Monday, September 18, 2023

1977 – Hansen Grabs Thunder Bay Title


Thunder Bay, Ontario (September 18, 1977) – Curt Hansen of Dike, Iowa, was the big winner at the Canadian Dirt Track Championships, held at Riverview Raceway.

Hansen took home $2,000 for his efforts in the 50-lap late model feature on the 3/8-mile mile dirt oval.

Sunday’s late model feature began under cloudy skies, with Hansen jumping immediately into the lead. On lap 4, Punky Manor of Altoona, Wis., bumped Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, sending them both into a spin and bringing out the yellow flag.

The race would be halted one lap later when heavy rain began to fall. The shower lasted 20 minutes but it caused a two-hour delay to dry the track.

Hansen was still on top when racing resumed, with John Jones of Thunder Bay now pressuring Hansen for the lead.

On lap 14, Axel Dahlberg of Mauston, Wis., had the engine on his Camaro blow. As he slowed to enter turn one, his car went into a spin, turning in a complete circle. A fast-approaching Ed Sanger went high to avoid Dahlberg, but the door was closed when Dahlberg slid to the outside of the track. Sanger hit Dahlberg’s driver’s side. Sanger’s car was not damaged enough and continued while Dahlberg’s car was badly damaged and unable to continue.

Hansen maintained his lead on the ensuing restart. He quickly opened up a six-car-length advantage over Jones. Sanger, who got his position back after the Dahlberg incident, would get by Jones for second place on lap 17.

He would have nothing for Hansen, however, who would increasing his lead by a full straightaway by the halfway mark and win by almost 25-car-lengths at the finish, with Sanger taking runner-up honors.

Tom Steuding of Altoona, Wis., put on a performance that was one of the highlights of the afternoon. He began the feature in the 21st starting position, having finished second in one of the two semi-features to get into the field. Steuding quickly moved through the pack to take fifth by lap 12, fourth on lap 31, and on lap 46 he got by Jones to take over third.

Following the Iowa drivers and Steuding were Jones, Dick Schiltz of Waterloo, Iowa, and Red Steffen of Eau Claire, Wis.

Results –

1. Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
2. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
3. Tom Steuding, Altoona, Wis.
4. John Jones, Thunder Bay
5. Dick Schiltz, Waterloo, Iowa
6. Red Steffen, Eau Claire, Wis.

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