Port Alberni’s Richard Spencer (front) takes off from the starting line at Rumble on the Runway in Port McNeill on July 17, 2022. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Port Alberni’s Richard Spencer (front) takes off from the starting line at Rumble on the Runway in Port McNeill on July 17, 2022. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Drag racers in Port Alberni are keeping the dream alive that they will race again

Two-day car show and cruise designed to keep ‘Thunder in the Valley’ rumbling

Drag racers in Port Alberni are keeping the dream alive.

Although racers will not be taking to Stamp Avenue for the Thunder in the Valley drag races this year, the Alberni Valley Drag Racing Association (AVDRA) has still planned a pair of “Keeping the Dream Alive” events this year to fundraise for future races.

A car show and a cruise are planned for Saturday, Aug. 6, with all proceeds going towards the AVDRA’s pursuit of a dedicated drag race facility in the Alberni Valley.

The car show will take place on Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Alberni Athletic Hall. Registration is $20 and will take place at the event.

After the car show, a cruise will take place around the Alberni Valley, starting at the Athletic Hall at 6:30 p.m. and ending at the Boston Pizza parking lot. Participants are asked to pre-register with Deb Haggerty at Speedy Glass (3599 Third Avenue) or by emailing avdracruise@gmail.com.

A swap meet is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Interested vendors can email avdra.siteprep@hotmail.com or call 250-723-7562.

Haggerty, who is also the treasurer for the AVDRA, says she expects it to be a fun weekend, with food trucks, vendors and plenty of classic cars.

“We’re expecting 150 to 200 cars for the cruise,” she said. “Last year’s cruise had almost 200 cars, and that was in the rain.”

The AVDRA has been working on finding a permanent facility for the past few years, since the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District denied the use of the Alberni Valley Regional Airport in 2019.

Haggerty said that the association got the OK from the City of Port Alberni to host drag races on Stamp Avenue instead of the airport, but the logistics will not work. During the last Thunder in the Valley event in 2018, the AVDRA used the Catalyst Paper parking lot for marshalling and spectator parking. Since then, San Group has purchased part of the mill’s property and constructed a remanufacturing plant.

“We don’t have the room to hold the cars,” explained Haggerty. “We would have to cut the car count basically in half.”

Haggerty says the AVDRA has been working with “a number of companies” on constructing a dedicated drag racing facility in the Alberni Valley. Although the association isn’t ready to make any announcements on location yet, Haggerty says talks are going well.

“We’re not giving up,” said Haggerty. “We’re coming back. Hopefully in a year or two, we’ll be back racing somewhere permanent.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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Port Alberni’s Ty Shannon gains the lead during a race at Rumble on the Runway in Port McNeill on Sunday, July 17. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Port Alberni’s Ty Shannon gains the lead during a race at Rumble on the Runway in Port McNeill on Sunday, July 17. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

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