The passing of an entertainment legend reminds us of our past, our youth. We remember their acting, their songs, and perhaps the way they made us laugh.
When we lose a sports figure, the emotion is often the same. You feel sad when you lose a hero.
When someone in the sport of auto racing departs, the impact can go even deeper, because the sport attracts fans young and old, male and female. It’s a very wide demographic.
And when we lose a local racing hero, someone we also called a friend, Dad, husband, brother or sister, the emotions run higher still.
When DIRT Modified legend Brian Stevens of St. Catharines left us close to a month ago, losing his brave battle with cancer, plans to honour his memory were started almost immediately.
While the Niagara tracks Stevens competed at- Ransomville and Humberstone Speedways plan to salute his long career, his “home” track will stage an extra special signature event.
Next month, at Merrittville Speedway in Thorold, fans, friends and family of the two-time Modified track Champion and Wall of Famer, will gather to remember Brian with a very special Memorial Race.
It was at Merrittville, Canada’s oldest and longest operating clay oval, that Stevens reached legendary status.
On Monday May 18th, the 358 Modified feature will be a 44 lap Super Dirt Week Syracuse Qualifier, that will reward the winner a take-home purse of $4,444.44.
The number 4, 44 and even 444 were Brian’s car numbers.
“Throughout his career, Brian had great support from many racing-minded businesses and it’s wonderful to see many of them come together for this special night,” stated Merrittville Speedway General Manager Erica Bicknell-Jones. “He was also fortunate to have a dedicated crew and loyal fans who made one of our first fan clubs that worked together to keep Stevens Racing in contention every race,” Bicknell added.
Erica is right and it’s heart-warming to see.
Corporate Niagara and long-standing sponsors of Stevens have come through with support for his Memorial race at Merrittville.
York Electro-Plating, where Brian worked during the day heads the list. Hingston Metal Fabricators and Cosgrove Racing Engines, now owned by Tom Cosgrove, the son of former driver and Stevens friend and racing rival Ken Cosgrove have committed support.
Transport Sales and Service and the Slack Family, Rev’s Full Throttle Powersports, Gallagher’s Farm Market, long-time fan Dylan Wurfel, Bicknell Racing Products, Pete’s Automotive and Hoosier Tire Canada are also among the friends that have come forward with donations to bolster the nights’ purse.
“We are encouraging Niagara’s business community, race fans and especially those who knew Brian to join with us,” Bicknell-Jones continued. “It’s our goal to remember him with a spectacle and to reward competitors right through the starting field with bonus purse money!”
Those wishing to support the Brian Stevens Memorial should contact Merrittville’s Jim Irvine via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Speedway Office at 905-892-8266.
An event web site will launch soon where “Friends of Brian Stevens” will be posted and recognized as well.
Pit Gates will open at 4 PM May 18th, with the Grandstands opening at 5:30. Showtime is set for 7:00 PM.
For Flyin’ Brian.
-Event details and Erica Bicknell quotes provided by Merrittville Speedway and re-printed with permission.