Sechelt has issued the permit for this weekend's Sunshine Coast Drag Racing Association's events at the airport. The daily permit fee charged was $5 along with a $250 damage deposit.
On April 6, District of Sechelt Council authorized staff to work with the Sunshine Coast Drag Racing Association (SCDRA) to finish the paperwork for racer testing on July 9 and racing on July 10. Also authorized was permitting of racing events for the Aug. 6 and Sept. 4 weekends.
SCDRA spokesperson, Richard Austin told Coast Reporter via email that the $5/day rate will also be applied to the other 2022 events, with the deposit held until this year's planned events are over. He said the daily fee is the same as the SCDRA was charged in past years and to his knowledge, the association's damage deposit has always been returned in full.
During the March 17 council meeting debate related to potential fee levels saw Coun. Alton Toth had suggest that fees should be increased, given that new assets were in place at the airport. To adjust fees would have required an amendment to the district's fees and charges bylaw, which did not come forward for Council approval.
Works completed by SCDRA
When council direction to proceed was with event planning as provided, there were projects the municipality wanted the association to complete to ensure the runway, which was upgraded and extended in 2021, was protected. SCDRA president Colin Stracker told Coast Reporter that the work is done.
Austin said getting there has meant 16 “work parties” for the group. Since late April, more than 600 hours have been invested by Club volunteers, many also donating use of their own trucks and excavators to complete improvements to the alternate (north) access road and construction of two 30-foot concrete “burnout boxes” alongside the runways. Those areas, built in a large part thanks to donated materials, allow racers to warm up tires before hitting the runway for racing.
New in 2022
Stracker said the group's new timing system is slated to debut on the weekend and an upgraded public address system will be used. Both racers and spectators will need to access the site using the north access road (watch for directional signage). Another change in 2022 for the SCDRA is its event insurance provider. With its new coverage, only drivers and on-track volunteers need liability waivers. Spectators, volunteers working off-track and those helping drivers in “the pits” do not need to complete waivers.
The admission charge for spectators remains the same as in previous years; $10 per adult with free admission for children under 12 years of age, if accompanied by an adult.
The SCDRA did host events at the airport in 2020, but due to pandemic related health restrictions, public attendance was not permitted.
Racing registration open
As of July 4, about 25 racers had registered for the July 10 races. Registration, which costs $60 (includes gate admission for the driver), remains open until 9 a.m. on race day. Austen said about half the drivers already signed up are club members. He noted that racers from Powell River and B.C.'s Lower Mainland have registered and that the remainder are Coast residents looking to try out the sport.
Stracker explained that any licensed driver with a vehicle ranging from an “everyday street machine” to a “serious race car” can register to compete. Full racing requirements are available at scdraonline.esshost.ca.
As a bracket racing event, he said “its really not about speed, its about time and consistency.” Racers qualify with a time, which is like a handicap in golf. If a car with a 9.5-second rating is racing against a 9-second rated car, the first car gets a .5 second head start when the two race.