Trackside View of the Storm

Environment Canada has officially confirmed that an EF2 tornado was embedded within the leading edge of he line of thunderstorms in Ontario late Saturday morning. The storm tracked northeast over Southern Ontario, through Stouffville, reaching Ottawa on Saturday afternoon.

The agency said the tornado occurred at 1:15 pm on Saturday afternoon in Uxbridge and was found to have a maximum wind speed of 195 km/h.

The Demaras family spent years racing at Goodwood Kartways and are torn up at the sight of their home track. Daniel’s former racing rival, Jeff Conte, was at on track Saturday, and witnessed the damage firsthand. His GoPro even captured the moment the storm arrived at the track.

This was the view from the scales area when the storm rolled through. From the first raindrops hitting the kart until the two 20ft x 40ft tents got sent into the scale area and flattened was about 5 minutes. No serious injuries, medical was on-site to tend to the few cuts and bruises, karts and tents can be replaced people cannot.

No. 413, Jeff Conte

Go Fast in the Storm

Go Fast Photography has shot pictures for Demaras Racing both at Crazy Farm and at his regular haunt, CTMP. He was there shooting pictures for the Victoria Day Speedfest when the storm hi. Here’s the storm, in his own words:

I have never experienced anything like this storm. It came so fast, with 10 minutes of warning from an emergency alert. Shortly after I took the first photo, I was helping the Hyundai crew close up another side flap on their canopy, when the wind hit like a train. The canopy was lifted up and came crashing down around us and was tearing itself apart. One of their crew members grabbed me by the shirt and pulled us to cover between two trailers.

Once the worst of the winds died down, we rushed into the Hyundai. My cameras were sitting on the tool cart underneath the canopy during the worst of it, but I believe Connor Attrell went to rescue them just before we made it to their trailer. Extremely thankful to Hyundai Racing Canada crew for looking out for me and my equipment!

The storm wreaked havoc all across the park. The FEL SCCC series was devastated, with them cancelling the remaining races for Sunday. A few people were injured around the park, and I hope they are alright. From flipped campers, to most tents around the park being destroyed, trees uprooted, and tent poles impaled into cars and the ground, the park worked together to help clean up and get one last race in. The FEL ERCC series pulled together 10 radicals for no points race for the fans who braved the storm and stayed.

They say Motorsports is dangerous, I just never expected my closest call to be with Mother Nature!

Alex Smalley, GoFast Photography

Toronto Tornado

This weekend was Round 1 of the KartStars Canada series at Goodwood. Demaras Racing was not at the event, having moved on from kart racing in 2022. But many family friends and former rivals were at the race, which has seen bad weather in past years. But nothing like this.

At 1:30 pm, tornado level winds tore across southern Ontario, with Uxbridge and Stouffville particularly hard hit. At the track, tents were lifted skyward, karts flipped over onto drivers and toolboxes sent wrenches airborne as everyone at the track scrambled for cover.

Over at Mosport, the Victoria Day Speedfest was underway, with NASCAR Pinty’s Series cars preparing for qualifying.

Trees were uprooted, signs were blown down, and haulers were thrown around the paddock like a child’s toys. The storm had been tracked since noon when it blew in through Windsor and London, picking up speed and strength as it reached the GTA. But it arrived with such speed and ferocity, many were not prepared for the storm.

Races at Goodwood and Mosport were immediately suspended.

2022 Honda Indy Toronto: Only Two Months Away!

Anyone hoping to get good seats for the 2022 Honda Indy Toronto better get moving! Turn 3 is pretty much sold out, so unless you’re willing to fork out $1,200 for the VIP Hospitality Suite, there aren’t many options left.

The first race since the 2019 Honda Indy Toronto is expected to be sold-out. Years of pent-up demand, and fans just wanting to return to ‘normal’ summer traditions, like watching the IndyCars speed down Lakeshore Blvd.

This year’s event has such a strong undercard. The festival of activities keep kids and casual race fans occupied. Everything from the Honda Junior Red Riders motocross experience to VR Racing on Free Friday.

For true race fans the schedule is packed with Porsche Carrera Cup and GT4 cars in the SCCC series, but the highlights are the NASCAR tin-tops, plus junior series in the Road to Indy, and of course, the Statdium Super Trucks!

The NASCAR Pinty’s Series a premier level motorsports division. Hotly-contested racing fuel Canada’s tremendous support for NASCAR. From road courses, street circuits and oval tracks across the country, it is truly Canada’s national series. 

The Road to Indy features some of the best up and coming competitors as they try to reach the pinnacle of open-wheel racing America. The Road to Indy races will include Indy Pro 2000 and the USF2000 Championship.

Stadium Super Trucks feature identically prepared high-horsepower trucks. The versatile off-road trucks race on virtually any surface, and will expose the great discipline of off-road racing to the masses.

With the F1200 schedule so well planned out in 2022, Demaras Racing will get a chance to be spectators at the race track for a change. Look for them in the Turn 10 grandstands; they’ll be the ones with the biggest smiles on their faces!

Mosport in 1967

After the track days and an F1200 race at CTMP, Daniel Demaras thought a lot about all the great drivers who’ve raced at Mosport in the past.

Proving that the internet is omniscient and can read your mind, the video below popped up in Demaras Racing’s YouTube feed; it’s the very first Canadian Grand Prix. Held at Mosport in 1967, the Formula 1 race alternated back and forth with Mont Tremblant for a couple years before then hosting the event for most of the 1970’s.

Post-Race Debrief

It’s been a week since his first F1200 race, and Daniel’s nose is still sunburned. Three days at the race track with the highs of race starts and the adrenaline dump of the checkered flag can be taxing. To keep sharp, the plan was to visit HIP and meet up with Coach Venditti to recap the race, and get some virtual practice laps.

Chris jumped into the driver’s seat of the Miata to drive out to Ajax. The roadster feels very much at home on Mosport’s sweeping corners, but this track car is incredibly uncomfortable on public roads.

Those adjustable coilovers that keep the car so well planted at Turn 5 are super-stiff. With very little ground clearance, even getting out of the driveway is a challenge. Daniel got tired of Chris redlining the engine every time they passed under a bridge, so he took over as ‘responsible’ driver.

When they arrived at HIP, the guys found Venditti was all business. He had the GoPro footage of Round 1 / Race 3 all queued up on the big screen, and he had reviewed it enough to find corners Daniel carved well, and where there was room for improvement.

One of the videos shot at CTMP that weekend reached 1,500+ views on YouTube, far more than the average 100 friends and sponsors who normally see Demaras Racing videos. But John is not here to boost anyone’s ego. His trained ear listened to the engine note, and could tell that Daniel was shifting too early on the back straight. John was here to coach.

Once the debrief was completed, Daniel strapped back into the Force Dynamics CR-401 Continuous Rotation Simulator, with iRacing’s Formula Vee loaded up at virtual CTMP. John settled into his rig and proceeded to conduct two hours of lead-follow exercises and passing drills to hammer home the lessons.

Chris and Daniel have been visiting HIP weekly since February, and John is updating the ‘cirriculum’ as the months have passed. Using the fine tuning available in the simulator, Venditti increased air / track temperature to better mimic the conditions Demaras will race in at the VARAC Vintage Grand Prix on June 16th to 19th and the Canadian Touring Trophy Races on July 23rd and 24th, both at CTMP.

With nearly 30 years of experience racing and coaching, John has the edge over Daniel, but the gap between them is diminishing every week.

Lonely in the parking lot, the 99 Miata dreams of its next track day at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. But for now, it’s back to the grind as a commuter car, shuttling Chris and Daniel back home to Toronto.

2022 Spring Trophy Races – Sunday

~ by Michelle Demaras ~

On Sunday, I went to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park to watch my brother Daniel race. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure how fun it would be. When he was still in go-karts, days at the track were often incredibly hot with not much for me to do. But, but I actually had more fun than I expected this time!

My mom drove us to the track, a LONG hour-and-a-half in the car, just to watch more cars! We went in through the gate, found my dad (and the Miata!), and we watched Daniel’s 2nd race of the weekend. It was so much more than I expected.

I knew Daniel graduated from go-karts to Formula 1200, but I had no idea just how fast (and loud!) these cars were. Seeing Daniel’s races, it was really cool to watch just how different the new cars which he races in are from what I’m used to seeing him do.

We drove down to the paddock where Daniel and his teammates cars were. We spent most of the day there, waiting for the next race to start. When it was time, we drove up a gravel hill, set out some lawn chairs, and watched from Turn 3. We were close to the track, which enhanced the viewing, but also made it 10 times louder.

We finished the day by watching the podium ceremony, then drove back. The day was hot, and pretty long, but I still had a much more fun day than I had anticipated. I mean, who doesn’t love seeing their brother beat guys triple his age?

VIDEO: BEMC Saturday

Round 1, Race 1 of the 2022 Canadian Formula 1200 Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park . The 70th BEMC Spring Trophy Races included the Formula Libre grid, which included F1200, F1600, F2000, Formula Mazda and F4 machinery.

2022 Spring Trophy Races – Saturday

~ by Daniel Demaras ~

After eight years of racing karts, it was time for me to step up to racing cars. My first race weekend in the Canadian F1200 Championship was the opportunity to achieve a life-long dream.

A solid day of practice on Friday, and I was ready for my first race on Saturday. After a chilly driver’s meeting in the morning, I went out for free practice. I ran in a group with my teammates, which was a valuable experience. The draft is very important in F1200, and I benefited from experiencing it in practice.

Qualifying was not optimal. Mechanical issues meant the 1200 CC engine was unable to reach full throttle on the straights, making it impossible to stay in the draft or set a good lap time. I qualified P6 in class for the race.

During lunch break, the Vallis Motor Sport team worked very hard to sort out the issues with the car. VMS is an incredibly knowledgeable and highly experienced crew. When it comes to F1200, and I know they can solve any issues I’m experiencing because they have already faced the same issues many times over in the past 45 years of racing. They took the body off the frame, serviced the carburetor, and put everything back together in time for the race.

My first ever race start in an F1200 race was…poor. I was in the wrong gear and lost two positions by Turn 1. But by Turn 3, I completed a pass and made one position back up. I continued to work through the field or drivers, caught one on the back straight, and passed another on the next lap in Turn 2. At this point, I had reached the lead pack, and it became time to drive smart.

I patiently waited to make my next move, opportunistically following drivers attempting overtakes ahead. While running in fourth place, the car ahead began to have performance issues, causing us to lose touch with the two leaders, so I made my move on the front straight, driving down the inside of my rival, trying to complete the pass before Turn 1. But another racer made the same move on me, driving down my inside at the same moment!

Exiting Turn 1, I was back in fourth place still, but now with no threat behind me, but no chance of catching the top two. I chose to wait for the chance to take third place, staying in the draft until the last lap. I made my move at Turn 8, taking the outside line with more momentum and speed … but I was driving in the ‘clag’ as David Hobbs used to call it. I held it around the outside of Turn 8, which became the inside line at Turn 9. A drag race to the finish and I crossed the line in third place…not bad for my first ever open-wheel race. I was even recognized at the ‘hard-charger’ with most positions gained in the race. Whoo!

My driving performance wasn’t perfect, and I still have a long way to go until I can truly compete with the top drivers, however, members of the team praised my patience in those closing laps. With a podium under my belt and managing to impress a group of veterans who have seen it all, I set my sights on the next race.