The racing off season has been a sad one for race fans in the area. Three men who were involved in area dirt track racing in different ways have passed from this life recently. It was not until recently that I learned that David Guymon, from Keokuk, Iowa passed away on September 28. David was a fixture along with his wife in their bag chairs behind the turn one bleachers most Sunday nights at Quincy Raceways. Although in failing health, he was always ready to talk racing until the engines fired. Although Quincy may have been his " home track, " he could be seen in the bleachers at many tracks such as West Liberty, Iowa, and Wheatland, Mo. He kept close tabs on his favorite driver, Tommy Elston. His death came one day before the season finale at QR. Unfortunately, as with so many race track friends, we lose touch during the off season and did not hear of his passing for several months. Loyal fans like David are special, and he will be missed.
On January 8, a true dirt track legend departed this world. Ernie Derr, one of the " Keokuk Comets, " died at age 92. Ernie was the king of the original IMCA, winning over 300 sanctioned features in the 50's, 60's and 70s. Along the way, he collected 12 IMCA national championships, and captured many other events, including several USAC checkers. Ernie lived across the street from my elementary school, and I remember well taking a detour down the alley to peek in his immaculate garage after school to get a peek at his 1963 Pontiac # 1. Memories of him duking it out with fellow hometowners Ramo Stott, Dick Hutcherson, and Don White will always be special for me. His passing garnered national attention and was accompanied by much deserved praise.
Just yesterday, January 20, I received an e-mail from crewman Paul Jones that Hannibal, Missouri racer Jim Brown had passed away at the too young age of 54. Jim had raced for 30 plus years, wheeling the sharp looking # 83 bomber/hobby stock at Quincy Raceways until the class was discontinued. The veteran then turned his attention to the Randolph County Raceway in Moberly, Mo., where he captured the 2013 hobby stock championship. He spent his Sunday nights in 2013 as a spectator at Quincy, and always took time to stop and update me on his Saturday night at Moberly. Jim was a rare type who was both proud when he did well, but had no trouble admitting if he messed up. I think he was pleased that we made it to Moberly last season to watch him race, and he was also proud of his track title.
Although these three men followed different paths to the race track, they were all an important part of our dirt track family and will be remembered often and missed dearly. RIP, David, Ernie, and Jim.