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AgriFair Fairgrounds

 

Greetings from Abbotsford, British Columbia

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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AgriFair Fairgrounds

Asphalt figure 8

 Lifetime Track #2,475

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AgriFair Fairgrounds

Asphalt oval

 Lifetime Track #2,476

 

 

The EventVideo PlusPhotos

 

 

THE EVENT

I am a “trackchaser”. So, what the heck is that? I get that question from racing and non-racing people all the time. This is a difficult question to answer. Why? Because after I do my best to respond people still say, “I’ve never heard of such a thing”!

 

 

Here’s my best explanation.

 

 

Trackchasing is a three-pronged hobby. I’m a racing fan. I love to travel. I love to analyze opportunities to get the most out of everything while saving time and money.

 

 

Trackchasing fills the need for all of the above. The racing part of my trackchasing has me trying to see wheel to wheel auto racing at as many different racetracks as I can all over the world. Yes, all over the world. So far things are going pretty well. I’ve seen racing at nearly 2,500 tracks in 80 countries. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen racing at more tracks than anyone else in the world.

 

 

Equally important to me are the things I get to see and experience over the “long and dusty trackchasing trail”. I call these adventures “Trackchasing Tourist Attractions”. You won’t want to miss my “Trackchasing Tourist Attractions” page. Here’s the link:  Trackchasing Tourist Attractions or my “Sports Spectating Resume” page, Sports Spectating Resume on my website at www.randylewis.org.

 

 

I live in southern California. Most of the racetracks in the U.S. are located well over 1,000 miles from where I live. As a matter of fact, my average trip covers 5,000 miles and more. I take 35-40 of those trips each season. In any given year I will travel well over 200,000 miles, rent more than 50 cars, and stay in more than 150 hotel rooms.

 

 

I get the chance to meet people all over the world. With trips to 80 countries and counting just getting the chance to experience so many other cultures, spend times in their homes and meet their friends is a huge reward for being in this hobby. I am indebted to several of these folks for their help and friendship.

 

 

It’s takes a good deal of planning to do the above and not spend my entire retirement portfolio. I enjoy the challenge, the travel and every other aspect of “trackchasing”. In reality, my trackchasing hobby is a lot like being with the carnival. I breeze into town, stay a little while and then head on down the road.

 

 

Today’s adventure was one more of the 2,000 trips that have taken me up, down and around the proverbial long and dusty trackchasing trail.  If you would like to see where I’ve been and experience those adventures here’s the link:

 

 

Randy’s Complete Track List

 

 

If you’ve got a question, comment or whatever please leave it at the bottom of this report.  It’s very easy to do.  Or you can visit me on Facebook.  Thanks!

 

 

Randy on Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

FOREWORD

 

 

Saturday, August 4, 2018.

 

 

I woke up this morning in a Walmart parking lot near the Minneapolis – Saint Paul International Airport. I had seen a race last night at a rural county fair about an hour outside of the Twin Cities. 

 

 

I only sleep in my car or in an airport when there isn’t enough time to get a hotel. Last night I got into the airport area at about 11 p.m. I needed to be at the airport by no later than 5 a.m. It didn’t seem to me that getting hotel would make good sense for the short time I might be there.

 

 

This morning I was flying on Sun Country Airlines. They are a discount airline like Spirit Airlines. They charge for everything including checked bags.

 

 

I grew up in a travel era where there was no charge for checked bags. Even if there had been my company would’ve picked up the tab. Since I’ve been retired most of my flights have been on a standby basis. They don’t charge for bags. Even though I’ve flown on about 7,000 flights in my time I have probably have only paid for bags 10 or 20 times. I just don’t like the idea! 

 

 

Discount airlines allow you to carry on one very small bag at no charge. I’m talking small! Normally the dimensions are something like 18” x 14” x 9”. 

 

 

Carol and I are members of Costco. I love Costco. As a matter fact, I sold the first order of the major brand Oil of Olay into Costco. Olay is now a $1 billion plus brand at Procter & Gamble. Costco is P&G’s second largest customer. I’m pretty proud of that Oil of Olay sale.

 

 

I have used Costco’s Kirkland brand rolling luggage for well over 20 years. I love it and it’s a great value at about $100 a bag.

 

 

 

Costco just come out with a new “mini “rolling travel bag. It’s called the “High Sierra Underseat Tote”. As far as I can tell it is only sold online at Costco. It’s not even offered at Costco in Canada. The bag meets the measurements of discount airlines in order to qualify as a carryon piece. It fits easily under the seat in front of you. It’s a high-quality bag and for some ungodly reason Costco is only charging $29.99 for it. That’s less than the discount airlines charges you to check one bag on one flight!

 

 

This bag comes in two colors, black and gray. I purchased one in gray, which is almost black! I bought it specifically for this Sun Country Airlines trip today. It worked perfectly. By the way, I bought one for Carol too!

 

 

I did pay an extra six bucks for a reserved seat today. I almost never do that because the charges can range from $15-$25 to reserve a seat on these discount airlines. I thought that was six dollars well spent.

 

 

My Sun Country flight would take me from Minneapolis to Seattle. There I had to quickly pick up a rental car and head north of the border to Abbotsford, British Columbia.

 

 

I needed a good comfortable riding car that would get decent mileage as well. I chose a Chrysler 300 from the executive section at National Car Rental. I would be driving about 30 hours round-trip or somewhere around 3000 kilometers. The Chrysler 300 be perfect for that.

 

 

I am the beneficiary of the knowledge discovered and shared by the Randy Lewis Racing Research Department. The fine folks from RLRRD tell me where I’m going to go each weekend on the long and dusty trackchasing trail.

 

 

The Randy Lewis Racing Research Department gets tips from people all over the world. I’ve got people helping me in virtually every one of the 80 countries I have visited. With a resource like that there’s no wonder I can hold onto the title of World’s #1 Trackchaser. I thank each and every one of those folks and value their friendships.

 

 

A couple of years ago I discovered the folks who promote the demolition derby and figure 8 races for the AgriFair up in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Ross Edwards and his son Sean are the leaders of this group. Their company is called Northernlights Motorsports.

 

 

Their website provides this info:  “Northern Lights Motorsports Group was founded back in 2001 and is a family-run organization promoting Demolition Derby events in BC.

 

 

Partnered with Chances Casino Abbotsford and Capt’n Crunch Recycling, Northern Lights Motorsports Group puts on the largest demolition derby event in BC annually at the Agrifair in Abbotsford, BC.”

 

 

For the past couple of years, I’ve been calling Ross to try to find out the race dates for their demolition derby. A couple of months ago I had a very long conversation with Sean. He gave me the background on their promotional group. Then just a couple days ago I got in touch with Ross. We had our first long conversation.

 

 

I told Ross what my travel plan was for getting up to Abbotsford. It was going to be tight but I thought I could get there for the 12 p.m. Saturday afternoon starting time. Ross gave me street by street directions just as if I were listening to my Waze GPS program. I wouldn’t have any time to waste. If my flight was on time and it didn’t take too long to get a rental car and cross the Canadian border I could make it. Yes, there were some “ifs” in there.

 

 

Ross and his group run five demolition derby/figure 8 racing programs, at just this one fair, beginning on Friday night and concluding on Sunday night. They’ll do one show on Friday, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. That gave me a lot to choose from.

 

 

However, there was only one of the five programs that would give me maximum trackchasing production. That would happen on Saturday at noon. Not only were they having their traditional demolition derby and figure 8 races but they were having a special race.

 

 

During the Saturday noon program they were having a special VIP race to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This would be a special 10-lap race for six cars run on an oval track configuration. Wow! In one afternoon I could see racing on a figure 8 track AND an oval. Folks, that’s a trackchasing double. What a find by the Randy Lewis Racing Research Department.

 

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Abbotsford Agrifair – Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

The directions Ross gave me were perfect. I showed up in the pit area with the National Car Rental
Racing Chrysler 300. I parked it amidst all of the well-used up demolition derby cars. I was given a free pass. One of Ross’ helpers followed me to a parking lot about three blocks from the fair. There they gave me a shuttle ride back to the pit area. I was all set up.

 

 

Ross might be the Earl Baltes of Canadian race promoters. He had a lot of stuff going on today to entertain the fans.

 

 

They began the show 30 minutes earlier than the racing program with a freestyle motocross exhibition. There were three riders. They did some spectacular jumps off some very high ramps. That was most entertaining and something I hadn’t seen since being in Australia last winter.

 

 

Promptly at 12 noon, first the United States and then the Canadian national anthems were sung by Ross’ granddaughter. She did a great job. Then two heats of minivans came out and raced on the flat asphalt parking lot, using a figure 8 configuration. The arena is called the Motorsports Arena at the Agrifair in Abbotsford, BC. This racing was absolutely wild with lots of crashing and banging and pretty high speeds given the venue.

 

 

The next “event” on the schedule was something in all of my trackchasing travels that I had never seen before. They had about a dozen kids all dressed up in Ghostbusters like white uniforms. These kids were going to be part of a painting contest. Four of the figure 8 minivans were lined up on the track. The kids had access to several buckets of colored paint. They went to work making their own designs on the vans with paint sprayers and rubber gloves. The crowd loved it.

 

 

The painting contest was followed by the oval track race for VIPs. Each of these folks and their organizations had contributed generously to the Make-A-Wish Cancer Foundation. They were all interviewed before the race began.

 

 

This was a very competitive 10-lap race on a completely flat asphalt temporary oval track. Don’t miss the video on this one. There were lots of spins and contact. These guys really went for it.

 

 

As you can see from reading my description there was a lot going on with the motorsports program today. Next up was a rollover about. They brought out a huge metal ramp.

 

 

And then, almost before I could get my camera ready to record it, a demo car with a minivan pushing him at about 40 miles an hour came into the arena. The demo car sailed over the ramp and did a series of end over end flips. It took a few moments to get the shaken driver out of the car. The crowd applauded in appreciation of the entertainment this young man had provided.

 

 

At this point I already had two trackchasing countable tracks in the books. The rollover contest was followed by three figure 8 heat races for the mini cars. They had just as much action in their races as the minivans did.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

 

 

The day’s race schedule had been printed on a whiteboard in the pit area. I noticed they moved things around just a little bit but everything on the schedule happened today. With just the demolition derby event for six or seven cars to go I decided to explore the fair. There was a carnival area as well as several huge livestock barns. I took it all in.

 

 

It had been an entertaining afternoon on what was called, “Day 2 – Show # 2”. I saw everyone getting ready in the pit area for “Day 2 – Show # 3”, which was to begin at 4:30 p.m. Doing five shows over the space of about 48 hours is an ambitious project for both a promoter and the drivers. Because I received a complimentary pass I don’t have any idea what fans paid to watch today. Whatever it was they got their money’s worth in entertainment. The fans sat in comfortable 10-row high grandstands. They also had the option of watching everything from a nicely terraced grass hillside.

 

 

At this point it was time for me to depart. I needed to make a thirteen-hour drive up to Taylor, British Columbia. Taylor is home to the Taylor Speedway. It’s one of the most northern tracks that I will visit in the entire world.

 

 

While I was traveling I made a reservation for a hotel tonight up in Williams Lake, BC. The Slumber Lodge in Williams Lake could be had for only $49 Canadian +16% tax. It was the least expensive hotel in town and would provide the basic accommodation that I needed for the evening. Off I went.

 

 

It would take me about five hours to get up to Williams Lake. That worked well with the rest of the trip. I would “only” have a seven-hour to the racetrack tomorrow. With Taylor Speedway’s starting time being 7 p.m. tomorrow that was a perfect driving travel plan.

 

 

However, as I have come to find out over my many years of doing this not every perfect travel plan ends up being perfect. I pulled into Cache Creek, British Columbia and stopped at an A&W for a breakfast sandwich. A&W really does a good job with that breakfast sandwich served on an English muffin. It’s definitely better than McDonald’s. 

 

 

Just as I was wiping the smile and melted cheese off of my face as I departed the A&W parking lot I noticed what appeared to be a road blockage. Yes, that was exactly what it was. I pulled into the back of a line of about 10 cars. They were all stopped on the two-lane road headed north on Highway 97.

 

 

I would soon learn, from a Tom Poston like character, that the road ahead was blocked by a mudslide. This highway worker was the most laid-back guy I’ve ever met. I think if a nuclear bomb was announced to be hitting the area in the next five minutes he would have looked up to the sky and simply said, “Have a nice day”.

 

 

The highway worker had no information on when the road would be reopening. He told me, “I’m just a mushroom. They don’t tell me anything.”

 

 

By now the line of ten cars had grown to well over fifty. The highway worker would speak with the car’s occupants at the head of the line for as much as five minutes per conversation. Then that driver would slowly make a U-turn and head off from the direction he had come from. The worker seemed to have no concern whatsoever that he was communicating with one person for five minutes but there were more than 50 people waiting in line trying to get some word.

 

 

I pulled off to the side of the road. The worker had told me I could go “the long way”. That route would take me 2-3 hours out of my way. I wouldn’t get to tonight’s hotel until well after midnight. I figured rather than do that I would wait it out for the unknown time when the road might open.

 

 

I waited for two hours. The I called the Slumber Lodge. The guy from the Slumber Lodge was just about as laid-back as the highway worker. He allowed me to cancel my reservation. We agreed that if the road opened soon I would give him a call back to re-reserve my room.

 

 

I gave Carol a call. She was concerned about my well-being at this stage. She recommended I get a hotel right here in Cache Creek. She always has lots of suggestions. Some are better than others.

 

 

For the past two hours I had been staring, from a distance of only 100 yards, at the Bear Claw Lodge in Cache Creek. What the heck. I gave them a call. I was shocked with the information I received.

 

 

I figured that with all of the people in line for the road stoppage that surely some of them would have gone over to this hotel and grabbed a room for the night. In point of fact, the Bear Claw Lodge still had three rooms remaining. However, as the young woman told me these were the most expensive rooms they had to rent.

 

 

The least expensive of those three rooms was a family room for $86. Because I am trained to do this, I immediately told her that was more than I wanted to spend. I told her I was looking to spend $50 per night. She couldn’t go that low she told me. She could offer me the room for $69 Canadian. I jumped on that.

 

 

The Bear Claw Lodge was one of the most beautiful little log cabin style architectural motifs I’ve seen in a long time. In the right place in the U.S. this hotel would have been charging $150 and up for their rooms. For me, $69 Canadian would be only about $53 in U.S. currency. I was paying 50 bucks for this great little place that I should’ve rented two hours ago!

 

 

Check in was easy. I was given room number three. This room had a bunkbed and a nice queen bed. Don’t miss the pictures from this property. It was really cool. There was just one minor problem with having made this reservation at this point.

 

 

Just five minutes after I had been inside my room I heard the noise of traffic. The entire line of stopped cars was now proceeding northward across the pass! That’s right. They re-opened the road only five minutes after I decided to rent a room for tonight in Cache Creek.

 

 

What did this mean for the logistical part of the trip? Now I would have to drive nine hours tomorrow to get to the Taylor Speedway rather than seven. Seven had seemed like plenty to me. Now nine sounded like more.

 

 

However, I would be able to get a complete night’s rest this evening. I could only hope that the road wouldn’t be closed again for any reason when I woke up tomorrow morning.

 

 

 

Good afternoon from Abbotsford, British Columbia.

 

 

Randy Lewis – 80 countries – 2,476 tracks.

 

 

 

 

British Columbia

 

 

The Beautiful British Columbia province

This afternoon I saw racing at my 17thand 18th lifetime tracks in the Beautiful British Columbia province, yes the Beautiful British Columbia province.  I hold the #1 trackchasing ranking in British Columbia.  I’ve seen 18 or more tracks in three Canadian provinces.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

World’s #1 Trackchaser

Peoria Old Timers Racing Club (P.O.R.C.) Hall of Fame Member

 

British Columbia sayings:  Whale’s Tail: a dessert made of fried dough, usually topped with lemon juice and cinnamon sugar; also called Beaver Tail and Elephant Ear

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS 

The threemost important trackchasing comparisons to me are:

 

Total lifetime tracks seen

Total “trackchasing countries” seen

Lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

 

Total Lifetime Tracks

There are no trackchasers currently within 655 tracks of my lifetime total.  Don’t blame me.

 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,476

 

 

 

Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 25 countries of my lifetime total. 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 80

 

 

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.14

 

 

 

That’s all folks!  Official end of the RLR – Randy Lewis Racing Trackchaser Report

 

 

Click on the link below to see the video production from the racing action today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the link below for a photo album from today’s trackchasing day.  You can view the album slide by slide or click on the “slide show” icon for a self-guided tour of today’s trackchasing adventure.

 

 

Lots of action from across the border in British Columbia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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