Silliker Wins Instant Classic at Halloween Spooktacular
Trenton Silliker (#69) was on a mission Saturday night. Silliker, who is regarded as one of the top Demolition drivers of all time, was returning to Speedway Miramichi for the first time in nearly 2 years. He made his comeback one to remember – as he bested a 61-car field to capture the Halloween Spooktacular Demo and the $3000 payday!
The Demolition Derby finale had thirty-nine starters and was the wildest in recent memory. In the end, it came down to a final four which featured a who’s who list of Demolition talent, as Silliker battled with Matthew Sullivan (#18), Adam Plourde (#52) and Kevin Tucker (#187) for the victory, with Sullivan and Plourde claiming second and third. As this quartet of drivers fought through a war of attrition, fire lit up the sky as dusk settled over the Speedway when the car of Riley Harris (#1) went ablaze in the infield. Smoke and flames billowed from the car as the final moments of the Demolition were contested, until the Miramichi Fire Department arrived on scene to douse the flames.
Silliker’s victory marked the sixth different winner in six events in 2020. Above average temperatures and off and on sprinkles of rain set up ideal conditions for the Demolition events, as a great crowd took in all the events. The sixty-one entries marked the second biggest field of the year and of the modern era for Speedway Miramichi, and it certainly amongst some of the highest fields we have seen.
In preliminary action, it was Lionel Breau (#10A) taking the lead after Johnathan Dickson (#3) engaged in a fierce battle with a lapped car, and holding on to claim victory and the big payday. The wet surface created slick and wild conditions for the forty-one starters.
Sam Jardine (#12) wrapped up 2020 with a statement as she claimed a fourth Powder Puff victory of the year. Twenty-three ladies entered the event, which was mostly clean outside of a incident on the opening lap that saw Brittany Hoyt (#5) almost hit the wall. Jardine was challenged for much of the race by Monique Benoit (#47) until mechanical issues ended Benoit’s run.
Norm Robichaud (#666) got the monkey off his back after a 2020 season marred by poor luck in Miramichi. Robichaud drove to victory in the Pumpkin Race besting twenty-seven cars, while Trenton Silliker’s passenger had the best Pumpkin design, as voted on by kids.
Lionel Breau would back-up his Dash for Cash victory by wheeling his car to the checkered flag first in the Back-Up race. Thirty-three cars started the Back-Up race.
Norm Robichaud would also continue his winning ways, cruising to victory in a wild Figure 8 Race. It would be one of the biggest Figure 8 races seen, with thirty-eight cars starting. A highlight came in the early laps, when the rivalry between Miky Roussel (#57) and Jean-Francois Basque (#21) came to a thrilling peak. After much trash talk throughout the week, Roussel got the last laugh as he t-boned Basque in the centre of the “X” in a wild incident the fans loved. Basque, who won the Demolition Blowout a few weeks ago, would be alright following the crash but his car would be retired due to damage preventing him from going back-to-back.
Mini Stock drivers from all three Maritime provinces would make the trek to Speedway Miramichi for a 50-lap “Outlaw” style race. With JR Lawson being unable to attend due to work commitments, it meant no driver in the field had ever captured a feature victory at Speedway Miramichi. For much of the 50-lap feature, it was multi-time Mini Stock champion throughout the Maritimes Dave Matthews (#99) leading the way, just days after the passing of his mother.
Matthews had a run going that left only himself and Cody Byrne (#67) on the lead lap, and was well en route to victory. In the second half of the race, Matthews car began to smoke and as the race continued, Byrne began to close the gap and got to his bumper. Unfortunately, Matthews motor would blow up after leading 38 laps, handing the lead over to Cody Byrne. Byrne would be the only car remaining on the lead lap and would lead the final 12 laps to cruise to victory. Neil Miousse (#71) was second with Guy Basque (#27) turning around a season of hard luck to finish third.
Matthews and Miousse captured victories in 10-lap heat races. Matthews engine expiring would be the only caution in the 50-lap feature.
The Bomber “Last Call” race was another thriller and came right down to the closing laps! After number 2 was drawn during the pole shuffle, Timmy Blakely (#69) had to start at the rear of the field. That allowed Casey Munn (#8) to jump out to the early lead, but after leading 10 laps he would fall victim to a hard charging Johnathan Dickson (#3). Dickson completed the pass after hounding for many laps and appeared to be poised to drive to the win as Jacob Smith (#29) and Timmy Blakely worked their way through the field.
With 8 laps to go, Dickson would come up on lapped traffic with the rest of the field closing in. In what can only be called a full send move, Dickson attempted to cut the corner driving through the infield, a “pass in the grass” attempt per se, similar to what Dale Earnhardt did. Unfortunately for Dickson, the move just wasn’t quite timed right and resulted in him getting into Riley Harris (#1) and spinning. Dickson would save the car but lose the lead. This set up a closing laps shootout between Blakely and Smith who battled side by side, door to door, lap after lap. It came right down to the checkers, as Smith on the inside lane drove deep into the corner much like Carl Edwards did in NASCAR one time. Blakely was able to react quickly enough to pull a cross over move and narrowly beat him to the line to score victory in the best finish of the season in any class. Dickson sat behind the pair waiting to capitalize but ended up settling for third while Blake Bransfield (#60) and Ben Jardine (#76) completed the top 5.
It was a team effort for the Blakely’s as Sam drove the car to a heat race victory, while Casey Munn was the winner of the second heat race. Only two cautions slowed the feature, the first for a tire flying off Drake Nowlan’s (#84) car, while the second was for contact between Bransfield and Fall Shootout winner Mark Kingston (#97).
For the first time in many years, Mechanics races were contested for the Bomber and Mini Stock divisions. Ronnie Munn (#88) was the winner in the Bomber class holding off a hard charging Justin Brown (#3) to win. The Mini Stock Mechanics race got slick due to rain, but that was no problem for Zean Dutcher (#55) as he drove to victory.
Speedway Miramichi staff took a break to climb behind the wheel for a fun race. Flagman Denver Matchett (#10A) drove to victory while tech man Eldon Campbell (#99) unofficially finished second with owner Barry Richard (#57) in third. Richard technically crossed the line ahead of Campbell but he cut the final corner and received a 10-second penalty for doing so. Race director Doug Matchett did not finish.
Bobby Young was the winner of the Burnout Competition with a large applause from the crowd!
This concludes the 2020 season at Speedway Miramichi. On behalf of owner Barry Richard and staff, we would like to thank all the fans, drivers, crew and everyone else for helping make the 2020 season the best ones to date. From record car counts to full grandstands and incredible action, it has been spectacular!
Halloween Spooktacular Podium
1. Trenton Silliker #69
2. Matthew Sullivan #18
3. Adam Plourde #52
Mini Stock Outlaw 50 Results
1. Cody Byrne #67
2. Neil Miousse #71
3. Guy Basque #27
4. Ryan Bernard #73
5. Mitchell Poirier #28
6. Maggie Suttie #41
7. Calvin McLeod #00
8. Grayson Dutcher #55
9. Matt Martin #94
10. Mathieu Mallet #80
11. Dave Matthews #99
DNS – Earl MacDonald #138
Bomber “Last Call” Results
1. Timmy Blakely #69
2. Jacob Smith #29
3. Johnathan Dickson #3
4. Blake Bransfield #60
5. Justin Munn #76
6. Mark Kingston #97
7. Josh Flanagan #190
8. Justin Munn #88
9. Casey Munn #8
10. Riley Harris #1
11. Kevin Cowan #2
12. Jordan Campbell #68
13. Tyson Donovan #63
14. Drake Nowlan #84
Dash for Cash Winner – Lionel Breau #10A
Powder Puff Winner – Sam Jardine #12
Pumpkin Race Winner – Norm Robichaud #666
Back-Up Race Winner – Lionel Breau #10A
Figure 8 Race Winner – Norm Robichaud #666
Mini Stock Mechanics Race Winner – Zean Dutcher #55
Bomber Mechanics Race Winner – Ronnie Munn #88
Staff Race Winner – Denver Matchett #10A
Burnout Competition Winner – Bobby Young