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2005 Chicago Banquet

Monday November 28, 2005


Saturday Nov. 26th was a Great Evening. I was invited along with Kevin Cornett, who is my right hand man at our Valpo Races, to attend the Annual Speedway Fan Club-Jaskolka Banquet in Chicago Illinois. It was held at the Chateau Ritz which is a very elegant facility.

This group of 200+ Polish Speedway Fans are dedicated to the Team Unia Tarnow, of which World Champion Tony Rickardsson and Tomasz Gollob ride for. Each year they invite different team members to attend this wonderful evening.

This year's honored guests, are shown in one of the following photos. The Head Trainer/Coach on the left, two young riders in uniform and one kneeling.

As I have been branded the "local speedway promoter", they treated my friend and I to great night. I was called up to be presented with a nice badge, that makes me an honorary member of their club, and later in the evening was allowed to make my own presentation of three "Awards of Appreciation.

They were presented to Artur (my Polish friend/rider who got me interested in speedway), Andy (who personally wallpapered Chicago with Valpo Speedway Posters), and Richard (The President of Speedway Fanclub-Jaskolka). Though the majority of the evening was spoken in Polish we certainly enjoyed this Gala Event.

The organizers made arrangements (which I still can't believe) with the Chateau Ritz owners to allow the two speedway bikes in the Banquet Hall. The two young riders rode in, and made four mock laps around the large dance floor. They then backed the bikes up to the front stage, and leaning forward wound the bikes up as if waiting for the gates to pop. The entire Hall filled with alcohol and castor smoke.

It was Awesome, and all the people dressed in evening wear just about went through the roof with excitement. They were like ants on sugar, all taking turns getting their picture taken with their heroes. My buddy Kevin laughingly said he'd been to many racing dinners, but never seen anything like this.

All in all it was a very inspiring evening, and we both agreed that if the American fan base grew to be like the Polish people, Speedway would certainly give NASCAR a run its money in the ratings.

At Midnight we left with our stomachs full of Polish Beer and Food, and started our trip back to Indiana. We both laughed and talked about it all the way home.
The next morning my Wife and Son both commented on how my suit smelled like the racetrack, and wanted to know why. "Hey, you had to have been there"!

I don't know why God blesses me with so much fun, but I'll just be thankful and not questions things. Hope you enjoyed this Tale of S-P-E-E-D-W-A-Y Fun!!

See Ya Soon

Drew Gatewood


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