Tag Archives: James Hinchcliffe

Canadian Motorsports Expo Takes Giant Step Forward

I must say, I was suitably impressed with the CME this year. Just walking into the show on Friday I immediately had the sense that it had finally found it’s legs after several awkward toddler years.

Is it spectacular? Not yet, but you could definitely see and feel the potential and growth, more so than during any other year I have attended.

There are still some niggley things to work out. Flow of the show itself (layout of aisles/booths, scheduling of the mainstage/seminar room talks, sound on the mainstage) but those are all fixable technical issues. Other than that, the substance of the show itself, well, things were much improved in that area.

There was a larger corporate presence this year, which not only added to the look/feel of the show, but also upped the quality of the presentations and seminars. Sadly, I had to miss out on some I really wanted to see, due to scheduling conflicts. (will suggest a doubling up on presentations for next year)

Though I jinxed it on Thursday by talking about the weather (Bad Meesh!) and then predicting Snowmageddon (which actually did happen, though not that bad) the foot traffic appeared to be heavier, right from the get go. I noticed more people milling about, and with a larger hall this year and wider aisles, you would expect the opposite interpretation. I also heard vendors remarking that they had had more inquiries and traffic at their booth on the Friday than they had had during the entire weekend in previous years. So it would appear to have been a successful weekend no matter what side of the aisle you were on.

One can only assume, especially when you take into consideration all of the announcements about the growth of racing and racing venues in Canada during this year’s show, that next year we will see even more outreach for this “little show that could”.

I can’t stress enough how informative and enjoyable the discussion panels and Q&A’s are, especially if you’re a race fan. The opportunity to speak with drivers and industry leaders in a casual setting in the off season, when they aren’t bogged down by the stresses of the season yet, is invaluable, and rare.
Unfortunately, my trusty digital recorder decided he had had enough this year, and failed me on two occasions over the weekend, otherwise you would hear a complete example of what you missed. Trust me. They were phenomenal discussions! But hey, maybe that is better. Maybe that is what will convince you to pop up and check out the show next year for yourself.

Anyway, here are a few shots from the weekend.  (will upload a gallery elsewhere later, as FB pic resolutions are shite)

I didn’t take too many general show pics this year, as I was too busy meeting, greeting, listening and hobnobbing! But I did manage some from the presentations I was able to enjoy.

I will also be posting an interview I did with the Mayor of Hinchtown 😉 later this week. Always great to chat with that boy. Feel like I’ve watched him grow up before my eyes.

EDIT: OH Eureka! So, turns out I did manage to capture all but a little bit at the end of the Media Panel Discussion on Saturday! I will figure out how to upload it so you can hear it.

Also, Stephanie from More Front Wing managed to capture the Q&A from Hinch so head over there and have a listen to that!  (Thanks for choosing one of my pics for your story Steph! 😉 )

So there ya go! Another year under our belts to kick off what is setting up to be a pretty damned exciting racing season for all genres of racing, both here in North America, and across the pond!

Thanks again to everyone at Inside Track magazine, specifically Greg MacPherson, for their hard work putting this show together and assistance on site! See you next year!

2 more days til MY sports season begins

alright… Got all of that Football stuff out of your system?

Good, because now it’s time to concentrate on some real sports entertainment! Racing and Cars!

That’s right, over the course of the next week, things kick off in a big way, especially here in Toronto.

First up, this weekend is the annual Canadian Motorsports Expo, or CME as it’s known in these parts. In a stroke of genius, the powers that be decided to push the date from it’s usual dreary January weekend, to the second weekend in February.

Why is this important? Well, a number of reasons, but the main one being it’s close proximity to the Canadian International Auto Show (that kicks off next Thursday, and I’ll be there too) This makes it a great lead in to the automotive season here in Toronto. Plus, the football season is done (apparently they played their last game during the Madonna concert last weekend) leaving a good portion of the male population wanting something to do on the weekend besides tackle their “honey-do list” 😉 And, though they could never have predicted this, the weather has been ridiculously pleasant this winter. (of course now that I’ve said that, there will be Snowmageddon this weekend)

At first glance at the handy electronic version of the show program
There looks to be a much larger presence this year. The layout appears to have changed substantially, and there certainly appears to be a larger corporate footprint mixed in with the smaller “mom & pop” operations.

What am I looking forward to? The discussion!
Yes, it’s the annual meeting of the motorsports minds. The who’s who of Canadian (Ontarian?) motorsports journalists hold a Q & A panel each year (Saturday), while I, the “who the fuck is that chick?” of Canadian motorsports journalists, sits in the audience and heckles… er “asks questions” 😉
There are actually things to talk about this year! In years previous, much of the discussion at the CME amongst my colleagues and friends amounted to nothing more than speculation because as you well know, other than the mega teams, very few deals are signed, sealed and delivered in January. This year of course was a bit of an anomaly as teams were eager to secure drivers sooner rather than later to take advantage of the limited testing of the new car, a time sensitive priority with the first race 46 days away. (not that I’m counting… but I’m counting)

Speaking of the new car; you can get up close and personal with the DW12 at the show courtesy of the Honda Indy Toronto, who themselves will once again have a presence after a year absent from the show. Come down, ask about the car, ask about the race, get revved up for July!!

oh, right, you want to know about drivers?

Ya, they have those too! As is the case currently in North America, it’s all about NASCAR, (there really is no accounting for taste 😉 ) so much of the special guest action is NASCAR centric (hey, they’re probably footing most of the bill too, so good on them) This year features both CDN & US stars who will feature prominently throughout the weekend: Carl Edwards, Robert Yates, Randy LaJoie & Scott Steckly But don’t fret Open Wheel/Road racing fans, CME stalwart Ron Fellows will be there again (should be interesting to pick his brain about Mosport) and the most important feature, for me anyway, up and coming open wheel SUPERSTAR (though he’s always been one in my book) James Hinchcliffe! (he’s there on Sunday)

So, it looks like I will spend a good portion of my weekend on the fricken Go-Bus to and from downtown to the fricken boonies about behind the Airport to the International Centre. (my biggest complaint about this show, especially as a non-driver) (no, the irony of that is not lost on me) On the bright side, at least I know once I’m there, I will have plenty of sights and sounds to occupy my time! But don’t just take my word for it, come check it out for yourself!

And be sure to say HI! if you’re down there. Tweet me a hello @whatimthinking