Craig Moore

Redemption, trophy for O’Connor

Lawrence O’Connor lifts modified main event trophy at Skagit Speedway.

It was as much redemption as exultation when Port Hardy driver Lawrence O’Connor hoisted the trophy following the modified main event at Skagit Speedway in Washington Aug. 30.

O’Connor, 55, has been racing his Harris modified car in the Western U.S. for years, but rarely has he suffered as bitter a loss as he had one night earlier, when Skagit hosted the World of Outlaw sprint car series — and the huge crowds that it draws — for the September Long Weekend.

O’Connor’s “home” track is Grays Harbour Speedway in Elma, Wash. But he joined the field of modified racers who competed as one of the classes supporting the World of Outlaw headliners at Skagit.

And things went very well for the North Islander in the early going of the Aug. 29 weekend opener.

“There were probably 8-10,000 people in the stands,” said O’Connor. “On Friday I started in the front row and led 19 1/2 laps of the 20-lap main.”

Over the course of the race, which was interrupted by six caution flags, O’Connor started on a high line to the outside but gradually drifted down low, toward the inside of the track. This helped cut off inside passing lanes to his challengers, but it also cost him valuable momentum.

“I got lower and lower (on the track), and slower and slower,” O’Connor said.

On the final turn of the race, veteran Washington driver Craig Moore, a former track champion, swung high around O’Connor and motored out of the turn to sweep first under the checkered flag. O’Connor held on for second place, but that was little consolation.

“Second (place) is OK if you’ve been running third all night,” he said. “It blows if you’re in first. I snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.”

O’Connor turned the tables emphatically the following night. Starting in the third row, he quickly charged to the front and, lesson learned, stayed high on the track and held the lead through the checkered flag.

After a day off Sunday, O’Connor and the World of Outlaw tour resumed the weekend of racing Sept. 1 at Gray’s Harbour. Back on familiar turf, O’Connor battled for most of the modified main event in second through fourth spot, and held the lead for five laps.

But moving high to the outside to make a pass late in the race, he ran over a piece of debris that slashed his rear tire and ended his night.

Back on the North Island, the stocks will be back in action this weekend as the Triport Speedway makes up for rain days missed earlier in the season. Racing starts at 7 p.m.

 

Just Posted

MLA Claire Trevena blasts Island Health for neglecting North Island villages, Island Health responds back with statement

MLA Claire Trevena wrote a critical letter about Island Health’s plans for Port Alice and Alert Bay.

Port Alice gets two RCMP officers stationed in the village

“The second Port Alice RCMP position has been filled”

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

New look and feel on the horizon for Gate House Theatre in Port McNeill

“We are hoping between now and then to do another fundraising campaign for acoustics”

North Island Bantam Eagles capture Tier Three banner with win over Powell River Kings

The Eagles next game is Jan. 19 against the Juan De Fuca Grizzlies at 4:00 p.m. in Port McNeill.

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

High court ruling allows long-term expats to vote in byelections across Canada

Supreme Court decision enfranchised an estimated one million or more Canadian expats to be able to vote

B.C. university students dumpster dive to shed light on food waste

Eating only from dumpsters, the students hope to raise money for food banks in Northern Canada

Missing B.C. boy and aunt found safe

The pair had been reported missing from Kamloops

Company issues lifetime ban after man jumps from cruise ship

Nick Naydev posted the video last week showing him standing on the balcony of the Symphony of the Seas

The debate over how to teach math in B.C.

Tutoring businesses growing with concerns

Unruly passenger forces B.C.-bound flight to divert to Calgary

Police say charges are pending against a woman in her 40s

Telegraph Cove Resort one of many venues to featured at Hitched wedding fair

Black Press Media’s annual Hitched Wedding and Events Affair is Sunday, Jan. 27, in Courtenay

Inflation rises as higher airfares, veggie prices offset cheaper gas

Statistics Canada says inflation accelerated to two per cent in December

Most Read