PORT HARDY—After the opening heat of racing at Tri-Port Speedway raised huge clouds of dust and flying gravel, a break was called to hose down turns one and two.
Mother Nature proved far more effective at the job.
The Tri-Port Motor Sports Club’s season-opening stock car event was cancelled after two heats when rain, accompanied by thunder, washed over the track and the Father’s Day audience.
The club announced ticket-holders would be provided rain checks for the next scheduled race, a track points series event 7 p.m. July 6.
Sunday’s rainout came after Terry Olfrey of Port Alice won the first heat race in his racing truck, ending a tight duel with Ryan Doyle and Paul Weeks. Brock Shore had also been in the thick of things midway through the heat but ran into the track wall.
The cars had just returned to the track for the start of the second heat when the skies opened, accompanied by the rolling rumble of thunder. Fans and drivers stuck around to see if the shower would pass, but as the track became soaked many of the fans headed for the exit, even before the announcement of the cancellation and rain checks.
A field of seven cars took to the track for qualifying, including two new drivers — Jared Breitkreitz of Port Hardy and Stuart McMillan of Port Alice in the lone mini car.
But the two most veteran racers — former and current track points champions Daniel Hovey and Glenn Day, respectively — both saw their afternoons end before the trophy dash due to mechanical failures.
Hovey finished the second of two time-in laps with smoke billowing from his green No. 7 after throwing a rod. Day actually posted the top qualifying lap, at 18.94 seconds, but was left stranded in the pits afterward with a broken transmission.
On the other hand, the cancellation left the pair with a chance for a nice payday when racing resumes. Former local racer Brent Harrison, who has recently returned to the North Island, offered $100 in prize money for Sunday’s main event. The prize donation was announced to the crowd by PA man Lawrence O’Connor, who joked that anyone else in attendance who wished to contribute to the pot was welcome to bring money to the timing tower. Almost immediately, the Melan family of Port Hardy brought in $50 each for the top two finishers in the main, followed by North Island Rock Pro with another $50.
That money will be carried over to be awarded in the July 6 race.
Their absence left McMillan and his mini-stock racer on the pole for his first race, the four-lap trophy dash, which was eventually won by Shore.
With Day and Hovey unable to continue, the door was opened for McMillan and his mini-stock racer to start from the pole in his first race, the opening trophy dash that was eventually won by Shore.