Brighton Speedway. A unique approach to racing

I got a phone call from one of my best friends the other week that went something like this: “hey Sam, a bunch of us are going to Brighton Speedway next weekend for some races, you should come” Oh Brighton, The epicenter of back country motor sports and ridiculous racing ideas. My response was something along the lines of “I will see if I can make it out, it’s a bit of a hike from Toronto and I’m not sure if the wife will appreciate the country “culture” that is a day of racing in Brighton.” All I really wanted to do was sit on the couch and catch up on T.V.-Then my friend told my there would be a school bus race. It took all of 2 seconds for me to confirm that I was going to the race. Let me explain what was involved in a day of racing at the Brighton Speed way. We will only focus on a couple of these races because I have been told that my blogs are too long and bla, bla, bla…

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1)       endurance races: Picture 64 cars racing around a tight, dirt oval track with high banks in the corners. The cars race in three heats. The top place finishers get to move on to the final event- the demolition derby. The cars that race these are “race prepped” and by that I mean they have no glass or lights and crummy paint jobs done with a spray paint can or paint brush. I will summarize an endurance race like this: picture everyone racing around a track in cars that are not fit for the road. Now picture them intentionally hitting each other and trying to knock each other off the track. You have to be pretty fearless to win one of these events. The winner was 16 years old and had clearly not yet felt the sting of aching bones the next day.

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2)      Trailer race: This pretty much the exact same thing as an endurance race except everyone has to have a trailer on the back of their vehicle. The trailer is still considered a trailer as long as the tongue is attached up to the car. These trailers are hooked up to cars destined for the demolition derby so scratching the paint is okay. In fact there are extra laps added on to drivers that don’t trade pant. The object is to try to take out your opponent and their trailer. OH THE HUMANITY! These trailers are all in varying states of decay and most have been loaded up with garbage and unwanted household furniture. This is done to try and destroy the tires on the car behind it and make the track that much more dangerous. The old a-barbecue-is-going-to-fall-out-of-the-back-of-my-trailer-and-onto-your-hood trick is the most advanced maneuver in Motorsports racing today.

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3)      Vehicle long jump: This is an open class for anyone to partake in. It is also the single largest business producer for the local chiropractic clinic. Contestants take their post endurance cars but pre-demolition derby cars and launch them off a 2 and a half-foot ramp to see how much air they can get. No landing strip, just dirt, flat hard-packed dirt. The winner is the person who jumps the furthest. I think I saw one contestant cough up a vertebrae in a Buick Century. On a side note, the sound these cars make when they land is somewhere between the dull thud of dropping a bowling ball on wood and running over a tin can.

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4)      School bus race: OH. MY. GOD! I was expecting short buses. I got full-sized old school International, Ford and G.M.’s! The majority of them  run big block American motors. The buses that run the original diesel mills puff out thick black smoke. These buses are unbelievable. If you have never seen cheese-wagons smash into each other while trying to negotiate a tight, angled turn on a dirt track you have never lived. These guys are ruthless. And it shows. Buses went off the track, spun out and crashed. These are 70 foot logs rolling around they are loud, top-heavy and unstable. They have so much real-estate on top of the old school ladder frames that you can aim to hit. The track is not that wide or accommodating in corners, So much contact happens between these buses. You would could almost relate it to watching whales engage in a pre-mating ritual. If you get the chance, go see a bus race it will make you reevaluate your priorities.

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5)      Demolition derby: This was the main event and it devided into compact cars and full size cars. The cars are placed in a small area bounded by concrete blocks. What ensues when the checkered flag goes up is madness! Everyone try’s to eliminate everyone else’s car by smashing into it. I spoke with a seasoned demolition derby veteran and he explained that there are 2 ways to win a derby. To win the compact class (the majority of these cars are front engine front wheel drive) you have to smash the front of another car with the back of yours. Essentially you want to inflict as much damage as possible to the front of your opponent’s car (so you can disable the engine) without exposing the front of your car to damage. The full-sized class is the opposite. Most of them are front engine rear wheel drive cars. These full-sized cars are generally pre-crash protection era cars so the front ends are bullet proof. The best bet is to back into the rear side of the other car so you can take out the rear axle and render the car immobile. Most of these full-sized cars have rear ends larger than a 2 bedroom condo in Toronto so there is lots of metal to cushion the blow.  after seeing the carnage unfold I am 100% positive that we should be promoting this event to people with anger management issues. This would not only allow them to take out anger. It would reward those who are most aggressive.

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*no animals were hurt in the making of this blog, however approximately 70 cars, 6 trailers and 9 buses were destroyed*

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Cadillac ATS Wins Gold in Olympics Advertising

General Motors captured the gold with its advertising of the 2013 Cadillac ATS. The “Cadillac ATS vs. the World” campaign, designed to establish the brand-new Cadillac nameplate, launched during the opening ceremonies of the London Olympic Games. Cadillac followed up with 30-second spots throughout the weekend.  According to Edmunds.com shopping consideration had lifted by 474 percent by the time Monday arrived.  This was much higher than competitive automobiles in the category. Shopping consideration is an indicator of marketing effectiveness, not necessarily actual sales.

We think it is because it is/was a terrific commercial series and because the Cadillac is such an appealing car.

Here’s the trailer for you to watch:

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Carroll Shelby the Legendary Car Designer

In May of this year the automotive industry lost one of its greats with the passing of Carroll Shelby. From humble beginnings, Shelby went on to become a world-champion racing driver. However, he is perhaps best remembered for designing and building innovative and iconic cars like the Cobra, high-performance versions of the Ford Mustang and injecting expertise and testosterone into the development of the Dodge Viper.

During the 1950’s Shelby drove for the Cad-Allard, Aston-Martin and Maserati teams and in 1959 he won the brutal endurance race 24 Hours of Le Mans, co-driving a British made Aston-Martin. A heart ailment forced him to quit driving and in 1962 he founded Shelby-American. It became one of the most successful independent sports-car builders of the era.

Shelby began building his Cobras using the chassis and body of a two-seater from AC Cars of England and packing powerful Ford V-8 Engines into the lightweight British roadsters. The Cobra won the United States Road Racing Championship in 1963 and the Grand Touring world championship in the large-engine category in 1965.

In 1964, Lee Iacocca asked Shelby to help create a high-performance version of the recently launched Mustang. In January 1965, the first Shelby Mustang, the GT350, made its début and a legend was born. Shelby also developed the Ford GT40, the Shelby GT500 and the GT500KR (KR stands for King of the Road). The Shelby-American team’s Ford GT40 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 and 1968 ending a six year winning streak by Ferrari.

Ford Racing put a video together of Carroll Shelby “In His Own Words”.  It is fascinating…

The famous Shelby Cobra and the many other high performance vehicles that Shelby designed and built enlivened, and in many cases, revolutionized the automotive industry for the past 50 years. He will be missed but his legacy lives on.

Click here to review our Pinterest retrospective of Shelby production cars.

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Bullrun 2012 – Day 7

The final day! The Bullrunners emerged from their Santa Cruz hotel squinting into the light. The week of exhaustion was almost behind them. With only one more stint back to Los Angeles and a few checkpoints left, the drivers began to realize that their week-long odyssey was about to be over.

Day 7 starts in Santa Cruz

Let’s hit the road

Onto check point – Fresno.

Off-road shortcut into Fresno

The Race Room welcomed the Bullrunners for lunch and a chance to hone their racing skills on multiple racing simulator machines.

Congratulations to speed demon, Drake Kemper, for winning the Race Room hot lap challenge.

As the teams left Fresno, nobody knew who would take home the coveted Navigator or Spirit of the Bullrun Awards. With so many teams in contention this year, the results wouldn’t be decided until the teams arrived in LA.

Team Karma

Lost a bet, Ricky and Billy had to wear wedding dresses – all the way to Los Angeles.

Seriously in win mode!

As the teams arrived back at Hotel Andaz, they celebrated the hectic and rewarding week that was Bullrun 2012!

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Bullrun 2012 – Day 6

The Bullrun began in beautiful Klamath Falls, Oregon. Overnight the drivers stayed on a ranch and got to see a private screening of last year’s Cops, Cars 7 Superstars TV show which highlights the fun of BullrunAt the start of the day…….bullrunners lined up to get their route card.

On the road again

The route card had us heading for checkpoint 1 – Lucerne, CA.

A quick break 🙂

Checkpoint #1 for Day 6…….find the checkpoint!

A number of the teams including Team Oh Canada were slowed down by a police roadblock.

Bullrunners enter back into the state of California. Some of the landscape that the Bullrunners experience en route is breathtaking!  Mount Shasta on the horizon.

About to cross the Golden Gate. Route cards from the 1st checkpoint vehicle sent everyone to the next one at Gotts, St. Helena then onto the final destination of the day – the Dream Inn, Santa Cruz, California.

Partying in the parking lot in Santa Cruz

He’s like a little boy scout that one – be party prepared!

Because it’s not enough to drive super cars all day, Alex has to ride a bike at 2 AM

Team oh Canada score their first ‘1st’ today! About time!

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Bullrun 2012 – Day 5

Day 5 for the Bullrunners started with sunny skies in Portland, and ended in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Some really beautiful driving and fun in-between….

Start of the day was Portland, Oregon

Hmmmmm…thought that was a dog thing!

The Hudson Team are fast….

Yes sir. I won’t sir. Thank-you sir.

Approaching the beautiful Crater Lake a checkpoints we saw snow on the side of the road!

Crater Lake – pure beauty!

End of the day destination was Klamath Falls, Oregon

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Bullrun 2012 – Day 4

Morning in Boise, ID, and the sunrise was picture-perfect!

Nice, the Dudesons!

The drivers hit the road for their lunch stop in Oregon, Little Pine Café. Beautiful mountain roads – top speed 116mph – no tickets – Team Oh Canada is 6th into this checkpoint.

Seems like the long days and long nights are catching up with some drivers.

Back to the cars

Following our friend Ben in Silver Camero into Mitchell

Final stop of the day would be Portland, Oregon.

The drivers pointed their cars straight into the rain.

Good navi skills!

Team Oh Canada made some friends today….

Team DTA Posse

Best way to describe our party!

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Bullrun 2012 – Day 3

Day 3 began at the Hyatt lake-side resort on Lake Tahoe, NV. What a sight!

It was time for breakfast at Bonanza Saloon, Virginia City NV

where the ‘Bullrunners’ get their first route card.

Nevada was crawling with police – and not because the Bullrunners were doing anything wrong. Something about having stickers on your car seems to draw their attention. Hmmmm…

1st Checkpoint – Reno-Fernley Raceway for some hot laps!

Final destination for the day was Boise, ID. It got the drivers scrambling to their cars. Anyone who wanted to make it there before nightfall had to get on the road quickly and start planning their route.

All of SE Oregon and Idaho looks like this

Oh Canada Driver on the road…..very focused

Oh Canada Navigator on the road…..Priority One – Sun Protection

First into the Boise, ID, was the Big Easy Banditz – Ricky, Billy and Shaun.

Second to arrive was Wahe and Greg in the red 2012 Porsche 911.

Third into the checkpoint was Bill Sheppard in the red 2011 Camaro rental.

Time to party again!

Rock on Boise!

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Bullrun 2012 – Day 2

Day 2 starts off with a cool morning breeze, it’s San Francisco!

The drivers partied it up last night at the Rouge Nightclub, crazy!

‘Pranked’

Team Karma, newcomers to Bullrun, placed third day 1

Team Hudson Jeans Leading the rally

At 10:00 a.m. the drivers received their first route card. They headed for UNDFTD headquarters in San Francisco to pick up some Bullrun freebies and collected their next route card. The drivers were heading to a ferry crossing. Lineups, general havoc!

After a bite to eat at the Meadows golf club, the drivers hit the road in search of their next checkpoint in Lake Tahoe, CA.

Oh Canada got off with a stern warning from a friendly patrol officer. Best outcome. Our friends heard them running us on scanner ‘Canadians in a plaid car’. Then…

Drive into Lake Tahoe was spectacular! We ran with a pack through the mountains, passed them, got nailed. Watched 20 cars pass us.

For the final destination of the day, drivers need to ride a Jet Ski out into the lake to get the route card detailing the hotel for the night.

OH Canada driver seen here with the next route card.

The final destination of the day was the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, with a night to relax on the beach.

Rickie – long time Bullruner, parties with the crowd at Paddlewheel.

Seriously ridiculous party!

Then on we go to day 3!

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Bullrunners get ready to start their engines!

Every year the Bullrun organizers try to find a suitably glamorous location to start the rally. They’ve launched the Bullrun from Times Square, New York to Fremont Street in Las Vegas. This year, they have a fantastic start line location – Hollywood Boulevard!

The official Bullrun hotel in Los Angeles will be Hotel Andaz on Sunset Boulevard. Bullrunners check-in on the 22nd June. The event starts with a big party on Friday night then……Over 100 cars will line up in front of the Dolby Theatre (previously called the Kodak Theatre) on Saturday, June 23rd and prepare for the seven days of automotive mayhem that lies ahead!

The rally drivers will be on Hollywood Boulevard from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

The rally will officially begin with the waving of the green flag by a special guest star celebrity, still to be announced. Any guesses?

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