The Alberni Valley Drag Racing Association will hold a “Thunder in the Valley Charity Cruise” on Friday, Aug. 6 beginning at 7 p.m.
The cruise replaces a proposed test and tune event that the AVDRA previously had planned for Sunday, Aug. 8.
“It was just going to be too hard” to put the test-and-tune together with the conditions the City of Port Alberni was asking for, said AVDRA vice-president Dave Beecroft.
This particular weekend has featured drag racing in Port Alberni for more than two decades—first at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport and then with a shortened course in downtown Port Alberni along Stamp Avenue. Last year the event didn’t happen due to COVID-19 restrictions.
At the end of June Beecroft appeared before Port Alberni city council asking if the city would approve a test-and-tune event for local racers, which would have required shutting down Stamp Avenue for about a day and a half. Beecroft said as AVDRA organizers began to look at what they would have to do to make the test-and-tune happen, they realized it was too much.
Instead, they are planning a cruise around city streets for racers and supporters alike, to raise funds for a pair of Alberni Valley charities. They will split profits between the Tseshaht First Nation’s Alberni Indian Residential School (AIRS) fund and the West Coast Hospital Foundation’s challenge to pay for the new emergency department.
Beecroft said the AVDRA is talking to the city about a proposed route for the charity cruise. “We’re going to do it, one way or another.”
Because this is a fundraiser, drivers are being asked to register for the cruise. The fee is $30 per vehicle, which will include a special orange event T-shirt. Members of the public will be able to purchase special Tseshaht First Nation T-shirts at the start (Alberni Athletic Hall) and finish (Boston Pizza) points of the cruise. Drivers may register at Speedy Glass on Third Avenue and Burde Street (ask for Deb Haggerty), by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or on the AVDRA website at albernidragracing.com.
Beecroft is hoping drag racing fans will line the streets of Port Alberni to cheer on the cars during the cruise. The route is still being worked out, but it will start at 7 p.m. at the Alberni Athletic Hall and wrap up approximately 45 minutes later at Boston Pizza.
“We’re trying to keep everyone aware we’re still working at a permanent location (for Thunder in the Valley),” he said.
“We’ve had so much support from the community, we want to give something back.”