Local racers tackle ice oval in Eganville

Staff Reporter

– It was Wisconsin’s Nicholas Van Strydonk that took home his first ever Bonnechere Cup at the 38th annual event on February 25 and 26, but it was the local racers that got the audience’s blood pumping throughout the course of the weekend.
Racers from Barry’s Bay and Whitney took on riders from Canada and the U.S. at the popular Miwel/Toromont-Cat Bonnechere Cup, which was hosted by the Eganville Sno Drifters Club at the Benson Sports Oval. It is the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

Hundreds of people surrounded the oval to watch some action-packed races. While there were several collisions throughout the weekend, most of the riders were able to walk away with only bumps and bruises.

Curtis Weatherdon from Barry’s Bay was the only local that braved the Pro Champ Final, which pitted him against popular racers Dustin Wahl and Jacques Villeneuve. A total of 10 racers competed in the category to win the prestigious Bonnechere Cup.

Although completing a few laps, Weatherdon was not able to finish the races due to mechanical difficulties. The first 10 laps were dominated by Nicholas Van Strydonk of Tomahawk, Wisconsin. A short tune-up break split the 22 laps up.

While racers were reaching speeds of 100 miles per hour, the race was a clean one and there were no collisions during the course. Dustin Wahl of Greenbush, Manitoba and Van Strydonk were neck and neck throughout most of the race.

But it was Van Strydonk who crossed the finish line first, winning him his first ever Bonnechere Cup. Wahl came in a close second, and Jacques Villeneuve of St. Cuthbert, Quebec (who won the Bonnechere Cup in 2011) came in third.

Van Strydonk told the Gazette he felt “tired but well,” after the competition. His strategy was to win the first 10 laps, and use the head start as an advantage in the last 12.

“I could hear them behind me but I just kept my cool and tried not to make mistakes,” he explained.

Van Strydonk took part in the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown in Valcourt, Quebec, where he came second to Wahl.

Wahl was happy with his second place win.

This story continues in the MArch 1 issue of The Valley Gazette.