By DON SIMPSON
Team One recently announced GM Paillé will be back as a partner for the 2022 season. This will be the eighth season that GM Paillé has been on board with the historic team, celebrating 45 years of racing in the upcoming season.
Team One is also working hard to secure Mario Clair to wheel the team’s second car at Le RPM Speedway for the 2022 season.
As for the team’s number one driver, David Hebert, he has just received his new car off the building platform and things are ramping up for the second car.
Today, this legendary team prepares for the 2022 season, but its rich history of over four decades of racing is what has brought this team to what it is today.
The year was 1977. Dirt track racing was starting to take off in popularity.
That same year, two young racing enthusiasts, Gaetan Beauregard and Serge Desjardin, came together with an idea to go racing and Team One was born.
The driver that was chosen to lead the team on the track in those early years was Bernard Mathieu.
The team picked up their first win the following year in August. This was the beginning of this high performance, as the team has 278 wins to its belt today.
Bernard would go on to win the 1980 Sorel track Championship
Nineteen-eighty-three saw a change at Team One. Luke Plante took charge of the driving duties at Team One. Luke would be the team’s driver for some eleven years, bringing home numerous championships both at the track and for the Quebec- Ontario series. In 1991 Luke ended up on top being crowned the champion in Quebec. Luke also won the Estrie’s Championship in both 1990 and 1991.
Four years later in 1995, there would be another change at the wheel with hired gun Steve Paine out of Waterloo, N.Y. The next three seasons’ success solidified its place in the history books of dirt track racing. Team One was now the dominant force in Quebec. With Paine at the wheel, the wins and championships began to rack up.
During that time, Paine visited victory lane 41 times. He also brought home five championship titles to the Team One’s shop in the small town of Sorel-Tracy, Quebec. During those years Paine won the track championships at Drummond in 1995, 96, and 97 along with the title at Granby in 96 and 97.
Racing would slow down; however, for Team One in 1998. With the departure of Paine and work commitments for both Gaetan and Serge, racing was put on hold for most of the season, except for the traditional entry at Super DIRT Week. That year Team One had Mike Romano of Johnstown, N.Y., pilot the car for the 26th running of the race at the Moddy Mile.
Team One was back on track for the 1999 season along with another new driver to pilot the car. Richard Chauvin was chosen to drive, but after three devastating crashes early in the season, Richard stepped aside from the driving duties.
Gaetan Beauregard and Serge Desjardin had to decide who would drive the car. They approached a young and upcoming driver by the name of David Hebert who was campaigning at the time. Hebert accepted.
From that point, everything changed for David. Running your own team is difficult at the best of times with a limited budget, but with Team One, David could concentrate on racing the car instead of finding new sponsors for cash flow.
Two weeks into driving for Team One, David won his first race at the Autodrome Granby. This was followed by another win this time at Drummond.
Things came to a stop though as the Autodrome Drummond and Granby filed a lawsuit to have the team banned from racing at their tracks due to the conflicts surrounding the running of small-block Modified over the popular big-block Modified.
Team One complied and, in 2000, the team went asphalt racing, where David raced in the CAS-Car division. Hebert would win the Rookie of the Year honors that first season.
By 2002, Team One was back on track and racing on dirt once again.
In 2004, this partnership proved its weight in gold. David won two Modified championships, one at Granby and then Drummond, as well as 12 victories in total that season.
It has been 17 years since that banner year in 2004. David has since won 18 track championships, scored 167 wins, five Mr. DIRTcar titles and three Canadian series championships.
David explains, “The most exciting moment was undoubtedly setting a new record during Super DIRT Week 2003. It was 20 minutes of pure joy, if you think about it, a Quebecer from the small town of St-Damase becomes the fastest rider ever at the Moody Mile.”
Eventually some big changes came to ownership of the team. Both Gaetan and Serge were getting on in years and the two felt it was time for some younger blood to take the reins. Claude Arel, Alexandre Vogel, Keven Ethier, Stephane Levesque, and David Hebert took charge of the team, but adopted the same plan that Gaetan and Serge had done with so much success over the years.
Team One made another bold move in 2019, by adding a second driver to its roster. Mario Clair took the wheel of the team’s second car at Le RPM Speedway for the 2019 season. This was an exciting move by the team to have Mario in the second car, which would put forth a one-two punch as the team took on the championship battle. By the end of the season, it was Hebert, and Clair who finished one-two in the championship points at RPM. A bold move that paid off big. Hebert would go on to win the championship at Autodrome Drummond that year along with a second in points at Granby.
Twenty-twenty was shaping up to be even more exciting over the previous year, but the excitement was short-lived as COVID 19 now dictated the season.
For the next two seasons, things were limited when it came to racing. COVID restrictions ruled the day. Hebert still managed to finish second in the Hoosier points standings, with five wins along with 20 top-five finishes. David finished a close second in the championship battle at Autodrome Granby.
Twenty-twenty-one was much the same as the year before, but health restrictions were eased somewhat, which allowed for more racing. David picked up eight more wins and the track championship at the Autodrome Granby.
For the last two races of this season, the team got Yan Bilodeau to step in and drive the spare car at Cornwall Motor Speedway, while at the Fall Nationals in Brockville, William Racine was nominated to driver their spare car. Both these drivers were a sort of test if you think.
So what is the future for Team One going forward? It has been such a winning combination with Team One and David Hebert these last 20 years.
David said, “The last 20 years with Team One has been so much fun. Our main goal each time has been to win and strive for the championship, but it’s hard work to get there.
“The new vision for the team is to be younger, fresher, and have the same goals on winning the race. Team One and Jean Claude Paille from Paille Chevy are working towards a bigger team with more visibility on TV, radio, and the internet. In other words, ‘think big.’ To have such a great sponsor like Paille Chevy onboard is a dream for any race team.”
David went on to say, “Next season, we hope it will be a regular season, no COVID. We will race for more wins each week challenging for the championship. But for the long term, I am looking at a few more championships for the record in Quebec and a personal goal for wins, after that, I think I will retire from driving.”
Like any team, especially a team with this much history, you must think ahead long term. Co-owner Alex Voghel explained, “In the coming years there will be some big decisions to be made, but we must prepare for the future.”
If the past is any indicator of the future, Team One is in good shape. But for now, the main goal is to win like always.