Drawn to his first out-of-town races by the challenge of new competition, one Terrace speedway racer says he was shocked and thrilled to win two medals in Penticton recently.
“When the race finished, I didn’t even know I was in second place,” said Jesse Goddard about the main race for the B Hornets Class (aka bombers) in Penticton.
“I went back into the pits and all of a sudden the flag guy ran over and said I got second place,” he said, adding that there were 17 other cars so the track was pretty chaotic.
“I was just focusing on racing, I wasn’t really focusing on winning.”
The Gordie Mannes Memorial races were on July 30-31, and Goddard said it did not start out very good.
“I couldn’t get any traction in the corners, and I was sliding all over the track,” he said, adding that he finished last in that trophy dash.
“It was more of a learning race for me… I had to change a few things on my car.”
Past experience told him the issue was tire pressure, so he tweaked the pressure a bit on either side on his 1995 Honda Civic before taking it into the 10-lap heat race where he won first.
“I think I started in fourth or fifth place. I started in the back. It took me about three laps to get into first place,” he said.
“I kept moving up, I kept passing every one. My car was sticking to the track so good I didn’t have to move around. I got faster and faster every lap. I was just so happy my tires weren’t sliding any more.”
In the main race, Goddard raced against 17 other cars and he said it was chaos with so many cars burning around the track at the same time. He finished second and his best time was 17.629 seconds.
The second day, July 31, Goddard raced again, but had a lot of car troubles, and finished fifth of 16 racers.
Having grown up in Terrace, Goddard has been speedway racing for close to six years.
“I went out with my grandma and my dad [to Terrace speedway races]. She goes every race day, she won’t miss a day. I always enjoyed it and always said when I was older I wanted to do it.”
Six years ago, Goddard bought a 1997 Chevy Cavalier already set up for racing for $500.
He raced with that car until 2013, when he was involved in a bad crash.
“I got hit really bad in Terrace. I got thrown out to the side, rolled it,” he said.
Goddard pulled a lot of muscles in his back and neck, having forgotten his neck brace, and took a year off racing to recover.
After that, he bought his Honda Civic and hit the track again.
“I just like the rush of it,” he said about why he races.
“It’s a great little hobby. I’ve always been into cars all my life. I like going fast too.”
Goddard has been in the stands in Penticton numerous times with his uncle and cousins who live in Kelowna, but this year was his first time in the pits.
“This would be a fun track, there’s way more cars and it looks way more competitive. I always thought it would be fun to try something new… It was a huge new challenge really.”
He will race again in Penticton in the Eve of Destruction race August 28, and then will join Terrace speedway racers for Demo Day on September 11.