Wednesday, June 26, 2013

An Evening with Louis Tocheri.....and more Lakehead Stock Car Club material......

After returning from a winter trip this year back in late April, my friend Ron Limbrick thought it would be nice to invite Louis Tocheri to one of our Monday coffee nights.  It was a great idea as Louis is still in great condition for a man of his years.  Well, Louis is Louis....a little rough around the edges and a little crass but he truly is a great guy.  His racing career encompassed the early years of the Lakehead Stock Car Club at the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition race track which most of you know is where the Golf Dome and Silver City Cineplex is today. 
Many of the photos in past blog posts show the Coliseum building in turn 1 and 2 which still stands today. 
There were only five of us there including Al Yahn, Den Winko, Ron, Louis of course and myself.  We will try to have more attend sometime during the summer or fall for a repeat visit.

They spelled Mervin "Merv" Dove's
name wrong in this clip.
This was the logo painted on Louis
Tocheri's car.

Literally thousands would attend the Wednesday evening racing during the summer months to see some great racing and a lot of bashing and crashing.  Many of the cars would end up in the river on the north side of the track and many others would end up ripping out hundreds of feet of wooden fence put there to stop the cheap skates from viewing the races for free from the outskirts of the track.  The outside onlookers were always happy when fence would be ripped down, as there would obviously be a huge gap to view the races. 
Many fights would break out and Louis himself would be involved most of the time.  Louis said that some of the fights were mocked up to attract fans but would usually end up in a real life brawl anyway.  Click on all photos and prints for enlargements.
Heeeerrr's Louis at the helm of his famous 1932 Ford Coupe #19, painted a bright orange with white numbers!

This is the original Lakehead Stock Car Club logo which stood the test of time for many years at the Exhibition race track
Extra open air seats were added as shown in the background
to accommodate more and more fans.

Getting ready for Wednesday Night Racing.
Here are a few more photos of Louis' orange #19.  Louis also had another nickname at the track.  He was called "The Witch Doctor".  Every time Louis would be involved in something, such as a fight or even a checkered flag win, you would hear the song ♪♫"Witch Doctor"♫♪♫ played over the loud speakers. Remember that one from the 1950's?
20 more feet and the car would be through the fence and in the

The picture on the right is a tongue in cheek photo showing none other than Tony Massaro, one of Louis' many rivals showing why Tocheri was winning all the's pretty much self explanatory. ☺

Here's Louis making a huge window for the free bee onlookers taking out a few more feet of fence.  The photo on the right is Louis receiving one of his many trophies for his racing days.  The lady here is unknown and if anyone knows who it is, please leave a comment to this post at the bottom or email me.

Louis was very happy when the much talented young mechanic Lorne Hay joined his team.

It truly was a family affair for the Tocheri family when it came to racing at the CLE, as shown in the news clipping here.  Note that the caption states the fact that Louis had a "fiery" career at the track and that he was definitely a "colourful" character.
This is the dual that everyone came to the CLE track to see......Louis Tocheri battling it out with Barry Kettering for the Checkered Flag.  I can still hear the engines roaring!!

Here's an 8mm film I had never seen before posted by Kevin Stieh on YouTube...If you watch closely, you will see Louis' orange 1932 Ford Coupe #19 mixing it up with Barry Kettering's red and white #57.  You will also see Lou dragged out of his car after an accident and collapse on the ground.  Those were the dangerous rough and tumble days at the CLE track, and it's lucky that pretty much everyone survived the local racing then.  Thanks Kevin!

Here is Louis as he looks today.....A colourful character WAS and still IS  !!

We'll see you again....real soon!
Be sure to go back through my blog archives for many more pictures and stories including Louis and many other Stock Car jockeys of the 1950's and 1960's.  Thanks to those who took these wonderful photos in the day and to those who have loaned many of them to post on the HR&J Blog.

No comments: