Drag racing returns to northwest B.C. after pandemic hiatus

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Vintage cars, high horsepower, the smell of burnt rubber and adrenaline returned to Terrace with the first drag race of Northwest Regional Raceway’s 2021 season held over the weekend of July 9-11.

The race operated by the Terrace Drag Race Association (TDRA) took place at an unused airstrip of the Northwest Regional Airport Terrace-Kitimat, where it has been held for over 23 years now.

While every year Terrace hosts a minimum of four races in a season, this year there will only be two, said Jeremy McBride, president of TDRA. Organizers put together last weekend’s drag race within eight days after provincial authorities eased the COVID-19 pandemic regulations earlier in July, Jeremy said.

This year’s competitive bracket racing – where the playing field is levelled by giving the slower cars a head start – included a range of categories such as juniors, pros, super pros and bikes competing for the prize on the one-eighth of a mile track at the airport, said Tammy McBride club secretary of TDRA.

On Saturday (July 10) due to weather constraints, open-category bracket racing termed ‘king of the hill’ was held with 33 cars racing for the title. Jeremy Soares, a super-pro, Chevy dragster, won the title at 145 mph (233 km/hr).

On July 11, there were 45 cars that participated across bracket racing categories.

The sport attracts participants from across the northwest region like Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Prince George, Houston and others during the summer months and sees anywhere between 70 to 100 cars come to race.

Drag racing is a lifestyle for many in the region with dragsters starting as early as five years old, said Tammy. “They rip and they just get hooked,” she said.

While speed is an allure for a lot of youngsters, Tammy said that the association provides a safe and controlled environment for them to race.

“We really try to encourage them to get off the streets and get up here and have a good time,” she said, and added, “We’re really trying to push it as a positive environment, where everybody is welcome as a family.”

The season’s signature Hot August Nites, which is usually held during the Riverboat Days festival in Terrace will be cancelled this year due to non-availability of the airstrip. The next drag racing event will be held in September and the dates will be announced on Northwest Regional Raceway’s social media page.

Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Terrace Standard

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