main of the Autumn Colours Classic. Their 50 lap feature was clean and very competitive. Write down the names Tyler Junkin, Bobby Love, and Mike Nelson. These drivers made up the top three in the feature and have a bright future in the sport. After seeing them race at Peterborough and a couple of other tracks in Ontario, they certainly left a good impression.
After two visits to Peterborough Speedway and seeing nearly every class of car compete there, I can say it is a great place to watch some classic bullring action. There is plenty of side-by-side racing with a lot of bump-and-run mixed in. For the diehard short track fan this is one place you definitely must visit.
For more information on Peterborough Speedway visit www.peterboroughspeedway.com.
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