Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Motorsport marvels

Hall of Fame inducts three new members

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Since 2006, three new members of the Manitoba Motorsports Hall of Fame are inducted every year when Piston Ring's World of Wheels car show hits town.

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.

I am honoured to be a member of the hall's selection committee, along with Don Daley, Ron Lechman, Bob Chubala and Tom Williams.

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.

Here are this year's inductees:

 

Russ Martin

Russ Martin has been involved in motorsports in Manitoba for more than 50 years. He purchased City Radiator in 1963, moving it from Fort Street to Notre Dame Avenue and then to the company's current location on Princess Avenue.

Martin's infinite knowledge of radiators and gas tanks for antique, classic and special-interest cars and race cars is undisputed. He's a proud member of the Auto Trades Association of Manitoba and former president of the National Radiator Association.

Martin was also a member of the legendary Clutchers Car Club and currently owns a 1967 Ford convertible and a 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle that was purchased new by his father. Martin is also treasurer of the Manitoba "Motorcycle Patrol", a group of veteran riders who participate in parades each year and raise money for local charities, including Riding for the Disabled.

 

Brian Wheatley

Brian Wheatley has been involved in motorsports in Manitoba for more than 45 years. He began his career at Birchwood Motors in 1967, the same year he became involved in drag racing. Wheatley is the former owner of Woody's Performance Centre and had a 25-year career with Air Canada.

Wheatley also owns and operates BGW Cylinder Heads and Carbs, a successful local business that he's cultivated in his spare time. Many Manitoba automobile hobbyists and racers have benefitted from Wheatley's engine and carburetor expertise. He's a member of the Drag Racers Association of Fargo and was a member of Winnipeg's famed Timers Car Club.

In addition to his legendary mechanical skills, Wheatley is also a champion drag racer who has competed in both Canada and the United States. His rolling resume of race cars includes a '67 Camaro, a '73 Vega and a dragster. Wheatley is also a seasoned automobile restorer who is quick to help his many friends in the hobby.

 

Lou Kennedy

Lou Kennedy has made the family name legendary in stock car and sprint car circles throughout Canada and the United States. With more than 350 feature-race victories to his credit, no Canadian has won more competitions than Kennedy, who began racing in 1959 behind the wheel of a Corvette. He later graduated to a 1940 Ford stock car before ultimately finding his calling as a modified sprint car driver.

Kennedy began his career racing at Winnipeg's Brooklands Speedway and later at Winnipeg Speedway (now Red River Co-op Speedway), and has raced at tracks throughout North America. Kennedy retired from driving in 1986 but has continued in the sport as a crew member, mechanic and fabricator for his children and grandchildren, including his son, Lou Kennedy Jr., a two-time national champion and three-time Alberta champion.

Kennedy credits Ken Murray and Miller Racing for helping him build some great engines over the years. His family has also owned and operated Kennedy Flooring for many years.

 

Past inductees of the Manitoba Motorsports Hall of Fame are Brian "Softy" Buchan, "Hot Rod" Liz Kitzul, John Dyck, Al Bodnarchuk, Albert "Al" Ducharme, Ken Murray, John Tennant, Bill Balicky, Peter Ginakes, Jack Mavins, George Chapman, Kenny Lang and Denis Verrier.

Special thanks goes out to Klaus Lahr of the Winnipeg Convention Centre for allowing the Manitoba Motorsports Hall of Fame to prominently display a permanent trophy for thousands to view annually.

Best of Show and

Lechman Award

(Sponsored by: Rondex Ltd.)

Reinhard Wilzer, Winnipeg -- 1956 Chevrolet Belair

 

Maple Leaf Award

(Sponsored by: Space Age Kal Tire, Steinbach)

Paul Leidner, Burnsville, Minn. -- 1957 Chevrolet convertible

 

Mayors Choice

Dick Wilford, St. Andrews -- 1951 Chevrolet Custom

 

Kids Choice

Kirby and Marie Fontaine, Sakeeng First Nations -- 1976 Pontiac Ventura

 

Master Builder Award

Dan Jefkins, Winnipeg -- 1963 Pontiac Lemans

 

Best Bike

Hardy Reiger, Winnipeg -- 1974 Norton Commando

 

Best Restored

Dennis and Byrdi Naaz, Mandan, N.D. -- 1969 Chevrolet Biscayne

 

Best Rod

Bruce Tschida, Lakeville, Minn. -- 1932 Ford 3 Window coupe

 

Best Street Machine Comp.

Kenny Lang, Grande Point -- 1969 Pro-Mod Chevrolet Camaro

 

Best Truck

David Dykun, Gilbert Plains -- 1955 Chevrolet 1300

 

Best Custom

Dick Wilford, St. Andrews -- 1951 Chevrolet Custom

 

Outstanding Detail

Reinhard Wilzer, Winnipeg -- 1956 Chevrolet Belair

 

Outstanding Paint

Dave Lindsey, Calgary Alberta -- 1969 Dodge Charger

 

Outstanding Paint

Paul Leidner, Burnsville, Minn. -- 1957 Chevrolet convertible

 

Muscle Car Cafe -- Best

Sponsored by: Showtime Customs

Vic Robinson -- 1967 Hemi GTX

 

Cruise Night Challenge- Cruiser of the Year

Sponsored by: Willy's Garage

Don Yewish, Winnipeg -- 1978 Chevrolet Pro Street Malibu

 

Gene Winfield Award

Dick Wilford, St. Andrews -- 1951 Chevrolet Custom

 

Randy Reyher Memorial, Participants Choice Award

Pat Kaniuga, St. Andrews -- 1971 Cuda convertible

 

Club Display

(Sponsored by: Trader Corp.)

First place: Drag Racing Association of Manitoba

Second place: Manitoba Camaro Club

Third place: Corvette Club of Manitoba

 

Rising Star Award- (25 years of age or younger)

Ricky Weiss, Headingley -- 2008 Victory Circle Race Car

 

CASI Cup Award. (Championship Auto Shows Inc.)

Duane Evans St.Andrews -- 1941 Willys Coupe

 

F.R.E.S.H. Female Road Enthusiasts Honour

(Sponsored by: CC Customs)

Deborah Evans 1930 Ford Model A

 

Manitoba's Finest 5

(Sponsored by: Total Performance)

Gauthier Auto Group-1955 Chevrolet Belair

Duane Evans -- 1941 Willys coupe

David Dykun -- 1955 Chevrolet 1300 pickup

Don Yewish -- 1978 Chevrolet Malibu

Vic Robinson -- 1967 Plymouth GTX

 

Outstanding Manitoba General Motors

(Sponsored by: Gauthier Auto Group)

Dick Wilford -- 1951 Chevrolet Custom

 

Outstanding Manitoba Mopar

(Sponsored by: Gauthier Auto Group)

Pat Kanuiga -- 1971 Plymouth CUDA Convertible

 

Outstanding Manitoba Ford

(Sponsored by: Gauthier Auto Group)

Lorne Kines -- 1932 Ford Deuce Roadster

 

Julie Verrier Memorial Companion Award

Susan Litwin

 

Miss World of Wheels 2011

(Sponsored by Alive Nightclub)

Breanna Stashko

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 8, 2011 F10

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