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Rivalries put on hold as drag race at the Sechelt Airport ran out of time

August 7 was a day of warm temperatures and hot competition at Sechelt Airport as the Sunshine Coast Drag Racing Association (SCDRA) hosted its second public race day of 2022.
Drag racing
Sunshine Coast Drag Racing Association (SCDRA) media rep Richard Austin reported that 1,250 attendees were on hand under sunny skies and 26 C heat to watch close to 90 entries on the track on Aug. 7.

Aug. 7 was a day of warm temperatures and hot competition at Sechelt Airport as the Sunshine Coast Drag Racing Association (SCDRA) hosted its second public race day of 2022. Association media rep Richard Austin reported that 1,250 attendees were on hand under sunny skies and 26 C heat to watch close to 90 entries on the track. Those included 13 motorcycles and one go-kart. That level of competition created a competition overload.

“Rivalries had to be put on hold, when the club's airport time ran out on the many car drivers and motorcycle riders lining up to race. Finals and semi-finals will have to be finished off when the SCDRA runs its September 4th races," veteran race announcer and association member David Kipling stated. 

Tesla S the top 'of the line'

Kipling said that Peter Schober from Roberts Creek in his electric Tesla S was “a constant crowd-pleaser" with stunning performances. Schober "defeated several opponents in near-silence before young Blake Keddy in his deafening yellow 1964 V-8 Chevy brought the crowd to its feet by out-dragging the 'car of the future'.”

Schober had the fastest time from the standing start in his 2021 Tesla, topping just over 124 miles per hour at the one-eighth mile mark. He has been racing Teslas at SCDRA events since 2015. He said the performance of that car line “keeps getting better and better” and racing electric is “much quieter and more comfortable” than it is for the petro-fuel-powered competition. “There’s no need to rev or warm it up, I just push the accelerator and full power is there” said Schober.

Local races create opportunities and awareness

Schober doesn’t travel off-Coast to race. He feels the SCDRA events are great opportunities for the everyday person to get exposure to racing without a huge capital or time investment. His said his son recently purchased his first car and the two are talking about competing locally together.  

“The airport is the largest and most expensive facility the District of Sechelt owns. They have put over $20 million into it, yet it only gets used regularly by a small number of people who own aircraft or hangars. The SCDRA makes that facility open to everyone in the public. It takes it out of the one percent and gives it to the common public,” Schober said.

“If you ask the average person on the Sunshine Coast where the airport is, they will say that it's in Vancouver, at the end of the Sky Train.” He thinks the events help promote awareness of the airport within the community.

Sunday’s attendance was down from the SCDRA’s July event. Austin stated commercial accommodation on the Coast was “maxed out” over the weekend, limiting opportunities for off-Coast racers and enthusiasts to attend. He said that some racers based in Powell River had to go back home between the Coasters Car Club’s Sleepy Hollow Rod Run on Friday evening and make the ferry trip again for Sunday racing. 

Austin would like to see the return of permission from the district to have overnight camping for competitors at the airport. This had been allowed in race years before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Budding announcer

There was a new voice on the PA system at the Aug. 7 race.  Louis Hornung spent his first day attending and volunteering at the local races behind the mic.

“Several people said, Louis, you should do this,” Hornung, whose day job is sales manager at a local car dealership, told Coast Reporter.  He took his new role to heart, making announcements trying to reunite a found car fob key with its owner. Hornung walked the spectator parking lot listening for a horn response to the fob, but was unsuccessful and then took to local community Facebook groups to try to find the owner. 

He said despite being hoarse the next day and a few announcements that did not go as planned, he enjoyed the experience and will be back in the announcer’s role when the races are scheduled to return on Sept. 4. 

On behalf of the SCDRA, Austin said “another special thank you to all the volunteers, sponsors, participants and spectators who make each event a success. It's heartwarming to see all the families out: grandparents, moms, dads, children and toddlers. Without the support of all who attend, these events would not be possible.”

He said the SCDRA continues to need volunteers to help particularly on race day. If you are interested in helping with the Sept. 4 race, contact cnaustin@telus.net.