Rea Memorial roars with record-high car count

By Darren Derendorf
Special to the Times

As the afterglow of the Fair begins to dissipate and the rides are dismantled, the smell of candy apples and horse manure begins to fade, all that we are left with of the 2023 Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society Fall Fair is the memories made, and this year the Annual two-Day Rea Memorial at the Emo Speedway was sure to leave you with plenty of memories! With record high car counts both Friday and Saturday, 94 cars between 4 classes (13 Hornets, 25 Emo Street Stocks, 35 WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds, 21WISSOTA Modifieds) there was plenty of action between the 2 nights of racing, and with a top prize over $1500 up for grabs there was plenty of reasons to go out and fight for the win!

With hot weather on tap both days the Track Maintenance Crew did an exceptional job minimizing the dust and created a multi-groove race track that had plenty of passing opportunities but forced the drivers to stay on their toes as the track ‘rubbered up’ throughout the evening.

As a special treat for all of the 2 Day Specials at the Emo Speedway, East meets West as the Hornets (4 Cylinder Race Cars, typically Front Wheel Drive) from Thunder City Speedway, Lake of the Woods Speedway, and Victory Lane Speedway meet to do battle on our high banks. The 3 drivers who visited the Emo Speedway in July, #426 Brendan Makkinga of Murillo, ON, #17 Kamea Mulholland, and #71 Madoc Mulholland siblings from Winnipeg, MB) seemed to have an early advantage during the heat races with Makkinga and Kamea scoring their heat wins, meanwhile several other drivers of the Thunder City Speedway contingent showed speed locking up the rest of the top 3 in both heats. In the feature race Makkinga used his front row starting spot to cruise to an easy victory. Farther back in the pack #11 Carrie Allen of Murillo, ON was starting to come to grips with the speedway and managed to gain several spots during the race.

Friday Top 3 1) #426 Brendan Makkinga 2) #21 James Cuthbertson 3) #17 Kamea Mulholland

Come Saturday Makkinga continued his winning ways as he won his 4th out of 4 heat races for the 2023 season, meanwhile in the 2nd heat race Allen started to show the field what she could do as she won her heat race in dominant fashion, however a late caution opened the door for #96 Rick Styles of Thunder Bay, ON to make a last ditch effort for the lead but Allen was too fast. Come the feature race Makkinga was able to have a great start to jump from 5th to 2nd where Allen was holding first but by lap 6 Makkinga was able to make his way past and score his 4th out of 4 feature wins in 2023. Farther back in the pack, Madoc fought tooth and nail to gain a few positions but with cars running both lanes his progress was impeded for most of the race, also making a valient charge to the front was the #21 of James Cuthbertson of Nipigon, ON who managed to gain 8 positions during the race. In the closing laps Kamea found the right line to pass 3 cars to score 2nd place.

Saturday Top 3 1) #426 Brendan Makkinga 2) #17 Kamea Mulholland 3) #11 Carrie Allen

 As the Emo Street Stocks took to the track a display of precision driving was in store for the crowd in attendance with the only caution through 3 heat races coming from a mechanical brake down. The #86 of Kevin Desserre, #54X of A.J. Kellar, and the #15R of Raice Westover were all able to score heat race wins, the #55 of Tylar Wilson looked fast but after being held up by slower cars was only able to manage a 4th place finish. In the feature race there was a battle for position throughout the entire pack whether it be Desserre and Kellar racing for the lead from the drop of the green flag, Wilson on a tear through the field gaining 9 positions to finish third, or #54 Dean Kellar gaining 6 spots to finish 15th after a late spin causing a caution and sending him to the back of the field. As the laps wound down the battle for the lead had a third challenger #77 Kyle Bolt who was able to take advantage of the late race restart and work his way to the lead for the feature win.

Friday Top 3 1) #77 Kyle Bolt 2) #54X A.J. Kellar 3) #55 Tylar Wilson

Saturday saw 3 caution free heat races with some familiar names at the top of the leader board with A.J. Kellar and Bolt claiming victories and Wilson and Westover taking second place, however in the third heat race #77S Jonah Bolt was able to take an early lead and the win however #3X Lyle Thompson made a late race charge and made up substantial ground falling only a couple laps short of catching Bolt. In the feature race drivers were fighting hard for every position on track, and it was evident as Thompson and Kyle Bolt tangled on the front straightaway, with Bolt taking significant left front damage. As the race restarted Kellar and Wilson proved they were the class of the field for a couple of laps before hard racing between Jonah Bolt and #33 Garett Gamsby resulted in both cars entering turn 3 sideways and drove away but in trying to avoid them several cars piled into each other bringing out a red flag to separate all the wreckage, as the carnage was cleaned up another 6 cars would prematurely retire from the race. As the racing resumed all drivers began to mind their Ps and Qs and ran all the way to the checkered flag. At the front of the field Kellar, Wilson and Westover battled lap after lap with Kellar and Westover finishing the last several laps door to door for a thrilling finish.

Saturday Top 3 1) #54X A.J. Kellar 2) #15R Raice Westover 3) #55 Tylar Wilson

With 35 WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds in attendance and only 22 spots available in the feature race, where the prize money is paid out, nobody was willing to give an inch in either day of racing. The top 3 finishers in each of 6 heats were given an automatic berth in the Feature with the remaining 6 drivers qualifying from one of 2 B-Mains. Friday’s heat races saw plenty of clean racing but mechanical issues for several drivers, including the #4B of Brandon Rehill who didn’t make a full lap until the B Main, the #10D of Patrick Davis who had the rear end housing come loose, or #18S Murray MacLeod who took a spring to the hood, damaging the top of his engine. Showing their speed a quickly were heat winners #86eh Tanner Ulakovic, #16 Gavin Paull, and #21 Wyatt Boyum who all raced from the back of the pack to the front and #38 Nick Hooper, #85 Jamie Davis and #14C Cody Ossachuk who were able to use good starting positions to hold onto the victory. Notable other front runners included the #222 of Bob Hammond who finished 2nd in his heat but fell just a couple laps short of catching Hooper, and the #16G of Garrett Paull who did his best to chase down Davis but after passing 4 cars in the process couldn’t quite catch him. In the B-Mains #16 Brandon Luschinski and #80 Doug Wakefield were able to use front row starting spots to take the wins, while Rehill made up for lost ground and gained 6 spots for a 2nd place finish, the #24 of Cory Randle had his weekend come to an early end as he spun and backed the car in the front stretch wall at the checkered flag taking significant damage. In the feature race track position was all the mattered as the longest green flag run was only 6 laps long, with the dry slick track (Dry Slick is where the track collects rubber but is very slick, similar to driving on ice, sideways, at highway speed and faster) many drivers were over driving the corners and spinning out, with 7 cautions over 20 laps Davis and Boyum were able to quickly take the lead, meanwhile Garrett Paull, Luschinski and Championship Point Leader #3X Jesse Thompson were able to fight their way through the field  to score top 10 results.

Friday Top 3 1) #85 Jamie Davis 2) #21 Wyatt Boyum 3) #16G Garrett Paull

Come Saturday the drivers were better prepared for the dry slick and were able to keep the cars underneath them, with only one caution between 6 heat races. Fortune continued to smile upon several drivers including Hammond, Jamie Davis, Garrett Paull, Luschinski, and Thompson who all won their heat races as well as newcomer of the day #3DJR Kyle Monteith. After issues Friday Patrick Davis got his car back together and running near the front of the pack with a 2nd place finish in his heat race. In the first B Main after a 4th place heat finish Ossachuk was forced to perform to make the Feature, and perform he did building a gap over 3rd place with eventual winner #15K Jeff Kelly, meanwhile in the 2nd  B Main desperation took hold of several drivers as 3 drivers over drove the track conditions and spun out leaving the victory for #18S Murray MacLeod and 2nd place for #40 Tanner Henderson. In the feature race Jamie Davis and Montieth battled door to door for nearly 8 laps which left the door open for Garrett Paull to stick his nose in and compete for the win, however after a couple cars snuck by the lack of track time in Emo saw Montieth fall back to 6th place. The only caution of the race came halfway through giving Boyum a chance to battle for the win after starting 14th , and through the final laps Davis would build a comfortable lead leaving Paull and Boyum to swap spots several times with Paull besting Boyum.

Saturday Top 3 1) #85 Jamie Davis 2) #16G Garrett Paull 3) #21 Wyatt Boyum

The fastest in the field of WISSOTA Modifieds showed themselves early on Friday by running towards the front of the field in each of their heat races. In the first heat race #12P Brandon Pelepetz quickly jumped out to an early lead, and although both #85 Jeff Davis and #621 Colin Chaschuk oth gained several positions they couldn’t catch up to Pelepetz. In the second heat race #99 Brody Strachan and #T23 John Toppozini took the green flag and battled for several laps until a small mistake by Toppozini opened the door for 2 cars giving the win to Strachan. In the third heat race #32C Curtis Stieh was able to lead the charge to the front followed quickly by the #44 of Tyler Brown. In the feature race a couple of well-timed cautions kept the field tight all race long, and although Chaschuk was able to lead from green to checkered flag, the Championship top 3 of Strachan, Davis and #4JR Cameron Brown battled hard for 2nd place all race long with each driver taking their turn at defending the position. As the biggest mover of the race Toppozini gained 5 positions but was no match for the front runners.

Friday Top 3 1) #621 Colin Chaschuk 2) #99 Brody Strachan 3) #85 Jeff Davis

As the cars took to the track Saturday the usual suspects were back to the front of the field with Stieh, Cameron Brown, and Strachan taking their respective heat wins, with Toppozini and Chaschuk both scoring a 2nd place. As a new face towards the front of the back #50 Brady Caul was able to use the low lane to his advantage and to score a 2nd place finish. In the feature race an early mistake from the 3rd starting position and a spin by Strachan saw him drop to the bottom of the running order but heads up driving by the rest of the field meant that a catastrophe was avoided. A swift move on the restart benefited Chaschuk as he jumped from 4th to battle for first meanwhile back in the pack a similar move landed Davis in the top 5. With a late race restart Chaschuk and Davis were able to race door to door for several laps but a season worth of seat time in Emo benefitted Davis who was able to drive away to the win.

Saturday Top 3 1) #85 Jeff Davis 2) #621 Colin Chaschuk 3) #T23 John Toppozini

With strong finishes throughout the weekend your 2023 Rea Memorial Champions are: Hornets – #426 Brendan Makkinga, Emo Street Stocks – #54X A.J. Kellar, WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds – #85 Jamie Davis, and WISSOTA Modifieds – #621 Colin Chaschuk

The Borderland Racing Association would like to say thank you to this week’s sponsors Tompkins Hardware, Norlund Oil, Devlin’s Corner Store, Peterbilt Fort Frances & Thunder Bay Truck Centre and our payout sponsors Chaschuk Enterprises and Tony Hamm Trucking as well as all of the other sponsors who help keep all of the facilities around the track open.  The Borderland Racing Association would like to also say thank you to the fans who packed the grandstands Friday and Saturday because if it wasn’t for you, there would be no show for the drivers to put on! Finally thank you to all the volunteers for their hard work each and every week to make sure the track and facilities are ready for the fans and drivers all season long.