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
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