9:30 a.m., Aug. 5)
of Sarsfield garages to figure prominently in Navan Fair
By Fred Sherwin
Gravelle, who has been competing in demolition
derbies for the past 17 years, will be taking
part in the Navan Fair demolition derby tonight
and tomorrow night. Fred Sherwin/Photo
the cars line up for the first of two nights of demolition
derby action tonight at the Navan Fair, two of the competitors
will be from a pair of Sarsfield garages that have a long
history in the sport -- one a grizzled veteran, and the
other a relative newby.
Gravelle has been slamming and banging in demolition derbies
for the past 17 years. He's won the Navan Fair V8 derby
five times, but has never won the four cylinder division
which is traditionally held on the Thursday night.
Weir competed in the Navan Fair derby for the first time
last year. A loose terminal post on his battery brought
his night to an early end in just the first heat. This
year he's hoping to make it into the final with a 1994
Honda Civic that's been prepped by retired derby veterans
Allan Brennan and Roy Collier from Brennan's Automotive.
has been out of the game for more than 10 years now, while
Brennan will be skipping the derby for the first time
in nearly 20 years under doctor's orders.
can't even talk about," says Brennan in a mix of
exasperation, frustration and disappointment.
the fact that both he and Collier are no longer competing,
Brennan has plenty of advice for Weir.
key is patience and knowing when to take your shots. You
can't go in there and just run into everything in sight,"
says Brennan, who is a five-time winner of the Navan Fair
who has a reputation for being patient and picking his
shots agrees. Having eyes in the back of your head also
need to have your head on a swivel or else you'll get
smoked," says Gravelle, who recently won a prestigious
demolition derby in St-Chrysostome, Quebec in the Eastern
at its most base the demolition derby is all about crashing
and banging, it takes dozens of hours of work to properly
prep a car to increase your chances of getting through
the heats and into the final.
of the biggest changes to the demolition derby circuit
over the years has been the shift in the average family
car from big gas guzzling V8s to gas efficient and environmentally
friendly four cylinder vehicles.
derby drivers need scrap cars in order to compete. As
the availability of V8 vehicles steadily declines, more
drivers are getting out of the division in favour of the
smaller cars because there more of them.
or 20 years ago you would see 50 or 60 V8s at Navan and
now your down to less than a dozen. They're getting more
scarce every year," says Collier.
their more complicated fuel injection systems, electronics
and on board computers, smaller four cylinder cars take
a lot more time to prep. They're also a lot harder on
can get banged up pretty good in a four cylinder because
there's not as much protection. You have a lot less car
around you. Some of those guys are going to climb out
of their car pretty sore," says Collier.
everyone preps their car differently, there are some basic
rules that need to be followed -- the windows and mirrors
all have to be removed. The fuel system needs to be moved
inside the body and the doors, hood and trunk lid all
have to be chained shut.
modifications can include swapping the original motor
for one that doesn't overheat as easily and has more horsepower.
Swapping the differential and rear axle for one that is
less likely to snap. And reinforcing the body panels by
rolling over the top and bottom to create a stronger tubular
in the four cylinder division will get under way tonight
at 7 p.m. while a special Hyundai Sante Fe division has
been added to the V8 card tomorrow night featuring SUVs
sponsored by Pathway Hyundai n Orléans.
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business
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