Physically-distanced drag race events get green light

Drag racing is one of the few sports given the green light to move ahead with an organized event on the Sunshine Coast this summer.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) gave the Sunshine Coast Drag Racing Association (SCDRA) approval to host a “test and tune” event July 4 and a race day on July 5 at the Sechelt Airport. The association has clearance to allow up to 50 vehicles to participate, but spectators are not permitted in order to maintain physical distancing.

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“It’s kind of an exciting thing,” said SCDRA president Colin Stracker, who added the association has been trying to work out a solution since restrictions came into effect in March. “It should be good. It’s just too bad we can’t have anybody there to see it.”

The association is looking into the possibility of broadcasting the event.

Besides a lack of audience, pit crews are also banned. Other changes will be required to stay in line with public health protocols, such as the provision of sanitizer and wipes for every racer and volunteers will have to adhere to physical distancing practices. Also, most of the registration process is taking place online and advance payment is required.

Registration will remain open until the 50 spaces are filled. Stracker doesn’t expect that to be a problem – as of June 14, the organization had already received about a dozen entries.

“There’s a fair amount of fellows up here that have a lot of money invested in cars, just so they can go racing, so it’s been a bit of a disappointment,” said Stracker, who acknowledged it’s the public’s attendance that “makes the races more fun.” But so far, the only event the association has missed is its traditional season opener in May. 

The SCDRA is also looking ahead to another test and tune and race on Aug. 8 and 9.

Earlier this year the Coasters Car Club was forced to cancel its popular Sleepy Hollow Rod Run and Show ‘n’ Shine events, which typically take place in August and draw large crowds, with many off-Coast participants. Instead, they have channelled their energy into drive-by salutes for frontline workers and seniors at care homes, as well as raising money for charity. 

Stracker said the drag racing association is also hoping to provide support to those in need by asking members and racers to donate to organizations on the Sunshine Coast, including the high school drag racing teams, Lions Club, Pulling Together Paddlers and 858 Skookumchuk Squadron Air Cadets.

To secure participation at these events or for more information, email Richard Austin at cnaustin@telus.net

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