Francois Bernier Set to Run STSS North Region Series – DTD Exclusive


In a matter of a few weeks, François Bernier and his brother Steve Bernier will be heading down the highway, to their final destination, the Orange County Fairgrounds in the Hudson Valley, for round one of the Short Track Super Series North.

For François, this challenge has been on his to-do list for some time. But early in 2023, he and car co-owner Sylvain Lavallee decided to campaign the car in this season’s championship run.

Without a doubt, this will be a big challenge. François pointed out, “We will have to race against some of the best in the business. Sheppard, Williamson, Friesen, and Perrego are all top-notch drivers, and it will be hard to go up against the likes of them.”

The race schedule spans a six-month period, which will include eleven events, with the final race of the year being a non-points race the “American Racer Cup” at Afton Speedway.

  •     Saturday, April 8 – Orange County Fair Speedway/Middletown, N.Y. – Hard Clay Open – 50 laps, $12,000 to win, $1,000 to start! (elite event)
  •     Tuesday, May 9 – Accord Speedway/Accord, N.Y. – Battle of the Bullring50 laps, $6,000 to win, $500 to start!
  •     Tuesday, June 6 – Outlaw Speedway/Dundee, N.Y. – Outlaw Showdown – 50 laps, $5,000 to win, $500 to start!
  •     Sunday, June 18 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway/West Haven, Vt. – Slate Valley 50 – 50 laps, $10,000 to win, $500 to start!
  •     Sunday, July 2 – Fonda Speedway/Fonda, N.Y. – Firecracker 5050 laps, $10,000 to win, $500 to start!
  •     Thursday, July 20 – Utica-Rome Speedway/Vernon, N.Y. – Richie Evans Remembered 6161 laps, $6,100 to win, $610 to start!
  •     Tuesday, July 25 – Autodrome Granby/Granby, Québec, Canada – 60 laps, $10,000 to win, $500 to start!
  •     Wednesday, July 26 – Le RPM Speedway/Saint-Marcel-de-Richelieu, Québec, Canada – 60 laps, $10,000 to win, $500 to start!
  •     Sunday, September 3 – Utica-Rome Speedway/Vernon, N.Y. – New Yorker 50 – 50 laps, $12,000 to win, $1,000 to start! (elite event)
  •     Thursday-Saturday, September 14-16 – Fonda Speedway/Fonda, N.Y. – Fonda 200 – 200 laps, $53,000 to win, $1,000 to start! (elite event)
  •     Friday-Saturday, October 6-7 – Afton Motorsports Park/Afton, N.Y. – American Racer Cup Short Track Super Nationals 15 – 50 laps, $5,500 to win, $500 to start! (non-points event)

Sylvain Lavallee, the car co-owner, ways in on this season’s challenge. “For our team [EMS], it represents a great challenge and a dream to race amongst all the very best pilots. Here in Quebec, François does about 25-30 races per season, except for last year, where he did 42 races. This season, it will be the 11 STSS races plus a dozen programs in Quebec that we will choose according to our availability and that of the team members. This will allow everyone to take small breaks and take advantage of a few weekends to recharge, as the racing season is hard on all who are involved. 

“Traveling with the STSS will have some language challenges, but also the distance traveled, the longest being about a seven-hour drive. We will also race on new tracks, new tires, and fuel, forcing us to learn and adapt quickly. But having great confidence in François and Steve [TBR Racing] and ​​their know-how, I am excited to start this season. We will rely on the dependability and capability of Wegner engines for this endeavor since we are already acquainted with their W16 engine.”

François is known for pushing himself to the limit in order to achieve success, but he also takes pride in being able to work with others to accomplish team goals. François is a driven individual who is committed to reaching his goals. He works hard, pushing himself to the limit in order to achieve success. But what sets François apart from many others is that he is not only focused on his success; he takes great pride in being able to contribute to the success of the team.

The Saint-Hyacinthe native has dabbled in drag racing, competing in the Sportsman Modified and Legends class at St Eustache. For a short time, François ran 360 Sprint Cars in Granby and Drummond with Steve Poirier’s backup car.

Francois is no stranger to victory lane, the five-time Autodrome Granby and 2021 Autodrome Drummond Track champion, knows what it takes to win, but this season will be a new step in his racing career.

Running the Short Track Super Series will be challenging for sure, as there are so many variables that François and the team have to adapt to. But as François and his brother, TBR Racing, have done so many times in the past, each team will work together to surmount these difficulties.

For Francois, this is a dream season as he knows his time in racing is coming to a conclusion in the coming years. To race against the best in such a premium series will be an experience of a lifetime. 

François explained, “The time is now for me to follow this dream, as in a few years I will be cutting back on my racing to focus on family.” As my son ages, he will be playing many sports, and I want to be there for him, so racing will be less of a priority for me. To take on this challenge with my team and Sylvain, along with my brother Steve, all will help make this season come true.”