Thunder in the Valley set up its drag racing ‘Christmas tree’ and starting line in front of Catalyst Paper for the 2017 races. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)

Thunder in the Valley drag racing cancelled for 2020

Alberni Valley Drag Racing Association is still searching for a permanent location to hold races

Thunder in the Valley has been cancelled for 2020. This time, it is due to the coronavirus pandemic and a B.C. ministerial order banning large gatherings this summer.

The Alberni Valley Drag Racing Association announced the cancellation on its website on Friday, April 24, 2020, following a Thursday night board meeting.

READ: Drag racers cancel Thunder in the Valley for 2019

“We basically came to the conclusion because of the coronavirus we weren’t going to be able to race this year,” AVDRA president Ben VeenKamp said.

This is the second year in a row that the popular drag racing event has been cancelled. The 2019 event was cancelled after the AVDRA and Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District were at odds over whether the races could return to the Alberni Valley Regional Airport, where the races had a successful run for more than a decade.

The City of Port Alberni had given permission for the race to run on Stamp Avenue in both 2019 and 2020, and with construction happening on San Group’s plot of land at the corner of Roger Street and Stamp Avenue, new ideas for public parking were in the works for this year’s event.

READ: Summer events, parades, large weddings off the table this summer: Henry

“We have Stamp Avenue for two years. We’re definitely going to race there in 2021 unless there is another virus (outbreak),” VeenKamp said.

British Columbia’s provincial health officer announced April 18, 2020 that she won’t be giving the OK for large events this summer because of the threat of COVID-19.

“Realistically, we will not be having those big events where people gather together this summer,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

VeenKamp said parking had been sorted, and bleachers were going to be set up on the east side of Stamp Avenue, with the Paper Excellence and San Group properties being reserved for race cars and trailers. Handicapped parking and an admission gate were also in the works.

“We are also talking to the city about a more permanent place,” he added.

“We’ve been talking to a couple of different groups and the city. There are definitely groups interested in helping us out, trying to find us some land where we can have a one-eighth or a quarter-mile drag strip. It will probably be one-eighth.”

The AVDRA was hoping this year’s Thunder in the Valley would help raise funds to put into a permanent facility. “That’s what we will do next year,” he said.

“We’re not giving up.”

RELATED: Port Alberni’s Thunder in the Valley drag races returning to Stamp Avenue

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

auto racingCoronavirusPort Alberni

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Food trucks find space at Clutesi Haven Marina in Port Alberni

‘Food truck pod’ is a partnership between city, port authority and Tseshaht First Nation

Guest choreographer takes the ice with Mount Arrowsmith skaters

Mount Arrowsmith skating season is underway, with COVID-19 protocols in place

RCMP investigating after tires slashed in Port Alberni neighbourhood

RCMP are looking for anyone with information or video surveillance

Port Alberni writer featured at Alberni Valley Words on Fire

Vicki Drybrough’s poetry and short stories have been published in anthologies and literary journals

Tour de Rock alumni ride through Port Alberni

Event was scaled down this year in response to COVID-19

B.C.’s top doctor encourages Halloween costumes to include masks

Dr. Bonnie Henry will soon be releasing guidelines on how to safely trick-or-treat this Halloween

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

Parksville pedestrian airlifted to hospital in Vancouver after nighttime collision

Police report man’s injuries were ‘significant’ but not life-threatening

Horgan frustrated as Transport Canada mandate for BC Ferry riders returns

Transport Canada reinstates rule that bans passengers from lower decks

Most Read