Otto Schulte of Black Creek lifts his Ford Falcon off the start line in the Super-Pro final heat of the Rumble on the Runway series drag races Sunday at Port McNeill Airport.

Veteran dragster is Otto-matic

Otto Schulte sweeps the Super-Pro class at the first Rumble on the Runway weekend of the summer.

PORT McNEILL—It should be no surprise that Otto Schulte proved a quick study on the eighth-mile dragstrip at Port McNeill Airport last weekend. After all, quick is a way of life for one of B.C.’s top drag racers.

Making his first appearance in the Rumble on the Runway series — and racing for the first time at the eighth-mile distance — Schulte swept the Super-Pro class with wins Saturday and Sunday in the first two of six days scheduled at the airport this summer.

“It’s way harder to race an eighth-mile,” said Schulte, the Black Creek driver who won his 10th career drag title last summer by claiming the Canada West Doorslammers Association title at the quarter-mile Ashcroft and Mission Speedway tracks. “In the quarter, you’ve got more time to make decisions. In the eighth, there’s no separation between the cars. It’s over before it starts.”

That will not keep Schulte from returning to Port McNeill. He has vowed to return with his high-powered Ford Falcon for each of the next two race weekends in the North Island Timing Association’s Rumble on the Runway series — one each in July and August.

Part of the reason is the closure of Mission Speedway, which recently underwent a resurfacing that proved unusable for racing. Additional surfacing repairs will keep it closed until at least August and wipe out the 2014 season.

Mission’s loss, however, has proved to be a boon for NITA, which enjoyed it’s largest turnout of drivers — more than 65 — and spectators in its seven seasons of converting the airstrip into a temporary dragstrip for racing.

“This is the best weekend we’ve ever had,” said Trevor Walton of Port McNeill. “It was the toughest field by far. Great racing; every finish was close.”

Schulte was the only double winner with his Super-Pro sweep. In the Pro Class Gord McKay of Nanaimo won Saturday’s trophy and Jay White followed with a victory Sunday. In the Sportsman Class, Roger Hagerty claimed Saturday’s win and Ron Clarke won on Sunday.

Connie Howie of Courtenay, who began racing a dozen years ago in her family van, was the only driver to post a perfect reaction time — leaving the start line to the thousandth of a second from the moment the green light flashed.

Schulte, who has been racing since the 1980s, has competed along with his wife Leslie in their own racing team, and won last year’s Doorslammers title in a 1955 Chevy Belair owned by Brad Lance’s Lance Racing Team of Campbell River — a behemoth that runs eight-second turns at a quarter-mile and deploys a parachute to help it decelerate.

But his first look at the North Island’s modest, off-the-beaten-path airport strip left an impression.

“I’m impressed with how they can put together a race series like this at an airport, and do it with so few people,” said Schulte. “I mean, this isn’t a corporate event; how can a couple of guys just come up with an idea like this and make it happen — and pull off such a class act?”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Collaborative effort removes salmon farms from BC coast

The first farms to be removed were those in closest to the Ahta and Viner Rivers.

North Island Concert Society: Marc Atkinson Trio coming to the Civic Centre

The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 18 at the Port Hardy Civic Centre.

MP Blaney welcomes feedback on medical assistance in dying legislation

Over the next two weeks the Government of Canada is holding consultations… Continue reading

Picture perfect: Get the most from your wedding photography

Stop by the Comox Community Centre on Jan. 26 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.!

VIDEO: North Island Atom Eagles run over Victoria Racquet Club B2 Kings

“This team has come so far this year, from a tough time in tiering to where we are now”

Canada to bolster screening of central China passengers for virus at 3 airports

Additional measures will include messaging on arrivals screens in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Wind and snow spark power outages across Vancouver Island

Winter storm warning in effect for east and west regions while wind warning to hit south and north

BC Ferries hybrid ships arrive in Victoria on Saturday

The battery-operated vessels will take over smaller routes

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Most Read