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

By-election set for Beaufort and Cherry Creek areas

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District by-election will take place Apr. 6

ARTS AROUND: Port Alberni artists showcase a range of mediums

“Into the Forest” will feature everything from watercolours to quilting

Divers explore the deeps of Sproat Lake using vintage equipment

Heritage Hard Hat Divers will have a maritime heritage exhibit in Port Alberni

EDITORIAL: In face of tough week, Port Alberni first responders deserve our respect

Last week was a difficult week for first responders in the Alberni Valley…

Alberni group focuses on stigmatization as biggest barrier to opioid crisis

Community session planned to raise dialogue on opioid crisis response

Canada’s archive buys rare book that hints at Nazi plans for North America

The 1944 book may have served as a blueprint for a Nazi purge

Teravainen’s 3 points lift Hurricanes to 5-2 win over Canucks

Vancouver heads into all-star break on losing note

47 men arrested by Vancouver police for allegedly seeking sex with teenage girls

Seven of those arrested have been charged as part of a two-month operation

B.C. hospital apologizes for veteran’s five-day hallway stay

Clinical director of Victoria General Hospital says case of retired veteran ‘definitely excessive’

Speaker Darryl Plecas says ‘justice’ needed for legislature employees

Plecas spoke to media at the opening of a pedestrian and cycling bridge in Abbotsford Wednesday

Advocate hopes B.C. legislature scandal leads to more transparency

‘Depressing’ that it takes a scandal to inspire freedom of information reform, says Sara Neuert

‘Dr. Lipjob’ avoids jail, gets 30-day suspended sentence

She will have to serve the 30 days in prison if she commits a breach during her two-year’s probation

Ex-Mountie involved in Taser death at Vancouver airport sues government

Kwesi Millington claims he acted in accordance with RCMP training

LETTER: Seniors home care, day programs expanding, Adrian Dix says

B.C. health minister responds to latest Seniors Advocate report

Most Read