Thunder a wonder in Alberni

Between 6,000–7,000 people from across the country to watch Thunder in the Valley 2011, a significant rise from last year’s event.

Competitors race to the finish line during the semi-finals at Thunder in the Valley 2011 on Sunday afternoon.

The Alberni Valley Regional Airport is calm and tranquil now, but that’s a far cry from the engine roaring, exhaust hazed, crowded drag strip that it was 24 hours ago.

Between 6,000–7,000 people from across the country attended Thunder in the Valley 2011, significantly up from last year’s event.

“From the weather to the spectators to the volunteers we had a fantastic year,” event president Bill Surry said.

More than 280 racers competed in six different car classes over the weekend.

Winners included Leland Van Humbeck: street class; Don Spencer: modified; Steve Erickson: pro; Garth Wright: super pro; Kevin Lantz: door slammer; and Trevor Myles: bike.

The eldest competitor was Bill Friend, 74, who drove a 1965 Comet.

There were a few changes to this year’s event.

One, the slate was reduced to a 64-car field in each class except for super-pro, which had 32 cars.

The move ensured that only one heat of races needed to be run in each class.

And there were two new types of cars added: A 1969 GTO alcohol funny car driven by Alberta’s Cal Tebb; and a nitro dragster driven by Phil Ruskowski.

The weekend went off smoothly, save for a couple of mishaps. One that happened on Saturday stands out in Surry’s mind.

“When (Alberni door slammer) Shane Wangler went off the track, into the bush and came back out again,” Surry said.

Wangler came back to finish racing on Saturday and competed on Sunday.

“It was a close call, and was a heck of a piece of driving,” Surry said.

The event is in its 11th year and it has come a long way since the first time it was run.

“We didn’t have the parking space that we do today back then so we’ve gotten both bigger and better,” Surry said.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Wildfire burning outside of Port Alberni

Coastal Fire Centre on scene

Sproat Lake residents oppose large-scale cannabis production in their neighbourhood

Community group calls public meeting for Aug. 21 to discuss implications to ACRD land

Firefighters extinguish brush fire near Port Alberni residential area

Fire off Kitsuksis Creek Trail believed to be human-caused

BCHL: Battle for Bulldogs’ roster spots heats up as main camp begins

Alberni Valley’s new head coach will get his first look at revamped Jr. A hockey team

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Island teen Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island woman was discovered

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Most Read