By DON SIMPSON
When it comes to dirt track racing, most people in the North East racing community are familiar with Charlie Sandercock. However, few are aware of his full impact on dirt track racing.
Charlie, a farmer by profession, grew up on the family farm, working with his father Jim in all facets of the operation, including spending time away from the farm at the racetrack with his dad. The two helped Charlie’s uncle Lee Sandercock who raced weekly for many years at the Brighton Ontario Speedway. It was during those early years that Charlie was exposed to the world of racing.
In the latter part of 2001, Charlie decided to give it a shot racing in his own car and began preparing a car for the following season in 2002.
In his first season, Charlie won a heat race early, the first of many victories he subsequently accumulated over the next two decades.
The following season, in 2003 Charlie continued to help his uncle and race in the Mini Stock division. Lee went on to capture the track championship for the Canadian Modified division at Brighton Speedway. This championship win for Lee solidified the direction Charlie went in 2005.
“I was always wanting to be just like my uncle. I bought his Modified the year after he won the championship. I then began racing it in 2005. I got my first feature win that year in his championship car,” Charlie explained.
For the next five years, Charlie competed in the Canadian Modified division at the Brighton Ontario Speedway.
Over the course of this period, Charlie accrued 22 feature victories, but taking home a track title eluded the now-veteran driver.
At the conclusion of the 2009 season, things were about to shift significantly. Charlie upgraded to the Late Model division, the premier class at the Brighton Speedway. But that same year, he’d also be racing at Can-Am Speedway.
The consistency of 2010 won the day and enable Charlie to win his first track championship at his home track in Brighton with just one victory . Charlie also picked up a win at Can-Am Speedway that year.
In 2013, Charlie repeated his success and pick up his second track championship at Brighton. Charlie also won the track title at the Can-Am Speedway in Lafargeville NY. He collected eight feature wins that year.
Success and victories at Brighton and Can-Am continued with both track championships in 2015. Charlie also won the Go Nuclear and Bilstein championships during this period. The outstanding part of the season was that Charlie won 20 feature events.
Things were going well at Team 57, and Charlie decided he wanted to race Sprint Cars since the SOS Sprint Car Tour frequently made stops at the Brighton Ontario Speedway. In the Sprint Car class, Charlie achieve his maiden victory in 2015. In 2016, Charlie added another Go Nuclear championship.
The 2017 season saw Charlie’s home track, Brighton Ontario Speedway, celebrate 50 years of racing. With that, Charlie created a paint scheme for his car to commemorate two of his heroes who had inspired him over the years in racing.
The Sandercock (No. 57) carried the colors of his uncle, Lee Sandercock, on the driver’s side of his car and the design of “The Flying School Teacher” Huck Flindall on the other. As previously mentioned, Charlie had helped his uncle Lee, but as for Huck Flindal, it was all the stories he told that inspired Charlie.
“I did not go to the track with Huck. He was done racing by the time I started. I remember always talking with Huck and hearing so many racing stories from the past. It is always great talking to the veteran racers to hear how things went in the old days and the many stories of how racing has evolved to what it is today,” Charlie explained.
During those five seasons up to the end of 2019, Charlie added three more Brighton Speedway championships, a Go Nuclear championship, and two Northern Late Model races. They were some of the best years in his career so far. He accumulated 83 feature wins over the course of this time.
But things were slowing down in a big way over the following months, after the end of the 2019 season. COVID came and, for the most part in 2020, racing stopped except for a few events.
By 2021, with health limitations in place, racing had somewhat resumed. At his home track of Brighton that year, Charlie repeated as champion.
This last season was a bit of a letdown in terms of racing due to the growing strain on the farm and his expanding family commitments, but Charlie still managed to win seven more feature races despite finding it increasingly difficult to give the race team his entire focus.
Charlie remembered how he had been involved in racing all his life, from helping his uncle Lee Sandercock to hearing the stories Huck Flindall told.
He continued by describing how great it was to compete against the finest in the business.
“Racing with the World of Outlaws in Florida and North Carolina and at the Brighton Ontario Speedway in 2014 was some of the best experiences I had,” noted Charlie.
But for Charlie, there is one thing that sticks out above all — it’s the people.
“The best part of the last 20 years of racing is meeting all the great people who have now become family. You meet truly amazing people in the racing world, some of whom we have grown very close to.
“As for next year, we are going to step back from weekly racing. We might still race the same amount of racing just on fewer weekends. We are looking at hitting up some big events as well as some shows we have not been able to do while racing every weekend at home,” explained Charlie.