Drivers and fans didn’t let a Saturday downpour spoil the fun on the opening weekend of racing action at the Merritt Speedway.

It just meant that much more energy and enthusiasm on Sunday, when the wet stuff finally let up and the cars could hit the track for real.

The 2016 Merritt Stock Car Association season began with many familiar faces behind the wheels, but several newcomers, too. They included 59-year-old rookie Carolynne Terry from Spences’ Bridge, who has wanted to race cars all her life, and finally got to do so on Sunday.

“I’m having a ball,” Terry said as she negotiated her ride onto the track for the start of the 30-lap  Bomber six-and-eight-cyclinder main event.

Terry said she would never have realized her dream if it hadn’t been for a chance meeting with Hugh MacKenzie from Merritt, who helped her acquire a car and get all the gear.

Kim Whitteker, 47, from Langley was another first-timer — following in the footsteps of her two racing-veteran brothers, Dennis (Kamloops) and Dan (Adams Lake) Smith.

Then there was Amanda Dandy from Logan Lake, joining her husband, Sean, who made his rookie debut last year at the Merritt Speedway.

Returning to the racing scene after a 14-year hiatus was Rob Rose from Lower Nicola. A volunteer and official at the Speedway for the last few seasons, Rose has been allowing a few out-of-town cars to stay at his place in recent years. The lure proved to be just too great, and Rose bought one of them to resume his racing career.

The action on the track on Sunday was spirited. It started and ended with Prince George’s Grant Powers. The veteran driver posted the fastest time trial lap of the weekend (just 24 thousandths off the track record) to start things off, and then won the final race of the day — the Hobby class main event.

In the four-cylinder Bomber class, Dandy was in fine form, recording the fastest time in his division and picking up a pair of wins. Alex Ruttan did the same in the six-and-eight-cylinder Bomber class, while Warren Hubick from Keremeos in the Street division went one better — recording a fastest lap time and taking the checkered flag on three occasions.

A very competitive 13-car field in the Hobby class saw Dennis Smith and fellow Kamloopsian Jack Goddyn rack up a pair of wins prior to Powers topping the field in the main.

As for Terry? Well, she picked up one third-place finish in her class’s main event and had a great time doing so. Remember the adage — ‘You’re never too old to try something new.’

The next weekend of racing at the Merritt Speedway is on June 4 and 5. The Sunday schedule will feature special flat-track motorcycle racing.   

#98 Warren Hubick, Keremeos (Ian Webster/Herald)

#98 Warren Hubick, Keremeos (Ian Webster/Herald)

59-year-old rookie driver Carolynne Terry from Spence’s Bridge who was inspired as a child by a cousin who used to race Powder Puff in Cranbrook. (Ian Webster/Herald)

59-year-old rookie driver Carolynne Terry from Spence’s Bridge who was inspired as a child by a cousin who used to race Powder Puff in Cranbrook. (Ian Webster/Herald)

Track marshall Jackie Pike and #42 Jack Goddyn, Kamloops. (Ian Webster/Herald)

Track marshall Jackie Pike and #42 Jack Goddyn, Kamloops. (Ian Webster/Herald)

Josh Herman, Kamloops and Mad Max. (Ian Webster/Herald).

Josh Herman, Kamloops and Mad Max. (Ian Webster/Herald).

Dennis Smith (43) and Dan Smith (53) duke it out in the Hobby C dash. (Ian Webster/Herald).

Dennis Smith (43) and Dan Smith (53) duke it out in the Hobby C dash. (Ian Webster/Herald).

The weekend racing at the Merritt Speedway brought out three members of the Smith family. (Right) Brothers Dan and Dennis flank their sister Kim Whittiker. (Ian Webster/Herald).

The weekend racing at the Merritt Speedway brought out three members of the Smith family. (Right) Brothers Dan and Dennis flank their sister Kim Whittiker. (Ian Webster/Herald).

Starter Gino Boszko (Ian Webster/Herald)

Starter Gino Boszko (Ian Webster/Herald)

 #44 Grant Powers, Prince George. (Ian Webster/Herald).

#44 Grant Powers, Prince George. (Ian Webster/Herald).