GORDY WILSON J-66 & 47
This year we take a look at someone who has been a friend of racing for over 60 years. Gordy has been involved with all facets of the sport, but lets start at the beginning. Gordon as a child, accompanied his father George, to the early big car sprint races of the 1930's and 40's and that ignited an interest that has lasted to this day.
From the late 1940's on, Gordy Wilson drove a Ford flathead coupe J-66 at area race tracks and competed at Merrittville Speedway in the Jalopy division and later young Gordy would move up to the stock car division driving his own #47 coupe at Merrittville, Speedway Park, and Ransomville Speedways. Gordy was attending the races one night in the late 60's at Ransomville Speedway and the regular announcers didn=t show, Gordy was pressed into action, because of his knowledge of the drivers and the sport. This new career was started.
When Stan Friesen and Kurt Uhl purchased Ransomville, and later Merrittville, Gordy Wilson was now announcing Friday, Saturday and yes, even Sunday at Humberstone. Gordy honed his skills as an announcer and sports writer alongside announcer and St. Catharines sports editor Jack Gatecliff, another Merrittville Speedway Wall of Famer. During the 1970's Gordy did it all, announce races, write stories, hold racing banquets, promote races, sell T-shirts, all the time maintaining his new radio show- Pit Stop from Lockport, New York.
Every Saturday Gordy would do his racing radio show, a pioneer effort, when racing was not as popular as today and continue his efforts for some 31 years. Merrittville Speedway has enjoyed the ever present voice of racing for decades. During the 1990's, Gordy, accompanied by his ever present wife June, would appear at Merrittville before race time. Gordy always felt his car knew the way, even if he took his hands off the steering wheel. Gordy=s love of the sport showed even more as a car owner of the #47 Sportsman, driven by Andy Imbeault and Kurt Sherwood. There were times when Gordy didn=t know whether to announce the race or coach his driver around the track.
I had first hand experience, when in 1998, Gordy, Bruce Bonham, Bryant Ivine and myself had a chance to race each other in dwarf cars. Gordy and I raced close for a few laps and even though I won the event, Gordy had not lost his touch behind the wheel. Gordy and June have always been generous with their time and have always assisted the Merrittville Speedway Reunion Committee, in promoting our event.
During our 51st season it was evident that Gordy was going to step down at Merrittville and also retire as host of Pit Stop, after an illustrious career of promoting and living stock car racing. Gordy=s announcing duties were handed over to Eric Tomas and Dave Sully has taken over as host of Pit Stop still airing on WJJL radio every Saturday.
In racing, you make many friends, and Gordy and June Wilson have made many friends, but probably one of his closest is his relationship with Bob St. Amand Sr. and his family. During the winter of 2003, Gordy and June celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary near Lewiston, New York.
While many of their family and friends from all over the U.S. attended, it was a pleasure for my wife, Michelle and I, to be invited as friends, along with Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Bonham, Bryant and Marilyn Irvine and Bob Sr. and Bob Jr. St. Amand and their families.
While Merrittville Speedway has undergone a restoration, and Peter Bicknell and Randy Williamson and their families are taking our 52nd season and beyond Aup a notch@, there is one thing missing, Gordy=s familiar phrase Aand they=re stacking them up like cord wood!@ Gordy and June Wilson, tonight is your night and welcome back to Merrittville Speedway!
Sincerely, Rick Kavanagh