Eastern Canadian Pro Mod racers make big noise during independent Grand Bend Motorplex event…..

If there can be any positives taken away from these current and frustrating COVID times — it may be the development and refinement opportunity for local Canadian talents for the future.

That notion was most certainly on display over the recent Labour Day Weekend out at Ontario’s Grand Bend Motorplex. That track hosted a pretty impressive display of Pro Mod class car racing — which was 100% organized and funded by the racers themselves — the 2nd time this year that has happened.

The effort did bring together a mixture of some of Eastern Canada’s most reputed Pro Mod class names as well as some of it’s fast rising new stars.

It was however Spencer Hyde, driver of the Stratford Ontario-based Hyde Racing / Ideal Supply Camaro, who truly did raise some eyebrows following a very impressive event winning performance.

Spencer Hyde firmly established himself as a “Pro Mod Player” with a very convincing win at GBM recently.

Mixing it up within a field that included the likes of some of the more established class names (including Eric Latino & Raymond Commisso), Spencer emerged on top for the weekend event, winning over a 1/8th mile 8-car qualified field.

Spencer who had run very quick in some aggressive testing prior to qualifying for the event — set the pace with a superb 3.763 secs to qualify #1. His team then took win lights over Mike Everitt and Jay Santos to advance to the final round versus Eric Latino’s GESI/North Star Batteries Camaro. Spencer then capped things off convincingly — speeding to a 3.771 secs at 194.80 mph victory – while Eric slowed from his earlier pace due to tire shake.

Spencer and Pete Hyde

For Spencer and his father Pete — the win which came at their last scheduled appearance for this season – was most certainly rewarding and also momentum building.

“Wow — what a weekend!” Spencer beamed. “We qualified #1, set the track 1/8-mile ET record, and won the race! I believe that we also set the Canadian 1/8-mile ET record as well!”

“Were were all very excited for the 2020 season,” he added. “With the new car and engine program we were going to try and go run some of the NHRA’s Pro Mod deal. But as we now know COVID ruined everything we had planned for this season. But thankfully, we have been able to get out to Grand Bend Motorplex this year to test and compete. Paul Spriet and his staff have done a great job prepping the track for us. Last weekend we made 8 runs — all between .904 and .925 to 60 feet. You can’t tell me the track wasn’t good!”

“My crew really made it easy for me — I just had to let go of the button and steer it – they really are the best! I am so fortunate to have amazing support from my sponsors, crew, family, friends and fans — thank you all!”

In another true testament to the track prep — this Grand Bend Labour Day feature did include multiple quickest and fastest runs ever on Canadian soil for participant Pro Mod drivers — including Ray Commisso (3.77 secs), Eric Latino (3.82 secs), Scott Wildgust (3.81 secs), Al Martorino (3.84 secs) and Jay Santos (3.85 secs).

Ralph Andreacchi’s newly acquired Camaro — with Ray Commisso at the helm — clocked it’s quickest time so far.

Top echelon Canadian talents Al Billes and Mark Savage had their influences on full display at the event as they helped to guide more career best numbers from multiple teams.

Toronto’s Mike Yedgarian, driving the turbocharged Speedwire-sponsored Firebird, also clocked in some very  quick runs (a 3.80 secs best).  Those came with some astounding top end terminal speeds – excess of 207 and 209 mph! — during pre-event testing.  But regrettably — Mike’s team was forced to end their event bid early, withdrawing from competition due to a family medical emergency.

Other event notables included the concluding round from a rained out first Pro Mod event attempt held in August that set up a highly anticipated match up between the spectacular (new of 2020) ’67 Ford Mustang Shelby GT cars raced by Jay Santos and Scott Wildgust. That showdown was held during the 2nd round of qualifying and it proved to be pretty epic — with Santos winning by a 3.860 secs 185.83 mph to 3.872 secs 191.69 mph margin — to lay claim as Canada’s “Boss Hoss” – at least temporarily!

Jay Santos beat Scott Wildgust to the stripe in an exciting rain deferred final round match held during qualifying.

Round one of eliminations did include the only rather serious incident of the event when Mike Everitt had some misfortune driving his very creative Canadian-built and pro-charged powered ’67 Nova. Mike and his father Ken (from Stratford) who had been rewarded with their best time ever with the new car (a very promising 4.09 secs), now do have to deal with some major right side damage which will necessitate the car to be taken back for evaluation at builder Lowdown Hot Rods. But most importantly — Mike, who is a truly   very skilled an up and coming talent — was not injured.

Canadian PM class leader Eric Latino – normally a 1/4 mile exclusive racer — qualified #2 at 3.828 secs — and advanced to the final round on Sunday.

Grand Bend Motorplex’s Labour Day Weekend event, despite being rained out on Saturday, did draw an impressive 350+ entries. The race included both a Top Dragster and Top Sportsman eliminator – with wins going to strong running local talents — Kevin Knight (TD) and Steve Corriveau (TS).

The TS winner was Steve Corriveau in his awesome Firebird.

Local “hitter” Kevin Knight showed the way in T/D class racing.

Other victories included — Hutch’s Transmission Top – Andrew Stirk, Concrete Solutions/Washington Pools Bike/Sled – John Minney, Fox’s Autosound Street ET – Shawn Hinds, Maple City Tire Mod – Brad Gibbs, Dowler Karn/Esso Fuels JR 13-17 – Shelby Almas, Western Overhead Door JR 7-12 – Austin Vermeulen, Rocksedge Extreme 32 – Andrew Stirk, GBM Jr Consi – Kiara Johnson, Tommy’s Motors Outlaw 330 – Avery Wildgust

Posted by Bruce Biegler
Photos by Bruce Biegler & Brennan Shortall

To view additional photos from this race link to our LMLCMedia event gallery: HERE