RPW Column By: TOBY LAGRANGE / RPW – SCOTIA, NY – They are two drivers who are separated by about 150 miles however they have one exciting thing in common. They both are making their way in two of the toughest Sportsman division hotbeds in the Northeastern United States and Canada.
While Brendan Gibbons and Robert Gage may not ever share the same track or have names that you may immediately recognize, they are two drivers who are on the rise and in the process gaining the best education there is when it comes to piloting a Sportsman Modified.
Each driver got started in our great sport by following in the foot steps of and helping a family member. For Gibbons it was his father who lit the competitive fire while Gage took the leap into racing after helping his cousin.
“My father (Shawn Gibbons) raced for years,” Brendan said. “I grew up at the track watching in the first corner at the Fonda Speedway with our good friends the Champion family. It was only a matter of time before I tried my hand and it stuck. I enjoy all of it, the in-shop work and the interactions at the track.”
Gage offered his own introduction story.
“I got started helping out my cousin Wade Christman. Once I got out of high school, I bought an old Bicknell chassis off Gary/Eric Hoppins. Half-way through my first season I was able to upgrade to a HigFab chassis, which was purchased from Jeremy Dygert.”
The 2019 season was a positive one for both drivers as they made gains in their racing programs and in their always growing record books.
“We tried to be consistent while also gaining respect from our fellow Sportsman competitors,” Gibbons said. “For the first couple o f months I ran in the Limited Sportsman division and we had some success so we decided to move to the regular Sportsman division. We ran consistently and each week gained a ton of knowledge of the car. We were thrilled with the progress which included qualifying for the Sportsman events during the Firecracker and Fonda 200 events at the Fonda Speedway.”
Gage meanwhile visited victory lane at the Fulton Speedway in what is statistically one of the largest weekly fields in the modern era of the Northeast Dirt Sportsman division.
“The 2019 season saw me pick up my first win at Fulton,” Gage said. “I was also able to be a pretty strong competitor at every track that I unloaded at. We were able to qualify for many bigger shows. We did have bad luck at Super DIRT Week where we suffered mechanical problems.”
The 2020 season will season will see Gage competing in the DIRTcar/Hoosier Tire events of Central New York while Gibbons will bolt on both Hoosiers and American Racers each and every week.”
“We are hoping to run a full season at both the Fonda Speedway and Glen Ridge Motorsports Park,” Gibbons said. “Last year we had a fairly successful rookie season and we want to continue that momentum. We want to try and be consistent each week, while getting better.”
For Gage, he will be kicking off his season up at the Can-Am Speedway in Lafargeville, New York.
“We will be kicking off the new season with our first race at the Can-Am Speedway on April 11th,” Gage said. “The plan for the season right n ow is to run Can-Am every Friday night and then on Saturday at the Fulton Speedway.”
In today’s age of Motorsports sponsorship is vital to running a race team and that is no different for Gibbons and Gage.
The 2020 season will see Gibbons sponsored by Hometown Pub & Grub (Scotia, NY), Jim Passino Trucking, Fastenal, Tom Schaffer’s RV Super Store, Fossil Stone Vineyards, Fame Design & Media, JK Concepts, JB Photography and Gibbons Military Motors.
“In addition to my sponsors I also need to thank my crew,” Gibbons said. “I want to thank Taylor LaPlante and Alex Commins as well as Joe Williams.”
Gage also has a healthy list of sponsors ready to help his team during the 2020 season. His sponsors include Intergrow Greenhouses, Muskies Bar & Grill, B&R Gage Development, Steve Gould Construction and Cole Plumbing & Heating.
“I wouldn’t be able to do it without all of the help I have at the track,” Gage said. “Those who help at the track are Wade, Darryl, Harry, John, Logan, Jordon and my father Brent Gage. Bill Cook bought me the current chassis I have and I bolted all my parts onto it.”
In less than two months’ time the new season will take the green flag and when it does, Scotia’s Brendan Gibbons and Hannibal’s Robert Gage are likely to find their way into victory lane at a track near you.