My fixation with motorsports began in the late '50s when my Mum & Dad took me to road races at Edanvale and Harewood Acres. Only the old guys would remember those iconic airport based circuits. In fact, I attended the last event at Harewood in 1970. Al Pease won the last race ever run there. We lived in Montreal during my early teens. In 1966 I travelled by bus with my buddies to Le Circuit Mt. Tremblant to see Bruce McLaren, my first racing hero, win a precursor to the Can-Am series.
My first visit to Mosport, now Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, came in the Spring of 1969 and the Can-Am Challenge Cup series. Mosport has been like my second home these past fifty years.
Racing was always a spectator sport for me, combined with an interest in photography. The past number of years I have been fortunate enough to have trackside access to many events thanks to my friend Radu Repanovici. Check out Radu's website at www.racinginfocus.com.
As the 2000's neared and I was reaching my 50th birthday, I began to realize my window of opportunity to actually race was gradually closing. I began to casually look for a race car which fit my profile: cheap, reliable and vintage. In 2006 I saw an add in Victory Lane for a 1966 Kelly FV. It was in London, Ontario and owned by Doug Durrell. I didn't know Doug, but I knew of him; he was famous for the Kiki race cars of the '60s. Doug made me confident that it was something I could do, so I took the plunge. I have had a love/hate relationship with Doug ever since.
My son Shane practically grew up at Mosport. I remember him as a toddler sleeping on a blanket up against the spectator fence as Ron Fellows and his Trans-Am buddies raced by in their 600+ HP Camaros and Mustangs. Beautiful music. I would not race without Shane by my side; and now my Grandsons Ayden and Wyatt.
Our motorsports adventure for the past dozen years has been a roller coaster ride. This sport can be a thrill, but it can also be a bummer. Shane can tell you about AVR and how to run a for profit race team.
A few years ago we decided to step up to Formula Ford. The Kelly stayed but we cleared space for what turned out to be a 1981 Zink Z16. The car wasn't quite up to snuf, so we decided to do a complete rebuild.... which took two years. We reemerged as Gladiatorroadracing. And here we are.
I know I'm long winded, but I have another story to tell (if any of you are still reading). We carry a Hesketh Racing logo on the side of our cars. This is not just because we love teddy bears (which we do) or that we admire the spirit and punch-above-your-weight attitude of Hesketh Racing (which we also do). I have largely been the facilitator of our racing so I like to think of myself as a latter day Lord Hesketh. Shane is OK with that, because he thinks he is James Hunt. Watch "Rush".
My first exposure to racing was as early as 2 years old, when my Dad, Peter, would take me to Mosport to watch anything and everything from Trans Am racing to regional weekend racers. I was immediately hooked.
I began my racing career in University at UOIT with the Formula SAE team, while studying for Automotive Engineering. On the chassis and suspension design team for 2 years, technical director for 1 year, and project leader for 1 year, I was ultimately part of the design, build, and competition of three competitive FSAE cars. Awards include Rookie of the Year at Formula SAE West on California in 2007, and winner of the Best Connections Project at the Ontario Center of Excellence.
After University in 2011, with fellow FSAE teammates Sam Ashtiani and Jonathan Rolstin, AVR Motorsports was born. We provided an arrive and drive service for Formula Vee. Fielding up to 6 cars in a weekend over the years, we saw a good amount of success. In 2014, we transitioned to Formula Ford, fielding two Honda powered Piper DF5 cars.
The summer of 2008 is when I began my own amateur racing career, sharing the vintage 1966 Kelly Formula Vee with my Dad, which we still currently campaign. Through the years, I have raced a number of Formula Vees, including a 1970 Altona, and modern two modern cars: A Gladiator, and a Protoform P3. Most recently, since 2017, I have been racing the 1981 Citation-Zink Z16 within VARAC and the FFCS in Club Ford.
The highlight of my racing career would have to be having my two boys at the track with me. My most successful and enjoyable on track weekend has been the 2018 VRG event at Watkins Glen, racing with the FFCS. In a field of 40+ cars, I managed 2 wins (including the feature race), and 5 top 5 finishes out of 6 races.
At the ripe age of 5, Ayden has already immersed himself into the racing community. Whenever we arrive at the track, he is always the first person people say hi to. Having already made trips to CTMP, Shannonville, and Watkins Glen, Ayden is always excited to be at the track watching the racing, and always the first one back at the car in the paddock to help out.
Perhaps a future racer in his own right?