(August 9th, 2016) The Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter Division provides fans with some of the wildest racing you’ll ever see in the Geary Woods. This tough little division is an affordable form of racing that attracts drivers of all ages to Speedway 660. Bob Colquhoun is best known as the owner of Pub’s Drive Thru Bottle Exhange and sponsor of several drivers including Lonnie Sommerville. In this week’s Conversation we meet Bob, who goes by the name Grey Owl when he dons the racing suit!
A Conversation with Grey Owl
Wade: You don’t have to tell us how old you are if you don’t want to, but from my observations it appears as if you are the senior statesman of racing at Speedway 660. Tell us a little bit about your history in the sport and how and why you decided to get in a car yourself?
Grey Owl: I actually started my driving career in the mid 80’s at Hammond River Raceway in a Mechanics Race. Growing up in Anagance Ridge, being close to Riverglade, I was always a spectator there until the late 90’s when I got involved with the four cylinder class as a sponsor, and also raced there a few times. Then in 2008, I got involved with Lonnie Sommerville Racing as a primary sponsor. A few years later I bought a four cylinder car from Justin Cole to have some fun with and give a few drivers an opportunity to go racing. Then at the young age of 60, I decided to race full time and prove that you can have fun and race at any age.The “Grey Owl” loves the thrill of racing sharp shooters at Speedway 660. Part of the thrill is getting a little help from your friends and going slide-ways through the turns!
Wade: You look like you are having a lot of fun out there. I know you’ve watched a lot of racing over the years, but what’s it like to actually get out on the track and do it yourself?
Grey Owl: After you get rid of the jitters and the adrenaline kicks in, it’s a “Hoot” haha. It is a sport that becomes very addictive and keeps you looking forward to next Saturday night.The “Grey Owl” is living proof that you don’t have to slow down with age. At 60, this driver is going three-wide and faster than he’s gone in years!
Wade: Those little sharp shooter cars don’t have a lot of power and they are front wheel drive. That’s completely different from everything else we see on the track on Saturday night. How hard is it to drive those things?
Grey Owl: It’s probably no harder than the other divisions. It’s obviously slower than the other divisions but these cars slide around a bit more. It’s just about making the commitment, getting seat time and gaining experience. The goal each week is to improve from the previous week.The Grey Owl (#60) often finds himself out on the track with kids more than 40 years younger than he is, but that doesn’t stop him from racing hard and having a blast.
Wade: Everybody in the sharp shooter divisions seems like they are having lots of fun, but some drivers are pretty serious about getting to the Riverview Ford Victory Lane.
Grey Owl: It’s like any division, there are ultra competitive drivers and there are drivers who are out to learn and sharpen their skill set. Everyone has a common goal and that’s to park their car in the Riverview Ford Victory Lane.Life after 60! The Grey Owl is still hoping for a trip to victory lane, but he’s more interested in getting out on the track and enjoying his time in the driver’s seat.
Wade: You sponsor several drivers at Speedway 660. Last year two of them, Lonnie Sommerville and Randy Moore, won the pro stock and sportsman championships. That must have been awesome to help those guys achieve that kind of success.
Grey Owl: Over the Winter of 2015, I had a goal to achieve as a car owner. I grew up watching Frank Moore and Bill Sommerville race and wanted to help Randy and Lonnie win championships like their fathers. Among the four of them, they have over 100 years of racing experience and a lot of history in this sport. Last year, during those championship runs, it was almost like I was sitting beside Lonnie in his 23 and Randy in the 34. It was a dream come true and I was really proud to have played a small role in helping them win those titles. Bob Colquhoun (left) helped Randy Moore realize a lifelong dream in 2015. With Bob’s help Randy finally won a Speedway 660 Sportsman Championship. Bob was a big fan of Randy’s Dad, legendary driver Frank Moore, who won multiple championships at several race tracks in our region.
Wade: What is it about racing that pumps up your adrenaline as a fan, sponsor and now as a driver?
Grey Owl: As a fan and sponsor, I really enjoy helping young talent. I like giving drivers opportunities in a sport that is so unpredictable. When the green flag comes out to start a race no one knows the outcome and it is always very unpredictable until the checkered flag comes out. As a driver, I would have liked to be in this position 20 years ago, surrounded by the right people. But in my case it’s better late than never. At 60 years of age, I’ve got no regrets and I hope I’m showing folks that it’s never too late to go racin!One of Bob’s proudest moments in racing came on the 2015 Night of Champions. Bob (4th from the right), owner of Pub’s Drive Thru Bottle Exchange, helped Lonnie Sommerville win the Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stock Championship. Lonnie’s Dad Bill won the title back in 99.
Wade: I always ask our younger drivers what their future plans are in racing and most of them say they want to move up to sportsman or maybe even pro stock some day.
Grey Owl: That is to be determined. My wife Theresa “Mrs. Grey Owl” is showing some interested in wanting to try it. Racing may become a family affair, although I’m a little worried that she just might show me up if she decides to go racin.
Wade: Do Lonnie, Devin Snell, Matt Harris and the other guys you sponsor ever give you any advice?
Grey Owl: All of my drivers I’m associated with, including Curtis Collins, #27 sharp shooter, and his father, Corey, who built the car I drive, give me great support, advice and mentoring. Other sharp shooter drivers in this class, help me out a lot too. I want to thank all of them, because they are a real great bunch of people.Curtis Collins owes his racing career to Bob Colquhoun. Bob put Curtis into a go-kart a few years ago and now young Collins is one of the best sharp shooter drivers at 660.
Wade: What advice would you give to folks who have always wanted to get into a race car, but haven’t actually done it yet?
Grey Owl: I would strongly advise anyone with interest to rent the track, borrow or rent a car and give it a try. It’s never too late to experience the thrill of being on the edge and getting an adrenaline rush.The Grey Owl says anyone who has ever thought about driving a race care should give it a try. Speedway 660’s entry level sharp shooter division is a perfect place to start even though it gets a little sketchy out there at times!
Wade: Thanks for doing this Bob, whoops I mean Grey Owl. I hope you continue to race hard and have fun out there and remember to keep the 60 out of the rhubarb!
Grey Owl: Always a pleasure, Wade. I’d like to thank Fredericton Gun Shop for their support of the sharp shooter division. I also want to thank the Roy and Foley families for the work they do at Speedway 660 and giving us a place to race. Thanks also goes out to the 660 staff, the sponsors and especially the fans. And thanks for giving me the chance to do this interview. It’s now time for The Grey Owl to sign off and work on his race car. “Hoot, Hoot”.