Vernon’s Roy Clissold

Vernon’s Roy Clissold

Vernon senior back on the track

It has been 44 years since Roy Clissold last burned rubber on a race track.

It has been 44 years since Roy Clissold last burned rubber on a race track.

The 70-year-old racing buff will be back in the driver’s seat Saturday night at the MotoPlex Speedway and Events Park as he relaunches his career in the Hornet class.

“After 44 years of sitting back and watching races from the bleachers, and on TV, it’s time for one last fling,” said Clissold. “My wife (Leslie), son (Glen) and I opened an Aaron’s (Furniture) franchise in Vernon four years ago, and since Aaron’s is heavily involved in NASCAR racing in the U.S., we felt it would only be fitting to get involved in the local racing scene.”

Over the last four years, the Clissolds have sponsored Summerland’s Sarah Cornett-Ching in the Street Stock and Sportsman series in her No. 99 Aaron’s Dream Machine.

Clissold has been involved in racing since the early 1960s, officiating Formula One, Can-Am, Trans Am and USAC events. He was the head official at the only FIM Grand Prix motorcycle race ever held in Canada, in 1967.

Clissold has built his Hornet class car to resemble the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driven by Batesville, Ariz.’s Mark Martin in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He will also wear a custom-made Oakley replica Mark Martin fireproof driving suit.

“Motoplex Speedway is one of the finest short track racing ovals on the continent, and it is a pleasure to compete on the D-shaped track,” said Clissold, whose son Glen will be sharing driving duties throughout the race season. The two will take turns at the wheel of a Toyota Celica.

“It’s different for me as I have only driven on road courses before.”

This will be Glen’s debut in racing full-sized cars.

“If we like the competitive racing, we will have a couple of new cars built for us over next winter instead of sharing a car,” said Glen. “We would like to see the Hornet class increase in numbers; it’s a really affordable way to go racing and a lot of fun.”

Hornet class cars have four cylinders and are allowed only limited modifications, which makes them ideal for beginner racers.

Roy is issuing a challenge to other race enthusiasts to get in on the action.

“The average enthusiast can get into racing at the entry level for less than $2,000. You’re never too old to have more fun.”

The Saturday speedway event also features NSRA sprint car challenge, Okanagan dwarf cars and street stocks. Gates open at 5 p.m., with qualifying at 5:30 and racing at 6:30. Tickets are $25 ($20 for youth and adults), and children under 12 are free. For more information, visit www.motoplexspeedway.com.