OVIDE DOIRON INDUCTED INTO THE DIRT MOTORSPORTS HALL OF FAME AS A PIONEER IN RACING
By Gary Spaid & Joel Doiron
Ovide Doiron was born in Shediac, New Brunswick on the 22nd of September 1940. It is from this date as to where the #40 originated. He will turn 72 years of age this year.
He started his racing career on asphalt at the Riverside Speedway (Montreal area) in 1958, in a NASCAR affiliated division. During this time he worked on the cars owned by the track owners. One incident he recollects is having the throttle stick (probably because of the seven carburetors linked together!!) and flew off the first turn. When the safety officials got to the car, it was broken in half and Ovide was suffering from a few broken bones.
After a few years passed and he found his love for dirt track racing and ran the Hobby/Late Model class at the Quebec tracks of Granby, Drummondville, Sherbrooke, Farnham and in Ontario at Maxville and Alexandria.
In the early 70’s, he got his start in the modified type cars driving for Eugene Lamarche, a candy apple red car at track such as Cornwall, Brockville, Kingston and Fort Covington. One of the cars was a former Pat O’Brien Sr. car. He competed against past greats such as Pat O’Brien Sr., Walt Pennock, Tony Blake and Denzil Billings.
In 1974, he purchased a Dexter Door car and picked up 38 feature wins at a combination of tracks; Kingston, Brockville, Cornwall, Watertown, Can-Am and Fort Covington. It was Fort Covington’s final year of operation and he won 18 of the 20 shows. In one of the feature events, he was approaching the finish line and was clipped by a lap car, sending him into the guard rail, then up and backward across the line, tearing down the flag stand landing wheels down on the track and declared the winner. It was from this incident that he received the nick name of “The Flying Frenchman”.
He has garnered around 25 track championships and 300 wins over the years but he is unsure of how many of those were under the DIRT banner. To set the record straight, Ovide has won 37 DIRT sanctioned features at Can Am, Cornwall, Edelweiss and Mohawk speedways. One of his most notable DIRT experiences is winning four features in a row at Mohawk in 1989. It was in this year he finished second in overall small block victories to Pat O’Brien.
His expertise in engine building led him to prepare powerplants for several drivers over the years, including Dave Heaslip, Mark Hitchcock, Pierre Dagenais (of which Bob & Tim McCreadie drove his cars), Pat O’Brien’s first years as a driver/owner, the late Sheldon Legue (Doug Carlyle), Tony Corcoran (Mr. DIRT Champion) and Eric & Denis Gauvreau to name a few. To this day, he continues to build motors and offers advice and support to many local drivers that he mentored into the sport.
In 1998, he celebrated his 40th anniversary in racing by saluting the fans with an appreciation message on the car. The racing fans were one of his most important assets. He was voted the “Most gentlemanly” driver on several occasions by the fans and cherishes these awards the most. In 2001, he was inducted in the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame http://www.glengarrysports.com/cgi-win/sports2aaf.html?LISTING=7010
Although he never claimed a Mr DIRT crown, he did come close on a few occasions. In 1989, Pat O’Brien beat him by 2 points in the last race at Flemington.
Ovide has always been a supporter of racing by sponsoring various specials put on by local tracks, with contingencies and race event sponsorships.
One racer he is very close to and truly respects is Bob McCreadie. Both have had many good races back in the day at Can-Am. Bob once said, “If people respect me when I retired with half the respect they have for Ovide, I’ll of had a great career”
At 71, he still puts in long days in the shop, never refusing to help a stranded racer who needs his motor ready for the next race. He is considered the “Pioneer” of racing in Eastern Ontario and has introduced the sport to many.