An urban gearhead’s first motorsports camping experience

261750_10151627572021187_1623090256_nMotorsports camping is a relatively foreign concept in my world.

Unlike most families growing up in the 80’s, the idea of camping, cottaging and vacation in general were pretty foreign to my Canadian-Chinese family. My childhood summers and weekends consisted of additional piano lessons, fast-track science and math classes, and the occasional cross-border trip to Buffalo.

So when Shelby, one of our instructors in training, pitched the idea to go motorsports camping at Mosport for the Victoria Day Speed Fest weekend, I enthusiastically agreed, although wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. 

Fast forward four months later, we found ourselves at the top of the hill on the outside of turn two at the newly renovated Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. What better place to try motorsports camping than at a facility with brand new bathrooms?

Day one consisted of scouting and securing a spot, and setting up our tents, air mattresses and BBQ.

As the team started to arrive, the sound of practice sessions set the tone for the weekend as drivers in the Porsche GT3 Cup, Canadian Touring Car Championship, TransAm Series and Nascar Canadian Tire Series hit the track for the first time.

Friday night, we decided a track walk was in order and we found ourselves jumping over fences and crawling over tires while admiring the newly paved asphalt between turns two and five. It was a great chance to see the track up close, and for the team to break down and strategize some of the most technical components of the track.

By the time we made it back to the campsite, the sun had set, and our position at the top of the hill provided little to no protection from the wind that was fiercely blowing. After roasted marshmallows, a few drinks, and some great stories, we all turned in for the night.

We thought we were prepared, but Mother Nature had something else in mind. Who said motorsports camping was going to be easy?

Arctic. That pretty much describes my first motorsports camping experience.

While the temperatures picked back up to the mid-twenties the next day, and the rest of the group appeared unaffected by the icy nights, I remained in my layers of boots, long-sleeves and winter jackets, unable to shake off the cold in my bones from the night before.

The racing however, made up for it. The “motorsports” part of my motorsports camping experience was definitely agreeing with me more than the “camping” was.

The sounds of the Porsche GT3 cars zooming by our campsite at 8 o’clock in the morning was a brilliant and thrilling way to wake up from a cold nights sleep. Quite frankly, that experience alone made the cold nights of motorsports camping worth it.

Highlights also included celebrating with the Honda Canada factory team, and driver Scott Nicol in his first doubleheader win and meeting Amy Ruman, Trans Am Cup’s first female series-winning champion.

The pulled pork, festive music, and ice cream trucks weren’t that bad either.

When all was said and done, my very first motorsports camping experience was a success and I know there will be plenty more to come.

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Anna He is the President CEO of Team SGR, an active instructor in the community, and works in marketing when she’s not on the track. Anna hails from Markham, Ontario and currently races a 1989 Honda CRX.