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Speedway adds three to Wall of Fame

A trio of men remembered as dedicated contributors to dirt track racing at Brighton Speedway were inducted to the Wall of Fame Saturday night. Family of Gord Langstaff to the left, Tim Whitehead and Jeff Waite on the right. – Rod Henderson photos

A trio remembered as dedicated contributors to dirt track racing at Brighton Speedway were inducted to the Wall of Fame Saturday night.

Fans and racers gathered in the courtyard for a walk down memory lane as Gord Langstaff and Jeff Waite were recognized in the driver division. Tim Whitehead was added in the builder category.

After hitting the dirt in the 1950s Langstaff or “Mr. Blue” brought his talents to the newly opened 1/3 mile Brighton oval in 1970 and would win his first 8 cylinder championship on the new dirt track.

“Gord was a well accomplished driver and much respected by his fellow racers as well,” said track owner Mark Rinaldi. “He was always in the mix and very competitive in the 8-cyliner class.”

The No. 4 was always a fans’ favourite and over the span of his career from 1970 to 1978, he scored 57 regular season wins.

Roger Walsh said it was Langstaff’s season-long battle with Doug Davis, the six-cylinder champion, for the Randy Fairman trophy for most checkered flags that is something to be remembered.

“Wins didn’t come easy,” Walsh wrote in the Brighton Speedway Memories Facebook group before the ceremony. “Back in the 70’s the top drivers had to start at the rear of the pack based on their position in the standings and there could be as many at 15 to 20 cars in a qualifying heat. Fans watched as throughout the season as Langstaff and Davis’ checkered flag totals climbed, until going into the final night of racing, they both had an astounding 24 wins each. Unfortunately, Langstaff would be plagued with mechanical issues on the final night and only managed a fifth-place finish in his qualifier, while Davis would pick up two more wins and secure the checkered flag championship.”

During his eight seasons at Brighton Speedway, Langstaff would win multiple individual awards, including most gentleman driver in 1972 and a second 8 cylinder championship in 1976, before retiring.

“Langstaff did this while racing against the very best 8-cylinder drivers of his day,” wrote Walsh.

He passed in September 2014 but Rinaldi said Langstaff’s memory lives on through his children and their families who some still attend Brighton Speedway and enjoy a night of dirt racing.

Waite was a two-time division champion and multiple individual award winner. He began his dirt career in the street stock division in 1984 and then moved up to super stock where he won his first track championship in 1989. After making the jump to Late Models, Waite secured a fourth place finish and the overall sportsman award. It only took Waite three seasons to clinch his first championship, the second of his career in 1993. Before he retired in 1998, Waite picked up 84 regular Saturday night wins.

Even when it wasn’t in victory lane, it was hard not to appreciate the No. 17, as it was a perennial favorite for best appearing car.

“Jeff’s cars always came to the speedway looking sharp even after a tough night the week before,” described Rinaldi. “It would be fixed and ready to go for the next week looking like new. Jeff was always a fans’ favourite and a friend of everyone he met at the speedway.

Rinaldi said Waite is always willing to promote dirt track racing at Brighton Speedway. You could find Waite’s car at different mall shows, parades and events at different tracks.

“Jeff was always willing to talk to anyone about racing and willing to help out,” Rinaldi continued. “He was one of those guys if you ever needed help at the track whether it was parts, tools or just advice, Jeff always took the time to help you…He is still today an ambassador of this sport.”

Whitehead was added to the wall as a builder for his countless contributions as an ambassador to the sport during his time as an employee at Brighton Speedway. Whitehead began working at the track at the age of 16 and owner Mark Rinaldi called him a valued asset to the success of Saturday nights throughout his various roles from pit director, flagman and scorer to maintenance, canteen worker and announcer.

“You name it, he’s done it,” said Rinaldi. “Tim grew up as part of the Rinaldi family.”

When Whitehead married wife his Brenda, she soon realized how important the speedway was too him and she too started working at the track along with their children. Rinaldi said Whitehead spent many years volunteering to help to promote the speedway at other tracks, mall events and parades.

“He would help wherever he was needed,” added Rinaldi. “He was the go-to guy and is still there to support us when he can today. Most of all as a friend to the Rinaldi family we are honoured to add Tim Whithead into the Brighton Wall of Fame.”

Following, a packed crowd was treated to a full racing card.

The ‘Fan Appreciation’ portion of the event allowed fans to get up close and personal with the drivers on the front stretch during intermission. Drivers brought their race cars onto the front straightaway, and hundreds of fans took advantage of the opportunity to get autographs, pictures, and various treats the drivers offered.

Hoggwerf and Larmet wheel vintage cars to checkers
At the drop of the green flag No. 27 Sheldon Hoggwerf took the top spot and led the entire Ontario Vintage Stock Car Club 20-lap event. He used the top groove to protect his advantage in his souped-up Ford Pinto. As lap traffic slowed the pace and No. 01 Brandon Gregory closed in, it didn’t stop Hoogwerf from his mission of waiving the checkered flag in the 70s-80s division. Gregory earned second, No. 53 Jason Powers third, No. 28 Pete Shapper fourth and No. 75 Kenny Polite fifth. No. 601 Jeff Larmet earned first place in the 50s-60s category, No. 20 Tim Colmen was second, No. 12 Tim Charland third, No. 42 Patrick Charland fourth and No. 19 Shane Billings fifth.

No. 57 Charlie Sanderock muscled his way to the front from his 9th starting position during the Vanderlaan Building Products Ltd. Late Model Feature race at Brighton Speedway last Saturday.

Sandercock scores six
Vanderlaan Building Supplies Late Model No. 5 Steve Baldwin took off from his pole position at the drop of the green flag and looked like he was well on his way to capturing his first checkered flag of the season as he dominated the majority of the 35-lap Hotch’s Auto Parts Triple Crown Race 2. No. 46 Brandon Mowat and No. 29 Phil Potts worked hard to catch Baldwin as No. 57 Charlie Sanderock muscled his way to the front from his 9th starting position. Lapped traffic eventually slowed the pace as Baldwin found himself sandwiched between No. 77 Caley Weese and Sanderock. Weese held her line up top forcing the leaders to stay high or go low. With seven laps to go, Sanderock made the decision to drop to the inside and passed Baldwin for the lead. Sandercock sailed to victory lane scoring his sixth win of the season, leaving Baldwin to settle for second. Potts took third, Mowat fourth and No. 7 Adam Nayler fifth.

Hennessy a high-side hero
It only took No. 1 Shawn Gregory one trip around before he pounced on the lead in the Bainer’s OilGARD Canadian Modified 25-lap main event. Gregory took off on the outside as No. 87 Andrew Hennessy worked his way through the field. A caution on the 11th lap reset the field. Gregory opted for the high-side but on the restart Hennessy hit the gas and punched it to the outside ahead of Gregory and No. 39 Jonah Mutton followed suit settling into second. Hennessy was hooked up as he flew to checkers with Mutton in second, Gregory third, No. 12 Adam Whaley fourth and No. 14 Brandt Graham fifth.

Reid rides to victory
Arguably the best race of the night happened in just one lap, the last lap of the Brighton Automotive Thunder Stock 20-lap feature event. No. 2 Leslie Turcotte Mowat led over half of the race as No. 72 Doug Anderson used the tacky high-side to maneuver his way up to second from his 14th starting position. On the 13th time by, Anderson slid into the lead as No. 85 Austin Reid moved into second from his 22nd starting spot. Anderson and Reid went wire to wire until a caution on the last lap brought the race to a grinding halt. In a one lap shootout to the finish, Anderson drove hard on the inside with Reid up high. Reid put the hammer down and crossed the finish line a fraction of a second ahead of Anderson. No. 17 Jeff Humphry took third, No. 53 Wade Purchase fourth and No. 03 Justin Ramsay fifth.

Bailey and Severn secure second wins
No. 44 Tommy Bailey earned his second win of the season in the Bill’s John’s Comp 4 15-lap event. Bailey started 7th and on the second time by he jumped into the lead and never relinquished the point. No. 11 Adam Flieler took home second, No. 43 Devon Kippen, No. 13 Joel Dempster and No. 1 Brock Gregory was fifth. In the mini-stock division No. 12 Caleb Severn also earned his second checkered flag of 2019, No. 14m Matthew Moore was second and No. 7 Anthony Rinaldi third.

The ever-popular Gord’s Water Vantastics treated race fans to a thrilling show at Brighton Speedway that saw No. 47 Ian Pennings and his brave passenger Allie Kerr dominate the 12-lap feature.

Pennings parks it
The ever-popular Gord’s Water Vantastics treated race fans to a thrilling show that saw No. 47 Ian Pennings and his brave passenger Allie Kerr dominate the 12-lap feature. Pennings took the lead from No. 121 Hunter Triemstra on lap 7 and never looked back, which was probably a good thing as No. 69 Christian Graham took his passenger Austin Bush on a wild ride off in the distance. Fans howled in delight as the 69 minivan went up on two wheels several times. Pennings went on to victory lane with Triemstra in runner-up, No. 01 Shawn LeClair third, No. 12. Rod finished fourth and Graham fifth.

June 20th Top 5 Race Results
Eastern Ontario Vintage Stock Car Club
1st. No. 601 Jeff Larmet, 2nd. No. 20 Tim Colmen, 3rd. No. 12 Tim Charland, 4th. No. 42 Patrick Charland, 5th. No. 19 Shane Billings

Vanderlaan Building Products Late Model Division
1st. No. 57 Charlie Sandercock; 2nd. No. 5 Steve Baldwin; 3rd. No. 29 Phil Potts; 4th. No. 46 Brandon Mowat; 5th. No. 7 Adam Nayler

Bainer’s OilGARD Anti Rust Canadian Modified Division
1st. No. 87 Andrew Hennessy; 2nd. No. 39 Jonah Mutton; 3rd.No. 1 Shawn Gregory; 4th. No. 12 Adam Whaley; 5th. No. 14 Brandt Graham

Brighton Automotive Thunder Stock Division
1st. No. 85 Austin Reid; 2nd No. 72 Doug Anderson; 3rd. No. 17 Jeff Humphry; 4th. No. 53 Wade Purchase; 5th. No. 03 Justin Ramsay

Bill’s Johns Comp 4 Division
1st. No. 44 Tommy Bailey; 2nd. No. 11 Adam Flieler; 3rd. No. 43 Devon Kippen; 4th. No. 13 Joel Dempster; 5th. No. 1 Brock Gregory

Bill’s Johns Mini Stock Division
1st. No. 12 Caleb Severin; 2nd. No. 14 Matthew Moore; 3rd. No. 7 Anthony Rinaldi


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