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Wheels of life

Manitoba Motorcycle Ride for Dad ready to roll

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Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press Motorcyclists leave Polo Park to take part in last year�s Ride For Dad. Organizers anticipate about 1,600 riders will take part in the ride tomorrow that travels from Winnipeg to Gimli to raise funds and awareness in the fight against prostate cancer.

More than 1,600 local motorcycle enthusiasts will band together tomorrow for the seventh annual Manitoba Motorcycle Ride for Dad (MFRD) in support of prostate cancer research and education. To date, the local leg of this national event has raised more than $860,000, with all proceeds staying right here in Manitoba.

The ride raises funds and awareness for the fight against prostate cancer. The first ride took place in Ottawa in 2000 and has since grown to become the biggest motorcycle fundraising event of its kind, with rides in nearly 40 Canadian cities. Nationally, an estimated 265,000 men, women and children have raised more than $13 million to fight prostate cancer.

According to a recent press release, each ride, including our local leg, is led by a national advisory board, the Canadian Police Association, and volunteer executive committees in each of the event cities. Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries is the regional presenting sponsor and Telus is the national sponsor.

Funds are raised by riders collecting pledges. Non-riders assist the cause by making donations directly to the ride, or by supporting an individual rider. National and local sponsors underwrite the cost of organizing the events.

Here in Manitoba the ride committee includes members of the Winnipeg Police Association (WPA) and the local business community. WPA president, Maurice Sabourin is the co-chair of the MRFD and has been co-chair since its inception in 2009. Fellow police officer Kirk Van Alstyne is the other co-chair and he has also been with MRFD since 2009. Volunteers include police officers, …

Swap meet set for Sunday willy williamson / winnipeg free press files

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THE Manitoba Classic and Antique Auto Club and the Red River Exhibition Association on Sunday present the 18th annual Red River Valley Swap Meet. You can expect to find a huge assortment of automobile and motorcycle parts, collectibles, memorabilia, vintage toys and literature at this massive outdoor sale.

The event takes place at Red River Exhibition Park, rain or shine, on Sunday May 10 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event includes a swap meet, a corral of vintage vehicles for sale, and show-and-shine car show.

Vendor spaces for the swap meet and vintage vehicles for sale spaces are $10 each for the day. Vendor registration will start at 6:30 a.m.

General gate admissions are $5 for the day, children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.

The show-and-shine is open to all vehicles 25 years and older, street rods, modified and special-interest vehicles. Vehicles and drivers are admitted free, all other passengers pay general gate admission.

The swap meet supports Winnipeg Harvest. Please bring a non-perishable food item or donation.

For additional information please contact Gord Brunette at (204) 222-2298. For vendor information contact Mort McKechnie at (204) …

Motoring through time

Manitoba Motorsports Hall of Fame inducts three new members

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The 2015 Manitoba Motorsports Hall of Fame inductees, left to right, Warren Schettler, Paul Germain and Ken MacKenzie. The trio were inducted at Piston Ring�s annual World of Wheels car show.

Ken MacKenzie

The name Ken MacKenzie is synonymous with drag racing in Manitoba; he has been involved in the sport for more than 60 years. MacKenzie began his working career in the parts department at Carter Motors. He then worked for Boeing, Air Canada and Controlled Environment and was later a self employed project and operations management consultant, before officially retiring in 2004.

MacKenzie's love for cars began before he got his driver's licence. In 1957 he purchased a 1946 Ford and then a 1931 Chevrolet five window coupe that was a homebuilt hot rod. This was one of Winnipeg's first hot rods and he kept it until 1961. In 1962 MacKenzie bought a 1955 Chev 210 sedan and swapped in a fuel-injected Corvette 327 engine and a BorgWarner four-speed transmission. That car was raced throughout Ontario at Niagara, Cayuga, and St. Thomas and also at Minnesota Dragways.

In 1964 Keystone Dragways opened in Winnipeg and MacKenzie was a regular competitor and winner there. Additional performance upgrades were made to his 1955 Chevy in 1967 and MacKenzie went on to race in National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) meets throughout the United States. In 1968 MacKenzie won his first NHRA meet in Denver, setting a national record. By season's end he had amassed the most points of all division leaders nationwide. He finished the year at the World Finals in Tulsa, Okla., reaching the semi finals.

MacKenzie went on to race a 1969 AMX Super Stock car and a 1970 Chevrolet Camaro, …

Final Sunday night cruise at Pony Corral

The final cruise event of the season takes place Sunday at the Pony Corral's Grant Park location. Organizers anticipate more than 500 antique, classic and special interest vehicles, as well as a sweet lineup of motorcycles, will pack the lot. Hosted by the Fabulous 50's Ford Club of Manitoba and Willy's Garage, the event runs from 4 p.m to 10 p.m. In addition to all the beautiful vehicles, you can also expect great food, classic music and a sea of smiling faces. For the final event of the season the front parking lot will feature vehicles owned by members of the Fabulous 50's Ford Club of Manitoba. This legendary local car club has done a terrific job organizing Sunday night cruises at the Pony Corral all summer long. To cap off the season thousands of dollars worth of great prizes donated by sponsors that include Rondex and Piston Ring will be given away at 9 p.m.

For more details check out or


--Willy …

Ready, set, GO!

Tomorrow evening Red River College will host its annual alumni banquet, aptly titled GO! This year the theme is transportation and the event will be held at the college's Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre (HETC), located at the Notre Dame campus.

Tickets are $75 per person with proceeds being donated to HETC. The doors open at 6 p.m., and the bash is open to all RRC alumni. Highlights will include live music performed by RRC students and alumni, dinner stations featuring food prepared by RRC Chefs of Distinction and a slider competition where guests can vote on their favourite mini burger created by industry and culinary professionals.

The Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre, one of RRC's newest training facilities, will be decked out for the evening in a transportation theme that promises to deliver a fun-filled night.

For more information call 204-632-2359 or email .

Tickets can be purchased online at

--Willy …

Wide Open House

Tomorrow the crew at Harley-Davidson Winnipeg, located at 1377 Niakwa Rd. East, is hosting their annual Wide Open House from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to an opportunity to tour the dealership, the event will also feature a live band and a show and shine that is open to all makes and models of motorcycles. Owners of classic and special interest vehicles are also encouraged to attend. The entire day is free for both spectators and show and shine participants. Everyone entered in the bike show has a chance to win trophies in more than a dozen categories. Voting is done by the crowd. Free participant dash plaques will also be handed out to the first 100 entries. For more details call 204-254-3974.

--Willy …

Paws to the Pedal

Anh Ly, at left with German Shepard puppy Bruno, is the brainchild behind Paws to the Pedal, a car show that is encouraging vehicle owners and spectators to bring along their furry friends for a day of fun. "So many people in the local car scene have pets, so it just seemed like a natural fit to create an event where people can show off their amazing cars and their beautiful pets while raising money for the Winnipeg Humane Society," said Ly. The show takes place tomorrow at the parking grounds between Ikea and Cabela's on Kenaston Blvd. The fun starts at 9 a.m., when vehicle owners and their pets roll in for registration. The gates officially open to the public at 11 a.m. and the show runs until 6 p.m. Car owners wishing to participate are asked to bring $10 for the registration fee, 100 per cent of which will be donated to the Winnipeg Humane Society. There will also be a donation box on site in support of the Winnipeg Humane Society. Car owners and spectators are encouraged to bring pets of all shapes, sizes and species out for the day. "The show and shine is also open to any and all makes of classic or special interest vehicles," added Ly, who owns this pristine 1983 Sprinter Trueno.

--Willy …

Riding for a reason

Ride for the Breath of Life is an annual motorcycle event in support of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. Riders from all backgrounds participate in rides that take place all across Canada throughout the summer months.

Funds raised by participants of the Ride for the Breath of Life support life-changing cystic fibrosis research, clinical care and advocacy. This support has resulted in outstanding progress in the quality of life for Canadians with cystic fibrosis.

The local leg of the Ride for the Breath of Life will take place this Saturday and departs from the Flying J truck stop in Headingley. Registration is from 9:30-10:30 a.m. This year the ride will make stops in Carman, at Gaslight Harley-Davidson in Morden and at Morris. The day features poker hands, breakfast, a barbecue at the end of the ride, a silent auction and 50/50 draw. Registration is $25 per rider. For further information please contact: …

I’m CR-Zy in love

Honda’s little hybrid a zippy, sporty sipper

Please leave a message after the beep ...

Mr. Williamson, this is Hans from the

European Health Spa. We have made repeated attempts to speak with you regarding your long-overdue account, but you have chosen to ignore our calls. As a result, we are cancelling your membership and this matter has been handed over to our collection department.

It had been months since I’d stepped foot in the spa, but they still wanted their money. Who could blame them? I’d signed up for their special “lifetime membership” and was on the hook for several hundred monthly payments of $9.99.

So what does any of this have to do with the all-new 2011 Honda CR-Z hybrid?

Back in 1988, I liked the Honda CRX, (the gone but not forgotten precursor to the new CR-Z) so much that I bought one. OK, that’s not entirely true — I almost bought one.

It was a brand-new jet black ’88 CRX Si model with aluminum wheels wrapped in low-profile tires. It had a five-speed transmission, a sunroof and a sporty black interior. I was 21 years old and this car appealed to me for a multitude of reasons: It was not just small, sleek and fast, it also sipped the fuel. This car was essentially my polar opposite.

It’s important to note that at the time, I was driving a Lada Signet with a half baked clutch.

The name of the place escapes me, but it was a Honda store on Pembina Highway near Confusion Corner. I can vividly recall the first …

Red alert

Dear future mayor of Winnipeg:

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Sunday night cruise on Portage Avenue.

If you drive a red car, expect to see red lights in your rear-view mirror in the not-so-distant future. According to a recently leaked police memo, traffic officers have been directed to pull over anyone spotted driving a red car. It is your responsibility as a motorist to present proper identification. You will also be sternly questioned regarding why you opted to choose such a flashy paint colour.

OK, I just made that up, but imagine if it was true.

Well, if the buzz on the street is accurate that’s exactly what it’s like for thousands of owners of classic, special interest and modified vehicles who dare to drive in Winnipeg.

Throughout the summer of 2010, I have been bombarded with emails, voice messages and face-to-face accounts from members of Winnipeg’s car culture. The common complaint is they have been targeted for simply opting to drive a vehicle that is different from the others.

 As I mentioned last week, throughout the summer I’ve pretty much taken the high road on this topic and suggested in the past, perhaps naively, that if folks in the hobby stayed away from Portage Avenue on a Sunday night they would be left alone. As it turns out, that is simply not the case.

Ron Baxter proved that when he shared his story with me last Sunday.

After recently getting a small repair done on his absolutely beautiful 1938 Ford, Baxter was travelling down Sargent Avenue on a weekday afternoon when he noticed a police car behind him. The officer activated …