Walton cleans up at drag race awards

PORT McNEILL-North Island Timing Association fetes 2011 Rumble on Runway competitors with send-off banquet

PORT McNEILL — Local driver Tim Walton was the big winner, but there were plenty of prizes to go around Friday as the North Island Timing Association handed out more than $5,000 in cash and other goodies to top finishers in the 2011 Rumble on the Runway drag racing series.

Friday’s award ceremony followed prime rib dinner at the Port McNeill Legion Hall, and included a $150 donation to the legion by acclimation of the assembled drivers.

The association also presented a $1,500 cheque to Port McNeill Fire Department for its efforts in making the three summer series races at Port McNeill Airport possible.

Walton took the top overall spot in the summer points standings as well as winning the pro class. His name will be added to the large perpetual trophies for both titles, and he took home two smaller trophies, a leather jacket with the NITA logo, and a substantial cheque.

Another Port McNeill driver, Terry Mackay, was second overall and the top finisher in the Super Pro class and also claimed a pair of trophies and a cheque.

The third overall points finisher and Sportsman class champion was Ron Clark of Campbell River who did not attend the festivities.

But several other drivers did make the trip from down-Island, including club president Jeff Bowell of Nanaimo, who donated his 10th-place prize back to the association.

Cash prizes were offered to the top 10 points finishers, and local drivers were well represented. In addition to Walton and Mackay, Port Hardy’s Collin Shaw was fourth overall second in the Sportsman class. Port Hardy’s Chris Beatty, who reached the finals in the Sportsman class of June’s Rumble on the Runway I in his family minivan in June before upgrading cars, was ninth in points in his rookie season in the sport.

Other winners who attended Friday’s dinner included Connie Howie of Courtenay (5th overall), Mike Hutmacher of Courtenay (6th) and Bev Varrin of Campbell River (7th).

Gene Slater was named volunteer of the year and awarded a prize mug by local organizer and master of ceremonies Maureen “Mo” Anderson.

Numerous door prizes were also awarded in a random draw as the association wrapped up its third season of racing.

The club plans another three-race series at the airport for 2012. The race schedule is expected to be announced in early spring, Bowell said.