GRAND BEND, Ont. - Both big rigs and race trucks put the pedal to the metal on the quarter-mile drag strip at the Grand Bend Motorplex, vying for the fastest time at the Earl Hardy Big Rig Nationals S...
UP IN SMOKE: A racing competitor heaves forward during a time trial at the Earl Hardy Big Rig Nationals in Grand Bend, Ont. Photo by Adam Ledlow
SUPER-SIZED SHOW: The Show and Shine event enjoyed its highest number of entrants ever with an estimated 65 trucks taking part. Photo by Adam Ledlow
COMMITTED CROWDS: Poor weather forecasts leading up to the event couldn’t keep this crowd away, though numbers were down from last year according to organizers.Photo by Adam Ledlow
AND THEY’RE OFF…: A pair of big rigs hurtle down the quarter-mile strip at top speed during the day-long race. Crowd favourite Gord Cooper’s “Smokin’ Gun” was the fastest rig of the day, clocking 110 mph on his best run. Photo by Adam Ledlow
START YOUR ENGINES: A starter at the Grand Bend Motorplex looks on as drivers ready themselves for racing action.
Photo by Adam Ledlow
GRAND BEND, Ont. – Both big rigs and race trucks put the pedal to the metal on the quarter-mile drag strip at the Grand Bend Motorplex, vying for the fastest time at the Earl Hardy Big Rig Nationals Sept. 8.
The total number of racers at the annual event was up from last year, with “Big Rig” as the single largest class with 36 entrants.
The show’s fastest truck was a Chevy S-10 in the Race Truck category, which clocked an astounding nine-second finish and reached speeds of 140 mph. The quickest big rig at the show was unquestionably the Gord Cooper’s “Smokin’ Gun” which ran a 12.27-second time with a top speed of 110 mph.
Cooper and his 1968 Kenworth recently captured the Diesel Drag Racing Association’s North American speed record for Pro-Rigs (For the full story, see p. 33).
According to organizer, Ron Biekx, Cooper was on pace to reset the record on this pass, but wind shear at the top end of the track forced him to lift off the throttle early.
“It was actually a little spooky to watch a truck that size rocking back and forth like that at over 100 mph,” Biekx said. “I’m glad he lifted, because I don’t think there’s a guardrail anywhere that was designed to handle a truck like that giving it a good punch at 120 mph.”
The winners in the race class of each category included: Gord Kennedy, Big Rig; Dave Denning, Tuff Truck; Doug McKellar, Race Truck; and John Doornbosch, Racer Truck. The event included a Show and Shine competition, with organizers estimating as many as 65 trucks taking part. For the first time since the show began, there was a two-way tie for Best of Show between: Sean Bowker of Sunrise Equipment’s Peterbilt and Doug and Kim Fisher’s 2007 Pete known as ‘The Gambler.’
Other winners included: Legacy Express, Best Fleet; Doug and Kim Fisher, Wildest Custom; Sean Bowker, Best Interior; A/C Hunter, Best ‘D’ Truck and Best Sterling; Dave Cowan, Best Truck/Trailer; Barry Petteplace, Best Vintage and Best Mack; Kevin Holborn, Best Hardy Truck; Dale Horst, Best Day Cab; Paul Hatchley, Bad Ass Truck; Les Thompson, Best Western Star; Dan Hathaway, Best Peterbilt; Dan Miskie, Best Kenworth; Dave Badgegrow, Best Freightliner; and John Cawston, Best Volvo.
The spectator count was down slightly from last year, thanks in part to “Internet weather doomsdayers,” according to Biekx, though he says he was still pleased with the turnout.
“Earl Hardy and the folks from Team Truck Centres were happy with the event, weather forecasts considered, and are looking forward to next year,” Biekx said. He added that organizers are already planning improvements for next year’s show, including a possible dance party, bonfire and corn roast to enhance the “weekend event” feeling.