Robert “Bobby” Fisher #85
Robert Fisher came into the sport during the hey day of the coupes and homebuilt race cars. In 1961 the building of the new Speedway Park at Stoney Creek, by Merrittville Speedway’s owners Ken Kavanagh and Bill Russell, as well as Merrittville’s founders John Marino and George Cullen, helped to start not only a Friday night-Saturday night dirt track racing tradition, but foster the growth of dirt track competitors from the Hamilton area. Bobby Fisher was one such Hamilton area driver who caught the dirt track racing bug.
At the time, there were two divisions - Jalopy and Sportsman. The Jalopy coupes were a learning experience, but as times were changing, the jalopies, based on 1930’s era cars, were giving way to the full-fendered 1950’s era, more abundant late model division. With the retirement of the Jalopy division and the beginning of the late Model division, there was an immense popularity amongst both Niagara and Hamilton area competitors, with most features starting 30 plus cars. Bobby Fisher #85 was one such competitor, who along with other Hamilton racers, Frank Field, Jack Hollis, Henry Shivak, Don Turner, the Deagles, would tow their late models from Hamilton area to Stoney Creek & Thorold every Friday and Saturday night honing their dirt track racing skills.
While all of these competitors achieved much success in the late model division, their true goal for all was to achieve success at the next level, the Sportsman-Modified division. These drivers would all graduate to the next level joining their pioneers and veteran competitors, such as Eric Bradt, Bob Davidson, Bruce Van Dyke, Alex Gunn in the Sportsman-Modified division. The Friday-Saturday night racing tradition was now spiced up with these new entrants, challenging the veterans for victory.
Bobby Fisher would come in to his own, when he took over the former Alex Gunn #43 from Championship car owner Wilfred “Wimpy” Nicholls for the 1965-1966 season. The now maroon #85 Chevrolet Coupe was very prominent at both Speedway Park and Merrittville Speedway. For 1967-1968 the new “Super Stock” divisions allowed full bodied modifieds 1960’s era cars compete against the familiar modified coupes and coaches of the 1930’s.
It was an era of transition. While Bobby Fisher would not win a championship, he was one of the top consistent competitors and helped foster the development of both the late model and super stock modified divisions, along with his fellow Hamilton area competitors, during the 1960’s. When Speedway Park was sold in the early 1970’s and later paved, it spelled the end of an era for Hamilton area dirt track racing and it’s competitors.
During this time, Bobby Fisher also retired from racing, but now admits he quit way too soon.
Today, now retired, Robert Fisher and his wife, Giselle, spend their weekends camping at the trailer, but tonight “Bobby we remember you, as we are pleased to induct you to the Merrittville Speedway Alumni Wall of Fame, along with fellow Hamilton area inductees, Wilfred Nicholls, Bruce Van Dyke, Bob Davidson Sr., Henry Shivak, Don Turner and the Deagle Brothers.