Management for the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame (MMHF) is pleased to announce the 10 new inductees who will comprise the Class of 2019. Each is being recognized for significant accomplishments and/or contributions in Maritime motorsports.
From New Brunswick
· Paul Chenard (Fredericton) Automobile Art
· Trueman Copp (Riverview) Recreational/Snowmobile
· O’Blenis Auto Body (Boundary Creek – Mr. & Mrs. George O’Blenis, Allan, Ray, Roy) Motorsports Builders
· William ‘Bill’ Snowdon (Wood Point) Motorsports Builder
· George & Claudette Turner (Moncton) Motorsports Promoters
From Nova Scotia
· Joseph ‘Joe’ Baker (Westville) Competitor/Stock Car Racing
· Tom D. Borcherdt (Deerfield) Competitor/Motor Cycle
· Ken Cunning (Halifax) Motorsports Builder
· Bill Sheppard (Halifax) Competitor/Drag Racing
From Prince Edward Island
· Wendall Taylor (Sherwood) Competitor/Builder
Thirty-eight nominations were considered by the MMHF Induction Committee in making their selection; they would like to thank everyone who submitted a nomination.
The formal induction ceremony is set for November 16 at the Hotel Wingate in Dieppe, New Brunswick. Tickets are $80.00 and available by calling 506-756-2110. A block of rooms is being held at a special group rate of $129.00/night until October 16, 2019, based on availability. Call 1-844-854-8330 or 506-830-8330 and let them know you will be attending the MMHF function to qualify for the group rate. The Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame Museum in Petitcodiac will host a special brunch the following morning, on November 17, starting at 10 a.m., for a cost of $15.00/person. The dress code is formal for this occasion.
Bios for each of the members of the Class of 2019 follow (in alphabetic order):
Joseph ‘Joe’ Baker raced stock cars from 1966 to 1970, traveling many miles to compete at most of the tracks around at that time. On August 3, 1972, CJCH Radio (Halifax) and announcer Jerry Lawrence paid a special tribute to Joe with “Be Kind to Joe Baker Day.” In 1998, he started the Pioneer Coal 250 at Riverside Speedway – this time in a much bigger rig – the Freightliner tri-axle tractor dump truck he drove for Pioneer Coal. It was the pace vehicle and loaded with 35 tons of coal, thrilling fans who were in attendance. This tradition continued for the next three years and still is the only former race car driver to have done so.
Tom D. Borcherdt built his first motorcycle at the age of 14 using a lawnmower engine and a bicycle. He bought a new 650 BSA and spent a summer touring Britain and Europe. In 2000 he took the race riders school at Atlantic Motorsport Park. He had success in setting two world speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats. In APG-500 and in APS-PG on a special build, partially streamlined, pushrod, gas, 500cc he set the record at 118.6 mph. Tom went to Loring, Maine and set a record of 117.5 mph, prior to the Bonneville Salt Flats. He holds several records and in 2004 was the Maritime Vintage Road Racing champion.
Paul Chenard started creating his artwork in 2006, with Formula 1 race cars. Since then he has been the recipient of numerous awards in the Maritimes, nationally, and internationally. He is represented in the U.K. by perhaps the most important automotive art gallery in the world, the Historic Cars Art Gallery. He has written and illustrated two books “Silver Clouds” and “Ferrari in Art.” His articles and artwork have been featured in many magazines. He is diverse having been commissioned to create works of art featuring motorcycles, aircraft, and cars.
Trueman Copp hasn’t been without a snowmobile for over 47 years. The Southeastern New Brunswick Snowmobile Associations first executive meeting was held September 22, 1986, with Trueman as a founding member, serving as a Director for many years. He was a Team Captain with Snow-White/Blanch-Neige for nine years. In 1991, the last year for Snow-White, he was award Team Captain of the year. His snowmobile travels include NB, NS, NL, QC, ON, NH, ME, and Yellowstone National Park. He is also a member of the Moncton Corvette Club.
Ken Cunning is a car guy. To him, a car is not just a mode of transportation, it is also something to enjoy and care for. He enjoys attending car shows in Florida or Moncton or a drag race in Greenfield or Miramichi or a stock race anywhere along the eastern seaboard of North America. Since 2004, Ken has worked as general manager of Scotia Speedworld & the Maritime Pro Stock Tour when he spends every weekend from mid-May until mid-September at the track or with the tour, or both. In the off-season he has meetings with drivers and schedules events for the next year with tracks in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. He also serves as Vice President of the Maritime Motorsports Hall Of Fame for Nova Scotia.
O’Blenis Auto Body Repair & Paint Shop was established in 1960 and is still in operation by the O’Blenis family. Back in the 60s they were involved in stock car racing, it was then the new thing in town. They sponsored such well-known drivers as Walter Dunfield, Caleb Dunn, and Jerry Campbell as well as supporting the sport as a sponsor. The O’Blenis’ were a great help with the building of Petty Raceway. Allan, Ray, and Roy had show cars, winning many trophies at shows. The family tradition continues today with the younger generation continuing to be involved in the stock car racing.
Bill Sheppard began drag racing in 1978 and has raced constantly ever since. He has competed with success in bracket racing in the Pro class and in the Stock Eliminator class racing. He is one of the very few Maritimers to earn an NHRA National Event Wally, at the 1994 NHRA Summernationals, arguably competing against the best racers in the world. He is always a threat to win. In his more than 40 years of drag racing, Bill has raced and won all over eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. He is still racing and winning, and a true ambassador of the sport.
William (Bill) Snowdon started with motor mechanics in high school. In 1959 he received his Journeyman certification as the first apprentice in Canada to receive the Red Seal. In 1960 he enrolled in teacher training. From 1961 to 1980 he taught at the Moncton Community College. After that, he worked at Dorchester Penitentiary in prison education. In 1963 he joined the Moncton Speed and Custom Club at Scoudouc Dragway doing car classifications operating the cheater kit it. In 1965 Bill received his N.H.R.A. technical director certification. In 1969 he joined the New Brunswick Antique Auto Club, served as President, South East Region Director and Historian. He has written technical articles for the Maritime Drag News and N.B.A.A.C.’s magazine, as well as “The History of the N.B. Antique Auto Club” commemorating the Clubs 50th anniversary in 2016.
Greg & Claudette Turner have been producing the Speed Sport car show in Moncton for five decades. They have brought in many celebrity guests from NASCAR , drag racing, cars from the movies, as well as car performance products. It is this show that has helped to bring better-prepared vehicles to the local stock car and drag tracks, as the car owners showed their vehicles to be judged. To keep the Speed Sport show to the high standards of other major shows in North America they have been affiliated with the International Show Car Association (ISAC). The show has brought many dollars into the city of Moncton. Greg and Claudette Turner have made a lasting impression in the Motorsport world of the Maritimes.
Wendall Taylor spent many years around race tracks, starting with his father as he competed at many dirt tracks in PEI. When Raceway Park opened its dirt oval in 1985 Wendell was there competing. The first year he won the Dukes championship, his second year he finished in the top three. He stopped driving when the team moved to the modified division, instead he crewed for drivers competing with MASCAR, the Maritime Pro Stock Tour, and the Moosehead GrandPrix. Wendell also sponsored drivers as the owner of Wendell Taylors Garage. He was the go-to guy for fixing what other people couldn’t. He is a member of the PEI Antique Auto Club and is the Inspection Tech for antique cars & trucks. He has restored many of the antique cars he owns, and he also dabbled in drag racing.