Track sweeper Rebecca Spafford

Rust never sleeps at drag strip

'Barn find' claims top spot in Saturday's Sportsman class at Rumble on the Runway.

PORT McNEILL—The field in last weekend’s Rumble on the Runway drag racing series featured a number of cars with spotless or decorative paint jobs.

Saturday’s winners, however, demonstrated it’s what’s under the hood that counts.

Nanaimo’s Glenn Kennedy, driving a 1968 Plymouth Barracuda sporting bumper-to-bumper black primer paint, claimed Saturday’s Super-pro class title with a win over Larry Morris of Shawnigan Lake on the eighth-mile strip at Port McNeill Airport.

Port Alberni pit partners Justin Brooks and Roger Haggerty earned the Pro and Sportsman class titles, respectively. Brooks topped David McRae of Powell River in a sponsor-festooned Chevy C-10 pickup and Haggerty beat fellow Alberni driver Logan Walcot in a 1965 Mercury Comet with rust, primer spots, missing moulding strips and a flame motif that was noticeably faded.

“This was a barn find,” Haggerty said with a laugh after collecting his first victory. “It sat in my garage for 18 years before I built it in three months.”

Where Haggerty’s Merc spent serious time in a barn, Brooks’ Chevy truck sports an image of a barn, bearing the Brooks Farm logo, among its many sponsor images.

The farm belongs to his grandmother, Dorothy Brooks, who was notified of Justin’s Pro-class win shortly after the final heat by his father, Gord Brooks.

“Grandma’s gonna build her own track,” Gord announced while still holding the phone to his ear.

Gord Brooks drove the car in the first Rumble on the Runway event, last month, but was trumped by his son last weekend.

“This was my first time on this track,” Justin said. “It went pretty good. It was a lot of fun.”

Before his Sportsman win, Haggerty’s best previous showing was a pair of quarterfinal appearances.

“It’s awesome,” he said of the race weekend in Port McNeill. “I’m gonna come back as many times as I can.”

Kennedy wasn’t even sure he’d make it this time. After transferring the motor from the Dodge Daytona he’d previously driven to the Barracuda, there was still plenty of work left on the vehicle in the final days before racing.

“On Monday there were no buckets (seats) in it yet,” he said. “My wife kept asking, ‘Are we going racing? Because I need to know if I have to get groceries.’

“My body man just got the quarterpanels on, and when I asked him how long before it was painted, he said he had a lot of other work going and it would be a few weeks. So I got six cans of flat black spray paint and on Wednesday I told my wife, ‘Get the groceries; we’re going racing.'”

Kennedy had enjoyed some success with the Daytona at other tracks on Vancouver Island, but had never won a race in Port McNeill in the four years the North Island Timing Association has been hosting racing here.

Instead, it took a partially complete car in its first race to carry him to victory.

“I’m gonna retire it now,” Kennedy joked. “It’s undefeated. I don’t even have to paint it now.”

Port McNeill’s Chris Sharpe gave the North Island a winner when he claimed Sunday’s Super-pro crown with a finals win over Mike Hutmacher of Courtney.

McRae, the only driver to reach the finals both days, bounced back from his runner-up showing Saturday to defeat Rusty Sawatzky of Port Alberni for Sunday’s Pro title; and Ron Clark of Port Alberni took home Sunday’s Sportsman prize with a finals win over Dave Deck of Parksville.

 

Just Posted

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

VIDEO: North Island Peewee Eagles unleash avalanche of goals against Peninsula in semi-final showdown

The two teams squared up on Sunday morning at the Chilton Regional Arena in Port McNeill.

North Island Seniors Housing Foundation takes the next step towards getting Trustee Road land

Seniors rejoice, Port Hardy council is very much in favour of helping… Continue reading

Port Hardy Volleyball club requests funding from Port Hardy council

The sport of Volleyball is alive and well in the North Island,… Continue reading

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Most Read