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Drag racing events get the green light for 2023

Sechelt council has approved three weekends of drag races at the airport. In 2022, there were nearly 3,500 attendees at racing events at the airport.
Drag racing a
Sunshine Coast Drag Racing Association returned to the newly renovated Sechlet Airport last year.

Ready, set… mark your calendars! 

Sechelt council approved the Sunshine Coast Drag Racing Association’s request to use the Sechelt Airport for three weekends: May 27 and 28, Aug. 12 and 13, Sept. 2 and 3, with a rain date on Sept. 10.

The Feb. 1 council meeting started with a delegation from the SCDRA’s vice president Ray Dierolf and media liaison Richard Austin. 

The Sunshine Coast Drag Racing Association has hosted many events since its establishment in 1999. After a hiatus because of COVID, the 2022 racing season saw nearly 3,500 attendees and 90 racers. Dierolf told council that 15 to 20 per cent of the attendees were non-residents. The vice president also spoke of the association’s support of other groups, as well as the volunteer hours they’ve put into the airport.

The delegation also asked for the burnout box to remain as a permanent fixture at the end of the airport runway. The burnout box was removed at the end of the 2022 racing season, and Dierolf said the final inspection showed there was no damage to the runway, aside from some black tire marks over the white lines. The association, he added, will contribute to repainting the lines and covering some of the cost.

Dierolf said the association has created a business plan, as requested by the previous council. In the Feb. 1 agenda, a capital project update states the runway lighting at the Sechelt Airport runway is currently being installed, and expected to be complete by early February. When Mayor John Henderson asked whether the drag racing will impact the lighting system, staff said it’s not a big concern. 

Coun. Alton Toth commented that 2022 was the last time the previous council wanted the drag racers to use the airport’s runway, pending the business case and plans for the association to develop their own facility. 

“Obviously, this isn’t something that’s going to get built before May, so I’m quite open to the dates that are being presented here,” Toth said. 

Council unanimously approved the requested weekends, but have not yet made a decision on the burnout area. Staff suggested checking with airport operations to see if there are any issues with leaving the burnout pad in place permanently.