Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Motoring marvels

Manitoba Motorsports Hall of Fame inducts three new members

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Since 2006, Piston Ring's annual World of Wheels car show has been the venue for the induction of three new members to the Manitoba Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Manitoba has a rich motorsports history filled with amazing men and women who have left an unforgettable impact on the local scene.

Inductees are recognized for their outstanding devotion and contributions to motorsports in Manitoba and come from the ranks of drag racing, oval track racing, motorcycling, fabrication, customizing, the automotive industry and the street rod and hot rod communities.

This year's inductees include a legendary local motorsports dealer with the need for speed, a skilled craftsmen who has re-upholstered hundreds of made-in-Manitoba show cars and a drag racer with a pair of world records in his rolling resume.

Special recognition should be given to Don Daley; his dedication to the history of Manitoba's rich motorsports history is a big reason why the Hall of Fame has been such a tremendous success.

2014 Manitoba Motorsport Hall of Fame Inductees

Ian Corbett

IAN Corbett's passion for motorsports, both as a hobby and a career, began to burn bright in the 1960s while working for his father at Corbett Motors, a Volkswagen dealership that was founded in Headingley and later moved near Polo Park.

In the early 1970s, the family sold the dealership and started Riteway Sports, selling snowmobiles. Corbett eventually went off on his own, starting Corbett Cycle City, a motorcycle and snowmobile dealership, in 1976.

Corbett has been involved in racing snowmobiles since 1965 and has a number of impressive wins on both the national and international circuits. In 1978, he was a member of the team that set a world endurance record for snowmobiles, travelling a staggering 1,958 kilometres in 24 hours. This achievement was recognized by Guiness World Records.

Corbett also participated in the 800-kilometre Winnipeg-to-Minneapolis snowmobile race more than a dozen times. He's a member of the Manitoba Snowmobile Association, the International Snowmobile Association and the Manitoba Snowmobile Racing Association.

In addition to his passion for snowmobiles, Corbett also enjoys cars and owns a vintage Datsun 240Z and a custom dune buggy built by Volkswagen. Corbett has recently purchased a vintage SnoJet snowmobile and intends to restore it.

John Scheel

JOHN Scheel's introduction to upholstery began in 1962 when he went to work for his uncle, who owned Turc's Upholstery. He worked at Turc's until 1965, when he took a job at King's Upholstery and worked for Alphonse, a man who taught him and many other local upholstery pros the tricks of the trade.

In 1969, he opened his own shop, Scheel's Custom Upholstery on Luxton Ave., and never looked back. He now operates his upholstery shop in Ladywood.

Scheel has upholstered many of the finest vehicles ever built in Manitoba. Some of his fantastic work can be found on Jim McNeil's '37 Ford, Gord Foreman's '37 Pontiac and Al Bodnarchuck's '32 Ford. One of Scheel's first award-winning interior jobs was on his own 1958 Pontiac. Painted metal-flake green with a white interior, this beautiful car won many trophies. He's also restored a number of 5-6-7 Chevrolet cars, a 1956 Oldsmobile, a yellow 1931 Model A Ford complete with flames, and a 1938 Nash.

During his 52-year career, Scheel estimates that he's upholstered more than 500 cars. He continues working today, upholstering a handful of vehicles each year and doing dealer warranty work for General Motors and Ford dealerships.

Scheel's other hobby is horses. He owns two at the moment and likes to ride them when time permits -- but he has no plans to retire anytime soon, so the horseback riding time is limited.

Reg Wood

REG Wood's interest in cars began at an early age -- his father owned a car dealership, auto-wrecking and farm-Implement businesses in Selkirk.

In the early '50s, he began working with his father after school and on weekends. He learned much of his mechanical skills from his father and spent much of his youth cleaning and fixing the farm implements that were traded in for resale. His father and uncle raced cars at Brooklyn Speedway, and Wood pitched in by hammering out the dents and painting the stock cars.

Wood obtained his driver's licence before the age of 16 -- his dad vouched that he was older than he really was. Back in the day, Wood always had the fastest car in Selkirk -- his custom 1940 Ford Coupe featured a 1948 Mercury flathead engine.

Going fast was in his blood, and in 1969 Wood formed the Manitoba Snowmobile Racing Association to ensure fairness in local snowmobile racing events. From 1970-1975, he successfully raced snowmobiles with the Polaris Factory Team.

Wood also worked with the National Hot Rod Association for 10 years as a tech director and attended NHRA training courses throughout the United States. He built his first race car in 1965, a 1934 Austin Bantam Altered that ran a six-cylinder fuel-injected engine, and won many races and car-show trophies with it, including Best of Show at Autorama 1967.

Wood later teamed up with local legend Al Bodnarchuck, racing Chevelles and Camaros and setting a pair world records in 1975 and 1976 at the world finals in Ontario, Calif. They also won the points leader trophy at Keystone, Bison and Gimili drag strips. He retired from racing in 1985.

One of Wood's major accomplishments was helping move the drag strip from Bison to Gimli, calling upon his engineering background to survey the land for the new track.

Wood has held various sales positions in the Winnipeg area since the 1980s and has been with the Murray Automotive Group since 1999. His hobbies include golfing, gardening and breeding tropical fish.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 28, 2014 F1

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