Windsor Life Revisits Some Very
Interesting Stories From Years Past
Story by Michael Seguin
Well, that was certainly a year, wasn’t it? While not nearly as, uh, dramatic as years past, 2022 has been a wild, intensely fun ride—full of twists, turns, and stomach-turning slopes.
And while this year’s ride trundles to a close and we exchange nervous chuckles, let’s take a moment to check in on some old friends who were generous enough to brave the trek with us…
Alan Pinsonneault, a second-generation race car driver, breaks down what fuels everyone who sits behind the wheel: “Every race car driver is the most competitive person you’ve ever met,” Alan explains. “That’s what motivates any driver, wanting to win. If you’re content running in third or fourth or fifth, you’re probably never going to succeed at it.”
Alan admits that he lacks that killer edge, which has limited his performance on the track. Fortunately for his son, Chase Pinsonneault, that relentlessness seems to have skipped a generation.
“Racing is difficult to fully explain,” Chase states. “It’s definitely thrilling, being out there. It’s incredibly physically and mentally taxing. It’s extremely hot inside the car. But you get this feeling of adrenaline there that you can’t find anywhere else. You feel invincible. You feel with the car.”
Chase, now sixteen, was competing before he even had his learner’s permit. He has spent much of this year at the Delaware Speedway and Flamboro Speedway, earning one heat win at the former and three feature wins at the latter.
And now, as Chase looks forward to 2023, his competitive itch is already beginning to trouble him.
“You have to be super competitive in this sport, and also super aggressive,” Chase stresses. “You have to treat the racetrack completely different than you do off it. Because off it, you’re friends with all these guys! Then you get behind the wheel, and you want to pass them. You want to do whatever it takes to win the race. You have to completely eliminate everything else outside of the track. You have to want every single inch.”
Julia Lane is a 23-year-old para-swimming champion. After first being inspired by her older sister—a fellow athlete—Julia took to the pool like, if you’ll pardon the expression, a fish to water.
Julia first embarked on her career as a member of the LaSalle Windsor Special Olympics Swim team and the Windsor Aquatic Club, followed by the Westview Freedom Academy High School swim team. She attended OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations) for four consecutive years. She also later competed in the Special Olympics Provincial Games for swimming. Most notably, she qualified for the 9th Down Syndrome World Swimming Championships in 2018.
As well, Julia is also an accomplished CrossFit athlete, coming in first worldwide in the inaugural adaptive division in 2021 and third worldwide in her division at the CrossFit Games in 2022.
In October, Julia and her family travelled to Albufeira, Portugal to compete in the 10th World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships. There Julia swam eight events and three relays, achieving personal bests in all but one.
“She’s exceeded all my expectations,” Julia’s mother, Cynthia stresses. “I’m super proud of her. Being ‘on deck’ in Portugal and being right there watching her swim? It’s incredible. Sometimes it’s like she has jets on.”
And now, still glowing from her recent victories, Julia takes a moment to express her gratitude towards the hometown that has nourished her spirit.
“I want to thank everyone who supported me,” Julia states. “The whole city was behind my success.”
“She ended up with six podium medals,” Cynthia states. “Overall, she came in third in the entire world.”
And when asked about what the 2023 will bring, Julia and her mother share a laugh.
“I want to win medals and break world records!” Julia states.
If you’ve been living in Windsor and Essex County for a while, chances are you haven’t just heard of Mark Chichkan—you’ve heard him.
“I’ve been a local cat here for my entire career,” Mark explains. “I’ve been playing since I was 7-years-old, and I’m 55 now.”
Mark is perhaps most recognized for his work with the national act Helix. However, that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of his work, which includes tours with other local bands as well as an illustrious solo career. He and his bandmates have even shared the stage with other legendary performers, such as Kim Mitchell, Tom Cochrane, Harlequin, Honeymoon Suite, Loverboy, Randy Bachman, Trooper, and many more.
“I’ve tried to stay as consistent as possible,” Mark states. “I don’t know how to play without everything I’ve got. I try to go in and do the same show, whether that’s 10 or 200 people. I never play any half-shows. I don’t know how to turn things down a notch.”
Mark maintains that every musician, himself included, is only as good as their last gig.
“You never know who’s listening,” Mark explains.
And now, despite the hurdles the last couple years have presented for live performances, Mark is already gearing up for new shows.
“I was so relieved when I came back for my first show,” Mark states. “I felt like a million dollars. But being a solo act, it was easy to get back into it. I was back to working full-time fast.”
More information on Mark Chichkan is available at markchichkan.com.
Roman De Angelis
Most twenty-one-year old’s are just figuring out what they want to do with the rest of their lives. (I couldn’t even figure out how to boil an egg.)
But Windsor’s Roman De Angelis has one over on most kids his age—he’s already been working at it for years.
Standing over six feet tall and crowned with a shock of red hair, Roman cuts an impressive figure. But despite his extensive early successes on the track, he’s all to happy to offer up some encouragement to any and all aspiring racers:
“The big thing with racing is connections,” Roman explains. “With how political racing is, the more connections you can make, the better off you are. More opportunities will arise from knowing the right individuals. And don’t be afraid to give back! I’ve been coaching and it’s very rewarding to see young people getting into the sport.”
And 2022 has repaid Roman’s kindness. Most recently, he competed in the IMSA GTD Championship, winning the race.
Now, as the year winds down, Roman has found himself in his “silly season.” Which he has decided to spend in tropical Costa Rica!
But rather than completely enjoy his vacation, Roman is already plotting his next move.
“We’re trying to find out what we’re going to do next year,” Roman states, weighing in on the road ahead. “What series we’re going to compete in, what races. Having done quite well this year, there’s a whole lot of opportunity that 2023 represents. I’d like to keep building on that.”