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Red Deer race car driver leads international field vying for $800,000 Indy Lights Scholarship

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Parker Thompson has always wanted to race with the best cars and drivers in the world, and he’s well on his way to achieving his dream.   Year after year the 20 year old Red Deer native takes another step up the ladder.  2018 finds Thompson in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.  It’s just one step away from the Indy Lights Circuit.  In fact the top racer in the Pro Mazda Championship will be boosted to Indy Lights by a scholarship worth about 0,000.   6 races into the 16 race season.. Thompson leads the pack!

Thompson has finished first twice in the opening 6 races.   There’s still 10 more to go, but with a commanding lead in points Parker Thompson continues his efforts to one day race drivers with names like Andretti, Rahal, and Hinchcliffe.

Racing for Saskatoon based Exclusive Autosport on a team almost fully staffed by Canadians, Parker’s most recent race may have cemented his place among the leaders.  He started the race way back in 6th position after a part failure lead to an engine swap during qualifying sessions.  Shortly after the race began a series of events unfolded knocking out one driver after another.  Parker expertly handled the storm, eventually taking the lead and then put his stamp on an impressive win posting a series of fastest laps to cement the victory in fine style.   It didn’t hurt that this feat was accomplished on one of the world’s most famous tracks, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix course.

In the first 6 races of the season the race car driver from Red Deer has a comfortable lead in the overall duel for the Mazda Scholarship, worth close to 0,000, to assist in progressing to the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires circuit.

Here’s how Thompson has done so far:

Race 1 – St. Petersburg, Florida – 5th

Race 2 – St. Petersburg, Florida – 2nd

Race 3 – Birmingham, Alabama – 1st

Race 4 – Birmingham, Alabama – 2nd

Race 5 – Indianapolis, Indiana – 5th

Race 6 – Indianapolis, Indiana – 1st

OVERALL PRO MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

1 Parker Thompson – R 150
2 Rinus VeeKay – R 128
3 Carlos Cunha 120
4 Harrison Scott – R 116
5 David Malukas – R 105
6 Oliver Askew – R 102
7 Sting Ray Robb 88
8 Andres Gutierrez – R 79
9 Nikita Lastochkin 74
10 Robert Megennis – R 69
11 Lodovico Laurini – R 63
12 Kris Wright 57
13 Antonio Serravalle – R 48
14 Charles Finelli 47
15 Rafael Martins – R 45
16 Kory Enders – R 21
17 James Raven – R 17

From ProMazda.com 

Parker Thompson (#90 Exclusive Autosport Tatuus-Mazda PM-18): “I was tearing up at the checkered flag and my engineer, Tim Lewis, was just screaming on the radio. It was so awesome to get a win here – it doesn’t get much better than winning at the Racing Capital of the World! It was tough out there today. We made a gamble on a low-downforce setup and it played out. I avoided the melees at the start and kept everything intact. We set fastest lap after fastest lap and that makes weekends like this so special, starting from back in sixth and taking the victory. This win is dedicated to my Exclusive Autosport team and to Elite Engines, because without them we wouldn’t have been able to qualify yesterday. We did an engine swap between qualifying sessions yesterday because of a part failure that was no one’s fault, really. It’s amazing that they were able to do that in such a short amount of time.”

Click here for all the latest news on the Pro Mazda Championship.

 

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Alberta

“A Really Special Place” – Why the Wild Rose Motocross Track is One of a Kind

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This summer, as you wander between the breweries and activity centers located in southeast Calgary, pause for a moment – if you listen closely, you may hear the distant rumble of motocross engines as bikes of all sizes careen over jumps and around corners at the Wild Rose Motocross Track.

Located just off Blackfoot Trail in Southeast Calgary, the 88-acre park is backed by the Calgary skyline, a prime piece of land located just minutes from downtown. Founded in the 1960’s as the Blackfoot Motorcycle Park, the track has deep roots in the city of Calgary, and according to WRMA board member David Pinkman, “Few sagas can compete with the wild west history of Calgary’s Wild Rose Motocross Association and its hard-core motocross lovers.” 


Photo Credit Eden Schell 

In 1984, The Wild Rose Motocross Association (WRMA) was officially formed, and the Blackfoot Motorcycle Park became the Wild Rose. Acting as a major host for a number of national motocross events since the 70’s and nurturing some of Canada’s best professional riders to date, Pinkman argues the “course of Canadian motocross history may not have been the same but for this unique piece of dirt and hills.”

With 7 tracks available including the full-sized Main, East and Hill Tracks, as well as the Extreme Beginner, Mini, Pee Wee, and Enduro Tracks, Wild Rose welcomes riders of all ages and skill levels. “This is the only track of its kind in Canada,” says Michelle McCarthy, newest member of the WRMA board, “It’s right in the centre of the city; it’s got 3 big bike tracks, the smaller tracks and the enduro park. This is a really special place.”
Whether it be your first time on a bike or the day you’re finally going to clear that 15-foot tabletop, the track encourages everyone to come out and ride. “People want to see new riders,” says McCarthy, “they want to see the community flourish. Plus, dirt biking is really, really fun,” she laughs.  


Photo Credit Eden Schell 

Like countless other Canadian businesses, the Wild Rose Track has taken a hit due to COVID-19, with day pass riders and memberships being significantly down. Open year round – weather permitting – the track normally sees up to 30,000 visits per year. However, due to the pandemic, numbers are currently far lower as the park operates within capacity limits. 

As a recreational park on city property, track management wanted to set an example for taking action to reduce the spread of COVID-19, responding rapidly to Alberta Government guidelines by implementing a number of new precautions and preventative measures. This includes constructing wash stations at every track, implementing paperless transactions and COVID-19 symptom screening upon entry to the park, as well as establishing an online scheduling system to limit the number of riders at the track at one time.  

In the midst of the new normal, the park remains committed to growing and supporting the motocross community in Calgary and beyond, staying on top of updates that will allow them to return to racing and regular operation as soon as possible. While all spring and summer race series have been cancelled by COVID-19, the WRMA is actively monitoring pandemic updates with the goal of hosting a successful race series this coming fall. 

To learn more about the Wild Rose Motocross Association, visit https://www.wildrosemx.com.

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

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Alberta

Alberta Juniors Choose Positive Path

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Alberta Juniors Choose Positive Path

Everywhere there is gloom. Well, almost everywhere.

A welcome exception is the 15-team Alberta Junior Hockey League, which lost much of its gate revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic arrival at playoff time, and now waits for permission from Hockey Canada and Alberta Health Services to go ahead with its 2000-2001 season.

President Ryan Bartoshyk confirmed on Monday that his league is “in the process of drawing up our schedule right now. We’re aiming (to have teams on the ice) by Sept. 1 and we hope to get the season started by Sept. 18.” Any and all final decisions must meet with at least two levels of official approval, of course, but operators have expressed their confidence by agreeing to put in the work, recognizing that later starts (or no start) are still possibilities.

To an outsider, the clearest declaration of league independence is this: the schedule, with various possible opening dates pencilled in, is being drawn up for all 15 teams. This is most impressive when it is known that several franchises – no names provided by president Bartoshyk or any team spokesman – have expressed serious concern about the cost of business in the coming season.

We have lost at least one league camp for tryouts,” said a spokesman. “We know we’re going to lose more.”

Not included are the Blackfalds Bulldogs, who will replace the former Calgary Mustangs at the start of the 2021/2002 season. Bartoshyk was pleased to say “work on the new arena for Blackfalds is due to start this month.”

Among the established teams reported to have mentioned their problems outside of league meetings are the Canmore Eagles, but the team’s two captains and a pair of assistants have already been named for the coming season. At least a couple of promising signings have also been announced. As a result, pessimism has shrunk a great deal.

Also optimistic about the coming season are the Olds Grizzlys, whose attendance averaged well over 1,500 a game when they dominated Junior A ranks several years ago but dropped to about 600 a game last year. “This is a great sports community, a great place to be,” said club governor and vice-president executive Trent Wilhauk. “We know the fans will come back; they love their Grizzlys.”

Population of the community is slightly more than 10,000. “It’s a happening place when the team is going good.”

After wiping out last year’s playoffs and destroying some of the regular post-season increases at the gate, COVID-19 has continued to harm the AJHL, just as it has damaged so many other areas of the economy. “We have lost at least one league camp for tryouts,” said a spokesman. “We know we’re going to lose more.”

Those financial setbacks may have been dwarfed by the loss of some appealing playoff matchups. “Some of the teams that drew above-average numbers for us (Okotoks Oilers, Brooks Bandits, Sherwood Park Crusaders) didn’t have a playoff game before we had to stop,” Bartoshyk said. “They all had byes in the first round.”

Other teams with relative season-long success at the gate also missed money-raising opportunities. “It’s obvious that our league relies on corporate sponsorship and support at the gate,” Bartoshyk added, mentioning a handful of promising pending post-season clashes — Drayton Valley and Sherwood Park, the Whitehorse Wolverines and the Spruce Grove Saints, Camrose Kodiaks and Drumheller Dragons – that could not take place.

At this point, the day’s general feeling that the AJHL future remains bright surfaced again.

Said Bartoshyk: “We’re ready. We’ll do what is necessary.”

https://www.todayville.com/edmonton/hundreds-of-young-athletes-grow-more-anxious-by-the-day-acac-season-a-series-of-options/

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