A pro class racer makes some smoke during a burnout at Thunder in the Valley on Sunday, August 13. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

A pro class racer makes some smoke during a burnout at Thunder in the Valley on Sunday, August 13. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Thunder in the Valley drag races ‘best ever’, say organizers

Three-day event closed down main drag in Port Alberni to run races

Last Saturday and Sunday, Stamp Avenue roared to life as the Alberni Valley Drag Racing Association hosted Thunder in the Valley.

“It went amazing,” said AVDRA president Bill Surry. “It was the best racing we’ve ever had.”

Surry said the weather over the weekend was perfect—even a brief spell of rain on Saturday evening didn’t spoil the races, as it came after all the cars had come through, he said.

The event saw 156 cars, bikes and junior dragsters racing down the track, with a total of 1,474 runs over the two days.

They had approximately 2,500 attendees through the gates, which Surry said is definitely higher than last year’s attendance.

When it comes to next year’s location for Thunder in the Valley, Surry said he is not sure yet where the event will be held.

“It goes year by year,” he said. Although the city gives AVDRA approval for the street closure, the event is up to Catalyst Paper. Catalyst allows AVDRA to use its property for parking, race car pits, spectator seating, etc.

The races moved to Stamp Avenue two years ago from the Alberni Valley Regional Airport when the Alberni-Clayoquot Regoinal District, which operates the airport, cancelled the AVDRA’s contract in order to expand the runway and install new lighting for the aviation part of the airport’s business. The City of Port Alberni stepped in and offered Thunder in the Valley a solution—Stamp Avenue.

“We can stay here for five years,” Surry said. “But we’re trying to proceed and get a spot to be, permanently. We’re working on many avenues, all in time.”

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com