Steven Bradley, Gimli, Manitoba (August 20) The Winnipeg Sports Car Club (WSCC) returned to Gimli Motorsports Park August 18 – 20 to host the 19th annual Classic Motorworks Vintage Weekend. For over 65 years the WSCC has been the ‘gold standard’ for motorsports clubs in Manitoba – inhabiting Gimli’s world famous road course for 45 of those memorable years. Nearly 40 racers registered for the season’s most prestigious WSCC event and raced through a perfect, sunny weekend. Along with action-packed, door-to-door racing in Formula, Touring and Time-Attack classes, spectators were also drawn to the event for a vintage car show, live music and fireworks. 6 classes of racing were divided and run in 3 broad groupings; Time Attack, Open Wheel and Touring.
East St. Paul’s Chris Boettcher swept the weekend representing the Vintage class as he piloted his 1962 Lotus Super 7 to the winners circle in all 6 races he competed in. Kevin Lachance from Red Deer, Alberta won 4 of the 6 races in the Touring division – some of which he drove his 1992 Acura NSX through the entire pack to win. Portage la Prairie’s Bill Langner driving a 1992 Acura Integra and Winnipeg’s Damon Hill also collected checkered flags in the Touring division.
Toronto, Ontario’s Clint Sharples, who was released in 8th position driving a 1991 Honda Civic, managed to hold off the high horse-powered racers and emerged victorious in the annual Australian Pursuit race. Vintage driver Ken Hilash, who was released fourth, finished in the runner-up position, while Matt Leveille, Chris Boettcher and Al Marcoux rounded out the top 5.
Winnipeg’s Murray Burkett collected 3 of a possible 6 wins in the high horse-powered Formula division. Tim Woelk from Winnipeg picked up a pair of wins and Wayne Schellekens, also from Winnipeg, took the checkers in a single race. In the lower horse-powered Formula V division, Damon Surzyshyn picked up 4 wins while Pete Lowen claimed a pair of wins after a weekend full of side-by-side racing and lead changes.
In Touring race 1, Kevin Lachance qualified to start on the pole with Chris Boettcher to his right. Lachance held the point at the drop of the green as he and Boettcher left the field and opened up a large lead. On lap 3, Dave Gardiner got by Clint Sharples to move into fourth position. On the next lap, Boettcher looked like he would challenge Lachance for the lead, however slipped in turn 1 which allowed Lachance to separate himself from the second place car. On lap 6, Sharples regained the spot he lost from Gardiner in turn 2 when he slid over the exit of turn 1. On lap 7, Gardiner fell out of the top 5 when Al Marcoux and Don Schmidt squeezed by in turns 6 and 7. After 15 laps of racing, Lachance managed to hold off Boettcher for the win by just over a second. Bill Langner picked up 1 position to finish third, while Clint Sharples and Al Marcoux rounded out the top 5.
In Touring race 2, Chris Boettcher quickly took control of the lead with Lachance settling into second spot. Dyrk Bolger who started 7th, quickly moved up to 4th position by lap 2. On lap 3, Al Marcoux and Don Schmidt beat Clint Sharples to the low line entering turn 1 to move into fourth and fifth position. On lap 7, Lachance’s efforts to catch Boettcher for the lead came to an end when his car slowed – forcing him to the pits. This handed the runner-up position to Bill Langner. As Boettcher cruised unchallenged to the win, Langner easily collected second. After a closing 3-way battle of hard racing for third, Marcoux claimed the spot with Schmidt and Steve Leiding rounding out the top 5.
In Touring race 3, Chris Boettcher beat Bill Langner off the front row and checked out. The battle for second saw Al Marcoux surpass Langner in turn 1 with Damon Hill and Steve Leiding forming the top 5. On lap 7, Hill overtook Langner in turn 2 to move into the third position – then Marcoux under a lap later for second. Marcoux surrendered third position to Langner one lap later. Boettcher easily earned the win, with Hill finishing a convincing second. Langner, Marcoux and Leiding rounded out the top 5.
In Formula race 1, Murray Burkett led the field to green as Wayne Schellekens moved into second spot by lap 3. On lap 6, Tim Woelk retired to the pits after suffering mechanical issues – leaving just 2 Formula Fs on track – and the Formula Vs doing battle a half lap behind them. By lap 7, Pete Lowen ducked under Damon Surzyshyn entering turn 1 to take the lead in the Formula V race. Surzysyhn followed Lowen closely and drafted by him down the front stretch on the next lap to regain the point. On lap 8, Schellekens left the race after coming to an idle in turn 5 – leaving only Burkett left to represent his class. Burkett survived to take the checkers as Surzyzyhn topped the back-and-fourth battle with Lowen in the Formula V class to pick up the win.
In Formula race 2, Wayne Schellekens beat Murray Burkett to the point off the front row as Damon Surzyshyn held the point leading the Formula V grouping. On lap 7, Schellekens was already lapping the Vs as he maneuvered around Glenn Gordon’s car. On lap 8, Brian Iriks took to the track for the first time – a little late – but blew by lap traffic and looked fast. With 2 laps remaining, Schellekens surrendered the lead when he took his car to the pits – handing the lead over to Burkett. Burkett earned the win in front of Irkis in the Formula F series, while Pete Lowen managed to hold off Surzyshyn for the Formula V win.
In Formula race 3, Murray Burkett led the pack to green with Wayne Schellekens hot on his tail. On lap 3, Pete Lowen overtook Damon Surzysyhn for the top spot in the V series entering turn 1. Bad luck fell upon Burkett who was leading after his roll bar became dislodged and was called to the pits for apparent safety concerns. This put Schellekens on the point. Shellekens managed to hold off Tim Woelk for the win, and after a race-long, lead swapping battle, Lowen picked up the win ahead of Surzysyhn in the V series.
In Touring race 4, Chris Boettcher led wire-to-wire and easily collected the win. Kevin Lachance who was scheduled to start second, chose to start at the back of the 20 car field. After 16 laps, Lachance managed to pass everyone but the leader and finished in second spot. Damon Hill only lost one position to finish third – just ahead of Bill Langner. Al Marcoux completed a pass on Clint Sharples on lap 10 after trading some paint exiting turn 2 to finish with a top 5.
In Touring race 5, Chis Boettcher once again used the pole to open a sizeable lead on the field as Damon Hill held second spot ahead of Bill Langner. On lap 7, Dave Gardiner and Clint Sharples squeezed by Mike Demchenko in turns 6 and 7 to move into the top 5. On the last lap as Boettcher was taking the checkers ahead of Lachance, Hill and Langner, Sharples completed a last lap pass on Gardiner in turns 6 and 7 to finish in the top 5 overall.
In Touring race 6, Chris Boettcher continued to lead the pack to green. Bill Langner overtook Damon Hill for the runner-up position at the drop of the green flag as Kevin Lachance chose to start at the back of the field for the second time of the event. On lap 3, Al Marcoux moved into the top 5 after completing a pass on Mike Demchenko down the front stretch. A lap later, Hill completed a pass on Langner for second spot exiting turn 7. Langner began slowing one lap later as he idled his way to the back half of the track and eventually into the pits. By lap 7, Lachance had already moved into third position after getting by Clint Sharples on the front stretch. On lap 9, Wayne Shaw climbed into the top 5 for the first time all weekend when he blew by Marcoux entering turn 1. On lap 16, Lachance had worked his way to the leaders and overtook Hill for second position. After 20 laps of racing, Boettcher collected the checkered flag and performed a clean sweep of the entire weekend. Lachance finished in second spot, and Damon Hill, the only other car to finish on the lead lap, finished his weekend with a top 3 finish. Clint Sharples and Wayne Shaw rounded out the top 5 – topping the group C and D closed wheel divisions.
In Formula race 4, Tim Woelk beat Brian Irkis to the point. On lap 5, Irkis took the lead from Woelk on the front stretch and looked to have his first win in the books. However, on lap 11, Woelk regained the point at the start/finish line. Irkis experienced mechanical failure on the last lap and came to a stop a half lap before crossing the checkers. Woelk was the only Formula F car running and by default collected the win. In the Formula V class, after 5 exchanges for the lead, Damon Surzysyhn emerged the winner – just ahead of Pete Lowen who remained the only other cars left running at the end.
In Formula race 5, Murray Burkett used the outside front row to beat polesitter Tim Woelk to the lead. Burkett led wire-to-wire, holding off Woelk for the win. Behind them in the V series after 7 lead changes between Pete Lowen and Damon Surzyshyn, with just 2 laps remaining Lowen had a run-in with cones marking turn 7 and seemed to take on damage as he made his way to the pits. Surzysyhn also slowed to an idle on the next lap and made his way to the pits with a lap left in the race. Burkett and Woelk were the only racers to survive to the end.
In Formula race 6, Murray Burkett once again led the field to green as Wayne Schellekens quickly pulled off track with mechanical issues at the drop of the green flag. On lap 2, Burkett gave up the lead as he came to a stop in turn 3 – handing the lead over to Tim Woelk. On lap 6, Schellekens made his way back to the track 6 laps down. The lone V series racer, Damon Surzyshyn, made his way to the pits on lap 6 to collect a rare DNF. With just 2 cars left on the track, Woelk collected his second win of the weekend. Schellekens was the only other car left on track, who finished 5 laps down – in second.
In the annual Australian Pursuit, a race where the the lineup is inverted by time and racers enter the track based on average lap time, slowest to fastest, 13 competitors took to the starting grid. The theory is that all competitors should cross the finish line at the exact same moment in time.
Johnny Armatas was first to lead at the end of the opening lap as Ken Hilash looked fast occupying the second position in his Austin Mini. On lap 6, Mike Demchenko who was released 7th, looked like he was a threat to win after completing a pass on Hilash for second in turn 2. On lap 8, Chris Boettcher, who was released last in 13th spot, got by leader Armatas, as he was now scored on the lead lap. On lap 9, Demchenko made a pass on Armatas for the lead exiting turn 5. Armatas fell another spot to Hilash on the next lap entering turn 1 – opening the door for Clint Sharples to move by as well for a top 3 placement. On lap 10, Sharples squeezed under Hilash in turn 2 and set his eyes on the leader, who had opened up a sizeable lead. Unfortunately, Demchenko saw that lead slip away on lap 12 when his car came to a stop in turn 5 – watching Sharples inherit the point. After 15 laps, Sharples crossed the finish line 6 seconds ahead of second place Hilash. Matt Leveille gained 3 spots to finish third, Chris Boettcher passed 9 cars to finish fourth and Al Marcoux climbed 5 spots to finish with a top 5.
Just 3 events remain for the WSCC in their 2017 road racing season. For more information on the WSCC, scheduled events, or how to become a member, visit them online at www.wscc.mb.ca
For full results on placement, classes, timing and scoring, visit http://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/1446463
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