Robert “Bobby” Fisher #85
Robert Fisher came into the sport during
the hey day of the coupes and homebuilt race cars. In 1961
the building of the new Speedway Park at Stoney Creek, by
Merrittville Speedway’s owners Ken Kavanagh and Bill
Russell, as well as Merrittville’s founders John Marino and
George Cullen, helped to start not only a Friday
night-Saturday night dirt track racing tradition, but foster
the growth of dirt track competitors from the Hamilton
area. Bobby Fisher was one such Hamilton area driver who
caught the dirt track racing bug.
At the time, there were two
divisions - Jalopy and Sportsman. The Jalopy coupes were a
learning experience, but as times were changing, the
jalopies, based on 1930’s era cars, were giving way to the
full-fendered 1950’s era, more abundant late model
division. With the retirement of the Jalopy division and
the beginning of the late Model division, there was an
immense popularity amongst both Niagara and Hamilton area
competitors, with most features starting 30 plus cars.
Bobby Fisher #85 was one such competitor, who along with
other Hamilton racers, Frank Field, Jack Hollis, Henry
Shivak, Don Turner, the Deagles, would tow their late models
from Hamilton area to Stoney Creek & Thorold every Friday
and Saturday night honing their dirt track racing skills.
While all of these competitors achieved
much success in the late model division, their true goal for
all was to achieve success at the next level, the
Sportsman-Modified division. These drivers would all
graduate to the next level joining their pioneers and
veteran competitors, such as Eric Bradt, Bob Davidson, Bruce
Van Dyke, Alex Gunn in the Sportsman-Modified division. The
Friday-Saturday night racing tradition was now spiced up
with these new entrants, challenging the veterans for
Bobby Fisher would come in to his own,
when he took over the former Alex Gunn #43 from Championship
car owner Wilfred “Wimpy” Nicholls for the 1965-1966
season. The now maroon #85 Chevrolet Coupe was very
prominent at both Speedway Park and Merrittville Speedway.
For 1967-1968 the new “Super Stock” divisions allowed full
bodied modifieds 1960’s era cars compete against the
familiar modified coupes and coaches of the 1930’s.
It was an era of transition. While Bobby
Fisher would not win a championship, he was one of the top
consistent competitors and helped foster the development of
both the late model and super stock modified divisions,
along with his fellow Hamilton area competitors, during the
1960’s. When Speedway Park was sold in the early 1970’s
and later paved, it spelled the end of an era for Hamilton
area dirt track racing and it’s competitors.
During this time, Bobby Fisher also
retired from racing, but now admits he quit way too soon.
Today, now retired, Robert Fisher and his
wife, Giselle, spend their weekends camping at the trailer,
but tonight “Bobby we remember you, as we are pleased to
induct you to the Merrittville Speedway Alumni Wall of Fame,
along with fellow Hamilton area inductees, Wilfred Nicholls,
Bruce Van Dyke, Bob Davidson Sr., Henry Shivak, Don Turner
and the Deagle Brothers.