We're a running this year's Looking Back, Looking Forward column a little later than we originally planned. 2015 was a tough year for us, and this was a bit difficult to write at times.
As with any racing season, 2015 started out with a lot of optimism. It was our first full year with the new website, we had made a lot of upgrades to the site to get it where we wanted, our first video from the Canadian International Auto Show in February, hosted by Craig Robertson, went really well, and we were looking forward to expanding our video content, especially with our new partnership with Expo Systems.
We also added a number of new categories, including Photography to give some insight into shooting pictures at the track, and International to cover Canadian racing alumni, plus give some press to non-Canadian stories that we thought were either overlooked, particularly interesting, or if we just plain liked them.
We had a great response to our article on the the 30th anniversary of the Spenard-David Racing School, which we intended to follow up with a series of articles with others from the school sharing their experiences. That didn't happen (yet), with the explanation below.
Also new for 2015 was the Expo Systems Stage set up at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, for interviews with any and all involved with the race weekend. We got some great interviews, but one thing we really didn't factor in was how out of touch with the actual racing we would be, which definitely affected our coverage on some of the major weekends from CTMP. We hope to continue this program again in 2016, with a re-think and some changes so our general coverage doesn't get affected as much.
The Honda Indy was a pretty good event for us, with Chris appearing live on CTV News Network on Saturday morning to talk about the race and the safety of the Indy Car Series.
After the Indy, things started going down hill, starting with hurting my back on a rare day off at home, that still isn't right to this day.
Things got a lot worse when some web site component upgrades we attempted shortly after the Indy went really, really wrong and had the site down off and on for a few days, including right before the IMSA race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, making for a very stressful time. We found ourselves chasing these problems which, from time to time, affected site availability for the rest of the summer until we finally got it all sorted in early September. Most of our spare time during July and August was spent dealing with these issues.
Then, as bad as things seemed to be to this point, they got immeasurable worse on the August Civic long weekend when my sister passed away, very suddenly, without any warning.
Needless to say, this was a difficult time, and racing was not high on my priority list. I knew this was going to change an already difficult year and make it much worse.
At this point, it would have been easy for us to simply take a break and shut down for a few months. Easy, but not justified. If this was simply a hobby or fan site, then taking break when the going gets tough, or things don't go your way, is fine, and even to be expected. But that was never an option for us.
So we put our heads down and battled through. It wasn't perfect, we definitely missed some things, left some content unpublished, but we were at all the races, we were posting on the web and posting on social media, keeping our readers as up to date as possible. It wasn't easy, but we were there, and we got through it.
With everything happening last year, we ended up with a lot of content that we didn't publish, and we are going to work on getting it all up, starting shortly after the Rolex 24 at Daytona and hopefully having it all up by start of the Canadian racing season.
We've got some really great stories about the Spenard David Racing School, including a great article from Joe Kirklin and a couple of audio interviews with Richard Spenard and David Empringham, so look for those to be coming out in February.
We also have some video's we didn't get a chance to finish, and we'll aim to get to those before the start of the Canadian racing season as well, plus we have another Photographer Profile of John Larsen, who shot some great stuff for us last year, that will be up in the not-to-distant future.
It's a new year now, and we're moving ahead full speed to make 2016 our best season yet with our most ambitious schedule ever.
We got out to all of the regionals (except Calabogie, something that might change this year), but looking at the 2016 schedule, I'm not sure that's going to happen, as there are a few conflicts. I'd love to know who thought it was a good idea to schedule a regional race at Shannonville on the same weekend as the IMSA race at Candian Tire Motorsport Park. As much as we would love to get to Shannonville again this season, it's not going to happen in 2016, which is a shame, because this was the event dubbed the Bay Of Quinte Grand Prix, and looked like the start of something good returning to Shannonville.
The first race of the new season is just a couple of days away, so let's get to it, and make 2016 (the 10th year of RaceCanada I might add...) the best season yet.