Story By: MATHIEU FORTIN / CORNWALL MOTOR SPEEDWAY – CORNWALL, ONT – Don’t let the results fool you.
As someone who had a front row seat to all the 2021 races at Cornwall Speedway, I can definitely say the points differential didn’t reflect the actual season.
There is a saying that says “It’s better to be lucky than good”. There should be another one that says “It’s better to be lucky AND good”. And when that becomes in the proverb dictionary, there should be a picture of Ryan Stabler next to it.
Am I saying Ryan Stabler shouldn’t have won the title last year? Of course not. He was so good, he definitely deserved it. What I am saying is that some drivers have seasons where everything that could go wrong does go wrong. And then, there are the once in a lifetime season where everything that could go right does go right. That’s what Ryan had last season in Cornwall. In a way, it was nice to see a driver of his calibre had such dominating performance, but I won’t lie in saying I didn’t had the same excitement about that championship as the other categories, as all Ryan had to do to clinch the title at the last race was to qualify for the race. So grateful our track had more championships to market the same day.
Now I hear some of you asking me. If this wasn’t an exciting title race, why am I writing about the 2022 title like this could be exciting? Because luck doesn’t usually stay on your side forever. I am sure our owner Ray Lavergne realized that every time he watched his beloved Montreal Canadiens this year, or at least before the coaching change…
Ok, so I hear you again. Am I saying Stabler won’t win the title this year? No, I am not saying this either. What I am saying is I doubt Ryan can cruise to the title with the same ease. I do believe he can repeat, but if he does, he will likely have to rely on talent alone, and hopes none of his opponents gets the luck he got last year.
And before I move on and talk about the contenders to the title, I want to point out 2 important factors that make me believe that this year’s title race will be more exciting than last year’s.
1. Some really good drivers who didn’t attempt all races last year told me they will race full time in Cornwall this upcoming season.
2. Some young drivers who showed potential last year will now have much more experience and therefore could now surprise their competitors and climb in the rankings.
In order to do the most accurate preview, I reached out to a few experts asking who they felt had a chance to win. I then combined that with the 2021 standings. After all was set and done, I felt there were so many drivers that could contend. In full disclosure, since it’s always hard to analyse how far new drivers can climb when entering a new series, it was decided to keep this between drivers who had already raced as a regular in Sportsman during a regular season. Therefore, drivers still racing in novice sportsman at the end of the season last year were not eligible to be featured here. I just felt it was unfair to them to put some expectations on them. This being said, some of them could always invite themselves in the championship race, and they would be more than welcome.
Before I go further, I want to mention I did reach out to more drivers but due to all kinds of reasons, not everyone answered. Some are really busy and I totally understand that they might not have the time to answer, and I still have the same respect for them nonetheless, as I understand that they have other things to do in their everyday life. In order to give you the real picture, I felt I needed to write that both Ryan Stabler and Cédric Gauvreau will be among the top contenders, and both of them told me they would eventually come back to me with answers, however since weeks passed, I wanted to go ahead and publish this article out of respect for the drivers who answered right away. Also out of transparency, I want to point out to fans of Jarrett Herbison that if he isn’t included, it is simply because he will make the move to the modified class next year, but that, had he came back in the Sportsman class, I would have included him in this article.
Now I am happy to present to you the drivers who came back to me and to feature them in this 2022 Cornwall Sportsman preview with their answers of the same 3 questions I asked them.
- What is your outlook of the 2022 Sportsman season in Cornwall?
- Why do you think you can win the championship?
- What was your best racing moment in Cornwall?
#94 Gabriel Cyr
1. I see this upcoming season as a big opportunity for our team to have a big season ahead. We’ve gotten our chassis updated to a 2022 along with new parts and a new shock program for 2022. A lot of new sponsors are coming on board with us and we’re really excited to get the season started
2. To be a champion you’ve gotta be really consistent for a whole season. Back in 2020 there weren’t any points involved because of covid until the final 5 races, but we were always in the top 3 or top 5 that season and missed the final Race for the Cure championship by 2 points after breaking a transmission on the final race. In 2021 we had a lot of bad luck at the draws and it hurt us a little bit but when we drew good we took advantage of those nights, winning twice and being able to finish in the top 5 the rest of the season to finish in the top 3 for the points, but this season to be a champion we just gotta stay consistent for a whole season and always try to be there contenting each and every week
3. I’d have to say it was our first win at our home track back in 2020 after 6 years of trying, it was an awesome feeling.
#35R William Racine
1. My WDM team and I will race the whole season at Cornwall in 2022.
2. Everything is possible but with the quality of regular drivers at Cornwall, it won’t be easy to win the championship.
3. My win last year was an important moment for me.
#41 Samuel Charland
1. I foresee my season with a lot of ambition, to fight for the championship. Last year we didn’t compete in the whole championship as it wasn’t my intention to come to Cornwall every Sunday, but the warm welcome I got from the Lavergne family and the track configuration made me want to go more often to get very good results. So it will be a big season for us where we will be present on each program at Cornwall.
2. I will come to win the championship, of course, but I know the task will be very difficult as the top 5 drivers in Sportsman, and even the top 10, are really strong. Last year, I made a name for myself, and I think with the results and the regularity that we had, it would give us the legitimacy to be a serious contender to the title.
3. My best moment is without a doubt my first win, I was so close to getting it on a few occasions before, so when I finally got the opportunity to win, I fully enjoyed it.
#88CD C.D. Beauchamp
1. Cornwall will stay our #1 priority, we had a tough learning year in the 2021 Sportsman championship, but consistency will be our focus for 2022.
2. Even though I would like to win the championship more than anything, I think a top 3 in the championship would be in itself a very big success for me and the team. With drivers like Stabler, Pecore, Gauvreau, Godard, Charland, the competition is strong.
3. In 2016, on July 31st, during the DirtCar Pro Stock race, my first Dirt win with our new car.
#85 Tyler Givogue
1. I think there will be a lot of cars this year, each year the Sportsman division has been growing. The Cornwall Motor Speedway has been doing a lot for the drivers and fans and they want great racing. I think the hard work they do is paying off because they have BIG car counts.
2. It’s fun when people are asked that question. We want to win the championship. It takes hard work all season. I have good equipment with a Bicknell chassis, great sponsorship with Embrun Auto Tech, Embrun Auto Value, Next Level Home Improvement. I have support from family and friends. I’ve been around racing for a long time and I understand that you have to finish races to win the championship. A little luck doesn’t hurt either!
3. The Race For The Cure races mean a lot to me. I love how all the fans and racers get together because each and everyone of us has had to deal with cancer in some form.
#0 Shane Pecore
1. I think the competition and the amount of cars that race on a weekly basis will be the highest it’s ever been. Cornwall has always been a place where there have been 8-10 teams who can win on any night or be championship level teams.
2. Our team knows how to get the job done! We have multiple championships, series championships, and wins under our belt. It takes a season-long commitment of hard work to be in contention at the end of the year. We are always looking for ways to improve our program and we are working hard to address some of our weaknesses we had in the past.
3. My greatest moment at Cornwall would probably be our record setting 2019 season. 9 wins, the track championship, the Race for the Cure championship, and the Heat championship.
#88J Justin Cyr
1. For me, I see that every driver will put on a good show to the fans, and be very competitive!
2. I think I can be a champion because of my dedication to my car and I work hard every single day and night. But most likely always be at the track and be in the top 5 every weekend.
3. My greatest moment in Cornwall was winning on the same night as my brother! I think that was very cool and amazing!
#35 Thomas Cook
1. I am excited to get back to racing this season. I am positive Cornwall will continue to put on a great season and hopefully put more fans in the stands.
2. We have been working hard on the car this offseason, and upgrading key components to help try and find some speed. Competition is getting increasingly tough, but we are getting prepared for hopefully our best season yet.
3. One I will never forget is getting my first career Sportsman win at Cornwall in 2014.
#3 Adam Rozon
1. We are expecting a lot of good results in 2022, with the break of nearly two years that we took, it gave us the opportunity to reflect on many things including the new technologies that top runners use. We bought the 2021 car of Shane Pecore, a car that has done about 8 races. Much newer than the 2014 that we had before.
2. Being able to win the championship!?😬😅. I think that to be able to win a championship in Cornwall, you need to work a lot…. have consistency week after week and of course, luck plays a very important role.
3. There’s a few wins that come to mind but one of the best moments I can remember is definitely our 3rd place in a 100 laps Race For The Cure where we started 12th. Racing against drivers like Pecore, Ferguson, Ladouceur for 100 laps and finishing 3rd was a big achievement for our small team, at the same time it was proving us that we were in the right direction to compete with them.