Stamp Avenue ready for racers: Bill Surry

It hasn’t been easy getting Stamp Avenue race-ready, but with Thunder in the Valley just days away, the finish line is finally in sight.

Thunder in the Valley will roar down Stamp Avenue this year. The races start just north of the train tracks and run an eighth-mile till just south of the BC Hydro station pullout.

Thunder in the Valley will roar down Stamp Avenue this year. The races start just north of the train tracks and run an eighth-mile till just south of the BC Hydro station pullout.

It hasn’t been easy getting Stamp Avenue race-ready, but with Thunder in the Valley just days away, the finish line is finally in sight.

“It’s been very  hectic because the logistics are so different than they were at the airport,” said Alberni Valley Drag Racing Association (AVDRA)president Bill Surry.

“Everything seems to be going together. We have to put everything in place during the week on the mill site and then on the road on Thursday and Friday.”

The AVDRA was forced to relocate the races for 2016 due to the runway expansion at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport—where the drag races have run for their entire 16-year lifespan.

In late January, Surry came before city council to ask for permission to hold the drag race along Stamp Avenue. The request was formally approved in February and the flurry of activity began.

“We had to bring everything from the airport to here plus the barriers down both sides on Stamp Avenue,” said Surry.

The barriers were only the half of it. Several pieces of centre median were removed from the stretch of Stamp Avenue in front of the mill, lines were repainted, a burnout box was built, trees were cleared to allow for spectators and a new exit from the Catalyst property was installed by the train tracks.

The AVDRA footed the bill for the burnout box and the tree clearing, while the city paid for the rest.

The course had to be shortened to an eighth-mile, a first for the drags in Port Alberni.

“The only thing that we really changed was that we took out the doorslammers. We do have some of them doing exhibition runs but they’ll cut their speed back because of the shutdown area and not knowing what the road’s going to do to us,” said Surry.

But the loss of the doorslammers will be balanced out by a new division—junior dragsters.

“We have five registered. They’ll be running at different times throughout the day. We don’t really know what to expect because we’ve never had them before,” said Surry.

“Some of them are quite quick for little cars. The youngest (driver) is eight years old.”

Surry hopes that having the youngsters racing will inspire local kids to start.

“People can come and talk to them and maybe get one of their own children into racing.”

The AVDRA did a four-car test run in early June but Surry admitted that with different conditions for race day, they can’t be certain as to how the races will go.

“We did run the four cars before but there was no prep on the road at the time… the road will be prepped on Friday and ready for Saturday morning,” he said.

A traction compound will be added to the burnout box once Stamp Avenue is closed to regular traffic, he said.

“We’re just really guessing at some of the stuff because we haven’t run there before and we haven’t run the eighth-mile before.”

While the new distance brings uncertainty, the tradeoff will be more track time for the racers.

“The participants in the races will get a lot more runs because it is only an eighth-mile and we do have a smaller car count overall,” said Surry.

“We do have some cars that will really put on a show. Some of the faster cars probably won’t go as fast but they’re going to put on a good show for us.”

As of late last week, 165 cars were signed up for Thunder in the Valley—significantly less than have raced at the airport most years.

“We had to cut it off because of space more than anything. We’re not sure how much space we really have once we get them parked—we might see we have room for another 20 cars but we don’t know that now,” said Surry.

“Normally, we were just over 200 at the airport but we’ve been as high as 300 at the airport.”

Spectators will enter the Catalyst Paper grounds through the entrance by Victoria Quay, and be guided to their seats from there.

Adult tickets are $15 per day or $25 for both days. Students ages 12-18 with an ID card are $10 per day or $15 for two days. Children under 12 are free if accompanied by an adult.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

 

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

New Vancouver Island University chancellor Judith Sayers was sworn in at a virtual ceremony June 17. (Submitted photo)
VIU’s new chancellor seeks innovation and equality in post-secondary education

Judith Sayers officially sworn in as Vancouver Island University chancellor

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read