It was this afternoon that the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières (GP3R) officially inducted its three new members into its Hall of Fame during the event. This time, the name of pilot Willy T. Ribbs has been immortalized with those of Marianne Méthot (as builder) and long-time volunteer Bob McFern.
Marianne Méthot made her debut with the Grand Prix in 1990 as a volunteer as Director of Special Projects on the Board of Directors. Four years later, her brother Léon Méthot joined her and they launched themselves tirelessly with a new team in the planning and development of a successful program.
“I am extremely touched by this honor and I realized earlier that everything we have done is still there today. We were there when the Dumoulins and Camirands were hopefuls and they are regular drivers today, renowned drivers. We worked hard for several years for an event that lasts over time and I am happy to join big names who have done so many great things for the GP3R, like Bob McFern who is honored with me today, “said she confided.
She will continue on her way until 2003, even occupying the position of deputy general manager in passing. From promotion to communication, from negotiation to execution, and from preparation to completion, nothing is left to chance. She is also responsible for concluding the agreement leading to the creation of the Friends of the Grand Prix group.
For his part, the long-time volunteer, Bob McFern, saw his adventure begin in 1970 with Théo Maltais. His first task was to retrieve the tires from the sand pit and then tie them together, all in order to build the protective walls. Later, he got involved in paddock security, in 1980 and 1981. Then from 1982 to 2006, he became an official in the pits.
Then allied with Denys Beaudin, he worked on the pre-enclosure and the false grid from 2007 to 2016. The following year, and to this day, Bob became the director of off-piste events. “I am very honored to be part of the history of the Grand Prix, but I have a whole team behind me. We do not think one day that this honor can happen to us. We are close to 1000 volunteers again this weekend and without them, it would not have been possible. How many volunteers do not attend any additional races? They are very important because without them there would be no Grand Prix, and the Dumoulins and Camirands might not have been able to be supported as they have been for all these years. -he says.
The third person honored is Willy T. Ribbs, son of amateur driver William Bunny Ribbs, entered racing school aged 21 before leaving to start his career in the UK in 1977. He won a Formula Ford 1600 championship from his rookie year before returning to the United States the following year to drive there in Formula Atlantic.
From 1983 to 1985, he entered the Trans-Am Series where he even won a victory at Trois-Rivières in 1985. His idol being the boxer Muhammad Ali, he performed his famous step dance on the roof of his car as a celebration. Six years later, he finally managed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and achieved a first. Indeed, he becomes the first African-American driver to participate in this popular race. He achieved the feat again in 1993 before retiring in 1994.
This article is originally published on lhebdojournal.com